If you're one of the small cadre of Saab drivers, first of all, kudos to you. Because as Top Gear pointed out, Saab drivers are among the most intellectual drivers out there. Secondly, we've got good news for you, because the 9-3 will officially resume production at the marque's Trollhättan plant in Sweden on Monday.
Sort of. Saabs United reports that the automaker has announced some of its employees will return to complete the vehicles still standing unfinished on the production line. All told, only around 100 units are likely to be produced and then sold off before the brand goes dark for good.
If things don't rapidly start falling in Saab's favor, it's seeming more and more likely that the Swedish automaker may be at the tail end of its ninth life. The Swedish Enforcement Agency has reportedly contacted various banks holding assets for the troubled company, informing them that they may legally seize those assets in an effort to pay back roughly $625,000 owed to Saab's unpaid suppliers.
It looks like Saab isn't going to resume vehicle production on August 9 as it previously stated. Talks are currently continuing with the automaker's supplier base and the company's new partners to secure additional short-term funding. Apparently, Saab is still waiting on the delivery of some parts necessary to start production, and as a result, manufacturing has been postponed until those pieces can be secured.
Part of the Saab gambit for survival has been approved by the European Investment Bank. Saab's parent company, Swedish Automobile, has been requesting approval for a plan to sell part of the property that its factory sits on in Trollhättan to a group of real estate investors led by Hemfosa Fastigheter and then lease the land back. The transaction has been given final approval by not only the EIB, but also the Swedish government and the country's National Debt Office.
Six weeks have passed since Saab was forced to halt production of its 9-3 and 9-5 models in Sweden due to a lack of funds needed to pay suppliers. The automaker had hoped to get production back up and running after it agreed to a deal with Chinese automaker Hawtai Motors, but that plan was scrapped after the agreement failed to materialize.
Production at Saab's Trollhättan, Sweden plant has been shut down for weeks due, as these things often are, to a lack of cash needed to pay suppliers. That should change in the next week, though, as Saab parent Spyker has announced that it has secured a convertible loan agreement with Gemini Investment Fund Limited worth 30 million euros.
The negative news for Saab continues to spill out, and the latest bit of gossip continues to paint a dark picture for the Swedish automaker. Reuters reports that parts suppliers are looking to collect on "tens of millions of crowns" in unpaid invoices (10M crowns is around $1.58M U.S. dollars).
Last week, Saab ran into production problems when some suppliers stopped shipment of parts due to lack of payment. The news led to speculation that the Swedish automaker was running out of cash. And it didn't help that outgoing Saab CEO Jan-Åke Jonsson seemed to retire unexpectedly as the automaker struggled to gain its footing as an independent automaker.