IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cost of running Saab is more than one billion a month

The Swedish newspaper, Dagens nyheter, has calculated that running Saab Automobile AB costs SEK 1 billion a month. This calculation is based on Saab producing 5,000 cars a month. Here is the calculation:

Wages: SEK 250 million a month.
Production and component cost: SEK 600 million a month.
Factory operating cost: SEK 80 million a month.
Marketing: SEK 80 million a month.
Development work: SEK 160 million a month.
Total: SEK 1.17 billion.

If this is the total cost of running Saab, including financial costs, then if we divide SEK 1.17 billion on 5,000 cars we get SEK 234,000 in cost for each car produced. And this can't be far away from what Saab actually demands for each car, can it? 

My estimate is that the average Saab 9-5, including extra equipment, brings in between SEK 230,000 and 250,000 when sold in Sweden. A Saab 9-3 brings in less money, maybe between SEK 200,000 and SEK 220,000. But the point is, this isn't that far away from the cost of producing the cars! So am I missing something?

Let's assume that in average Saab lose SEK 20,000 for each car they produce. That would amount to a loss of SEK 100 million each month, and SEK 1.2 billion in year. Saab lost SEK 1.3 billion in 2010, when Saab only sold 30,000 cars, so my estimate is probably a bit pessimistic for this year when Saab probably can sell 50,000 - 60,000 cars.

But anyway, this exercise show that Saab needs more than a short-term solution and a couple of hundred million Swedish kronor. SEK 500 million would be nice as a start, but for the long run Saab would need a buffer of a couple of billion kronor.

Dagens nyheter also (according to Expressen) writes that the Swedish Government is preparing to make a decision that will bring money to Saab. But it is not said how or when.

On a side note, Victor Muller's company Tenaci Capital BV is one of Spyker Cars and Saab's biggest creditors. Spyker Cars has a debt of SEK 640 million to Tenaci, and paid SEK 60 million in interest on this loan(?) last year.