• Apr 6th 2011 at 10:04AM
  • 40
Last week, we told you about the on-off three-day work stoppage at Saab's Trolhättan plant, which occurred due to a financial dispute with one or more suppliers. Spyker CEO Victor Muller then publicly insisted that the delay was nothing more than a "minor glitch" due to a short-term liquidity problem.

But new reports indicate that Trollhättan is down again for a second day this week, and the work stoppage could go on for several more days. According to Reuters, Saab spokesperson Gunilla Gustavs says that the automaker is working hard to resolve the issue, adding "we are trying to reach a resolution with the suppliers."

If money is the automaker's biggest stumbling block to paying off suppliers, Vladimir Antonov could be the answer. The wealthy Russian has expressed interest in buying into Saab in the past, and if he were permitted to invest capital, we're thinking Saab would insist on the liquid, spendable kind.

Due to the work stoppages and liquidity issues, there is a lot of speculation that Saab's very survival could be in doubt, though the company's new administration has said since Day One that they had a fully funded business plan through 2012, an assertion that now looks to be on shaky ground. As one might expect, Saab isn't being completely transparent about what's going on, but there should be no danger of dealers running out of units to sell – slow sales has meant that the Swedish automaker has a substantial backlog of unsold units in most markets, including here in North America. One thing is for sure, this situation is starting to get really ugly. Hat tip to Louis!

[Source: Reuters | Image: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty]


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  • 40 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      The number of posts on this topic will express the amount of enthusiasm for the Saab brand. I bet it doesn't get any higher than 40.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was also first to cast stones at Saab at one time. I believed all the car reviews and never considered a Saab until I finally checked one out. As outdated as the 9-3 is, it's Saab's best seller. It's also a solid vehicle with nothing to be ashamed about especially when you factor in real world pricing. Sooo, I got one at the end of 2010. I hope they stay in business for a few more year or at least until my warranty runs out!
        • 4 Years Ago
        "I hardly think the number of responders here equates to enthusiasm for the brand -- that's hardly a basis to determine interest as this is a pretty narrow, albeit focused, forum.

        I hope Saab can pull it out certainly."

        I was being a bit facetious, so don't take that literally. However, that doesn't negate the point that Saab probably won't make it. I wish it would have died when GM took Saab out back to shoot it.

        I mean honestly, how many people here, yourself included, have purchased a new Saab? Saab isn't even on my radar when it comes to car shopping, and while my sample of friends and family around me is small compared to the world population, I don't know of anyone who's ever seriously considered buying a Saab.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Spartan

        It depends on how many trolls come by to take a shot at them, which my guess won't be many. Read any Mitsubishi story and there'll be at least twenty or so "Just die already!" or "I thought they were already gone!" or "They only make one decent car, the Evo." posts from the peanut gallery that make the total post count tough to gauge in that way. Then you'll have all the armchair execs have their say on how to save the company. I suspect SAAB doesn't raise as much strong feelings from the haters who tend to ignore them entirely for some reason (like they should.) I know you were being facetious, though.

        SAAB probably needs another big corporate automotive partner to survive so they can get into more showrooms. BMW would be a good fit, in my opinion and all FWD models should be sold through them, but BMW seems hell bent on diluting their own with lower cost FWDs
        • 4 Years Ago
        How much did you bet? :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Spartan, I hardly think the number of responders here equates to enthusiasm for the brand -- that's hardly a basis to determine interest as this is a pretty narrow, albeit focused, forum.

        I hope Saab can pull it out certainly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bi-winning brand
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh man... say it ain't so!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sigh, more of the same in comments. To address the issues:

      1) No, Saab isn't shutting down
      2) 9-3: New one is coming next year
      3) Line: 9-4X comes next month, boosting the line to 3 vehicles
      4) Sales: Up 80% worldwide so far this year
      5) Depreciation: Actually, it's quite good. Truth is here: http://www.saabsunited.com/2011/03/the-depreciation-myth-2.html
      6) Reliability: Per consumer reports, excellent of late and Saab beat other brands such as BMW, MB, etc in recent JD Power rankings.

      My Saab 9-3 XWD Wagon is the best car I've ever owned, including my previous BMW's. I'm saddened to see so much negativity out there. Does everyone want to drive me-too Lexi, BMW's, and Audi's and feel we don't need more automotive diversity?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Garris

        Listen, I am glad you like your Saab, that is great that it makes you happy. After all, if you are happy with your purchase that is all that matters. I do want to go over your points with you though.

        1) No, Saab isn't shutting down

        Not yet at least, but they are NOT in good financial shape. This can't be argued.

        If you can't pay your suppliers, there is an issue. If there are shutdowns because you can't pay your suppliers, that is an even bigger issue.


        2) 9-3: New one is coming next year

        Good, it is desperately needed. Let's hope that Saab wises up and doesn't release the most expensive trim only at introduction. No one cared about the near $50,000 9-5 Aero and the sales in the US proved that. They should have released the full lineup to get people excited about the car.

        They also need to price the vehicle accordingly. Guess what, if no one is paying MSRP for your vehicles then they are priced too high. Saab needs to pay close attention to this as heavy incentives will tarnish a brands image, especially one that says it is a luxury oriented brand.

        3) Line: 9-4X comes next month, boosting the line to 3 vehicles

        Correct. I don't see this setting the sales charts on fire though with a limited dealer network.

        4) Sales: Up 80% worldwide so far this year

        Looking at percentages doesn't really do much for you, especially with Saab. They still aren't selling enough vehicles to be truly successful and the dealer network is still shrinking as a result.

        5) Depreciation: Actually, it's quite good. Truth is here: http://www.saabsunited.com/2011/03/the-depreciation-myth-2.html

        So, you are quoting an obviously biased source, where it is OBVIOUS that they cherry picked their information. I can go on Autotrader right now and make this person look silly. How about you quote from a reliable source that has factual data?

        This would be the same thing if I were trying to support the republicans argument and quoting something from Fox News.

        It doesn't make sense.


        6) Reliability: Per consumer reports, excellent of late and Saab beat other brands such as BMW, MB, etc in recent JD Power rankings.

        As per Consumer Reports and True Delta it isn't excellent.

        Beating BMW and Mercedes isn't hard to do, and definitely isn't something to be proud of if you are still close to the bottom or below average.




        • 4 Years Ago
        Thank you.
        I've owned two Saabs as well, a 9-3 hatch and a 9-5 wagon. The hatch was dead reliable for 100,000 miles. absolutely not a single problem. The 9-5 had some issues, but all due to the Opel 3.0 V6 boat anchor under the hood.

        Both were absolutely awesome cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Apparently this is caused by a single supplier, headed by a troublesome chap: it's so crazy that many other suppliers felt the need to come forward and say that they are quite happy with Saab and that Saab is paying faster that most other clients...

      That's not the smart way to do business.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're right: I supported my view with a 2 days old report that mentioned a single norwegian supplier: http://di.se/Default.aspx?sr=6&tr=286716&rlt=0&pid=232200__ArticlePageProvider&epslanguage=sv

        Even so, they are demanding that Saab pays as it receives the items, which is very unusual in the auto industry (and in bad faith imho).

        (On a side note: why would you be so mad for Saab having fans?)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not sure why you're getting uprated when what you posted just isn't true. At least *FOUR* separate suppliers have shut off parts shipments to Saab due to nonpayment.

        And I'm not sure why Autoblog is only reporting on this now even though this current stoppage has been ongoing for a few days now. Even yesterday they were weirdly belatedly posting about how the factories were started back up even though the factories were really shut back down already.

        Unlike you I will actually provide sources for my claims:
        http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/05/spyker-saab-deliveries-idUSSAT00917320110405
        "Svenake Berglie, chief executive of the FKG suppliers' sector organisation, said four or five companies had stopped deliveries."

        Reported as "several suppliers" by the BBC:
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12965295

        How is this the work of a single supplier like you're claiming when several suppliers have cut them off for not paying? I don't know if you're a Saab fanboy or what but it's plain delusional to interpret them being cut off by multiple suppliers as "suppliers are super happy" and coming to Saab's defense.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It would be a shame to see Saab disappear after such a long history. Whether or not these latest stoppage issues are "explainable" or not, it's simply not good publicity for a brand that desperately needs good publicity to help build confidence and sales.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Saab's real problem is that their cars are too expensive to build for what they are and what the market is willing to pay for. That's something that GM could never deal with. I've owned two Saabs (still have one) and they are great cars. Of course, I would never pay anywhere near MSRP for one. For my current one, I paid less than for a used Corolla of the same year and mileage. I think it's fair to say that the Saab is way better car than a Corolla from every aspect (except reliability perhaps).
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why GM bought Saab is beyond me. At the time, they just did not want Ford to get it first. Same goees with Fiat. This brand is very expensive to repair and requires a very different set of skills from the techs.

      GM never made money with Saab; as far as technology, very little of it was transfered to other carlines. Spyker bought the brand; GM has still good salesmen!

      Any European car company is difficult to manage because of their Unions and work ethics. Opel is another good example. Let's face it, the media already dug their grave. When the vulturs fly, in circle around Saab , it is already too late. I know what I am talking about, still work for GM.

        • 4 Years Ago
        That's just not true.

        Saab gave them XWD, safety expertise, turbo engines, leaded the development of Epsilon II, developed the optic-fiber communications system for the group's electronics, plug-in hybrid technology (now in the Volt), BioFuel engines, etc., etc., etc..

        ...and Saab made money in most of it's years with GM: it was found after the sale that GM inputed random expenses at Saab for tax purpose reasons.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just passed 200,000 on my 2002 Saab 9-5 Aero. This car is flawless!! 250hp and 31 MPG hwy. Safe, quick and extremely reliable. Give Saab a chance, trust me they are waaaaaay better than the press gives them credit for! There are small under the radar things that distinguish them over years of driving i.e.: 7 coats of age-defying paint, ageless interior, ageless best in class leather, reliability on a 200,000+ car (we all know Audi, BMW, Volvo, VW cannot claim this), spring loaded oil leak-free dip-stick, massive alternator and radiator, massive engine sway bars, Direct Injection on a 2002 model!, most powerful climate control I have ever seen (defrosts windows immediately), great handling, blistering acceleration 30-80, perfect ergonomics, solid thud when you close the door, locks in reverse so you can't hot-wire it, cool style, I could go on. They really are great cars!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yikes. Hey Christian von Koenigsegg, you still interested in Saab? They could use you.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Do you really think it would be any different right now if Koenigssdshjkldfhsdakshdf bought Saab? Everything out now or coming out with the exception of the upcoming 9-3 was already in the pipeline. You can't turn a car company around in 12 months.... I went out and bought a new 9-5 and absolutely love it. Could it be better, sure. Did brand loyalty play a role, yeah. I get constant compliments and stares with the car and (for a while i thought something was wrong because of the all of the looks it gets). It has some flaws, but the overall package isn't a bad one. the 5 series was a consideration as well, but an equivalent 535xi was 70k (packaged to equal the features of the 9-5 aero in question)... no thanks. The 5 is more luxurious, i'm not oblivious, but the car is not a bad value at all. I like the idea of over 10k more in my pocket. Its bigger than the 5, handles very well, the awd is phenomenal, its quick (not fast, quick, its a tank of a car). I'm hoping for great things with the new 9-3 and hopefully it will be good enough to convince me to trade in my 335 for it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        By the gods if they allowed it I'd be the happiest man on earth. That guy seemed to have a legit passion for the company and had a legit plan to carry it forward. All of us at my Saab dealership were heartbroken when we heard he pulled out of the deal and all knew it was due to GM. He had to much time and most likely lawyer fee's invested to just walk away like that without GM being the reason.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh, just shut it down already. You can only have so many college professors still desperately clinging to this brand.
      • 4 Years Ago
      GM enabled Saab for the better part of a decade. GM did what they could for a very expensive little brand to make it viable and cost effective. Without a real host Saab is toast.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually GM mismanaged them (and themselves) into the ground. They threw just enough money to keep them afloat. Look how old the products are! GM kept Saab alive tied up in the back and raped them for their technology and engineering for a long time. They built the Cadillac based on the 9-3 at saabs factory and when it failed dumped the loss on the Saab brand. Your head is burried up GMs ass if you think otherwise. I have seen more interesting product from them in the past year than I have in a decade (9-3 Viggen and 9-5 aero releases). GM couldn't even keep themselves together, they didn't know how to handle a brand like Saab, and in my mind caused a lot of damage that will take time to undo.
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