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.

Monday, March 12, 2012

An update on availability of spare parts to Saabs

Updated with more info on availability of spare parts for the new 9-5.

After Saab filed for bankruptcy on December 19th, I wrote a piece about future availability on service and spare parts for Saab cars. Now almost three months later, an update is due.

The general impression is that there has been some problems obtaining parts, especially last autumn. But the situation is improving and has almost returned back to normal. First and foremost there seems to have been a problem obtaining parts in due time. But also some specific parts like keys and xenon lights have been problematic.

"It has been chaotic for some time. It was at its worst last autumn, when it was hard to obtain body parts and bumpers, but even head lights and radiators. It concerned both the 9-5 and the 9-3," one source at a Swedish Saab workshop told Vi Bilägare.

"For the 9-5 we have also had problems getting control units to xenon lights and for the 9-3 there has been trouble getting hold of key transmitters."

But fortunately the situation looks to be improving.

"The situation was troublesome last autumn, before the bankruptcy. During certain periods there was a serious shortages of some components. We had to hunt parts at a junkyard. However, today the deliveries are perfectly normal, no problems at all," said Lasse Eriksson from Saab dealer Min Bil to Dagens Nyheter.

And Anders Carlsson, Chairman of the Saab dearship Bilpartner, agrees:

"The situation has improved compared to last autumn," Carlsson said and continued:

"We have gradually been able to order parts from Saab Parts, although it has taken some time. It has above all concerned body parts, headlights and xenon lights, things that are needed after a collision."

"We have around ten customers who have not been able to drive their cars, among other things because we have not been able to deliver keys. There has also been a shortage of xenon lights."

Parts for the new Saab 9-5 may have caused the most problems so far, but even for the new 9-5 parts will be available for several years to come.

"Parts supply has been a bit on and off, some parts have been difficult to obtain. For the new 9-5 we have had some fuss obtaining parts, they've come a bit later than expected and still are. But I have not experienced it to be impossible to get parts," said Peter Hallberg, CEO of Swedish Saab dealers' association.

"We give the flow of spare parts a service rate. In a normal situation, the rate is 95-97 percent. With the new 9-5, we were last year at certain times down to 70 percent. But today we are over 90 percent. And the situation is improving," Hallberg told Dagens Nyheter, and continued:

"Saab Parts has built up a stock of parts to the new 9-5, among other things by dismantling the incompleted cars that stood on the production line. They have also pressed long series of body parts. Today you can buy a new 9-5 and be confident that it can also be repaired if needed," said Peter Hallberg.

"There have been problems with long delivery times for a mixture of components, but it should be under control now. The situation has improved considerably," said Lennart Ståhl, CEO of the parts distributor Saab Parts.

"We have bought a whole bunch of parts and we have plenty of sheet metal parts. When we need more we press more. Most tools are left in Trollhättan. If a new kind of business starts up there, we will just have to move the tools to other companies that can produce for us," Ståhl said about body parts.

On parts ordered from suppliers, Ståhl said the following:

"We order parts from our suppliers when there is a demand for them. But it is true that we have had problems with obtaining components to xenon lights from a supplier in the USA. We expect to take delivery any day now, as far as I know."

The reason for the difficulties experienced with getting hold of parts for the 9-3 and the old 9-5 could according to Lennart Ståhl be because dealers are hoarding stockpiles of parts.

"The fact that the car manufacturer has gone bankrupt does not mean we have a problem. We have our own suppliers which deliver directly to us. But some companies have not understood that we are a separate and profitable company and that we do not have any payment problems," says Lennart Ståhl.