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SAAB CASH CRISIS
Swedish dealers to stop selling Saabs

Swedish dealers to stop selling Saabs

Published: 22 Aug 2011 16:39 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Aug 2011 16:39 GMT+02:00

Several Swedish dealerships have decided to pull Saab cars from their showrooms as debt collectors continue to investigate the troubled Swedish automaker and employees face continued uncertainty about their next paycheck.

So far, the Swedish Enforcement Agency (Kronofogden) has reviewed debts totaling 5.1 million kronor ($800,000) owed by Saab to four different parties.

On Monday, five additional debts totally nearly 3 million kronor are under review by the agency, and within a few weeks, a total of 43 million kronor in unpaid bills is expected to be under review.

Last week the SEB bank announced that there was money in Saab's account, and now the debt collection agency has received information from Nordea and asked the bank to freeze Saab's accounts.

The number of claimants turning to the Enforcement Agency for help in squeezing money from the cash-strapped automaker is growing by the day, with foreign suppliers now joining the hunt to collect on unpaid bills, according to TV4.

At the same time, Swedish auto dealer chain Bilpartner has decided to stop selling new Saabs at it's ten dealerships in Skåne in southern Sweden, the local Sydsvenska Dagbladet newspaper reports.

Last Friday, Holmgrens Bil, which sells cars at seven sites in Småland in south central Sweden, announced its dealers would stop carrying the iconic Swedish brand.

Bilpartner has sold Saab cars since the brand was first put on sale in Sweden and is the country's second-largest Saab dealership.

But now the chain has abandoned Saab amid continued uncertainty about the company's future.

“We've take a time out and removed the cars from our showrooms. It's a shame, but there's no reason to try to sell cars if you don't know if or when they can be delivered,” Anders Carlsson, board chair of Bilpartner, told the TT news agency.

The decision was made last week, and the few Saabs available for test driving were replaced by other brands.

“We haven't canceled our contract with Saab. If production restarts we'll sell Saabs again,” said Carlsson.

On Monday, workers at the Saab factory in Trollhättan in western Sweden were called into work for an informational meeting in a factory which has been idled since the beginning of April.

Fredrik Almqvist, who has worked at the factory since 1995, had hoped the meeting would provide answers to a number of pressing questions.

“But we didn't learn anything. No information about when the factory will start beyond that they hope that it will happen as soon as possible, and that's something we've heard before,” he told TT.

“We also didn't get any guarantee that our salaries would be paid on Thursday.”

While Almqvist remains skeptical about getting paid, Saab spokesperson Gunilla Gustavs told TT that “the plan is to pay salaries” and emphasised that Saab leadership is working on several options for solving its current financial woes.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:17 August 22, 2011 by Rick Methven
I picked up my 9-5 Aero from the garage today after fitting new brake discs/pads.

A guy was there with a problem with his New Saab AWD Aero. needed an electric control unit. Sorry they said, even though it is under warranty, we can not fix it because we do not have the part and do not know if we will EVER get it.

The future looks really bleak for the buyers of the new Spyker/Saab owners. A 600,000 car made worthless by lack of a part
17:23 August 22, 2011 by per1970
I cant see thats the case, as SAAB doesnt produce most of there electronics, might be a delay for the garage to get buy SAAB dealers and middle hands, but sure he will get hold of the parts, and in my opinion theres a shame SAAB is going under, its a great car, with a lovely history.
17:52 August 22, 2011 by Rick Methven
All Saab spares for current models come out of the central Saab owned parts subsidiary in Nyköping. Saab owe the parts suppliers loads of money, and so the suppliers will not supply parts until they get paid. They are not going to supply each individual service centre with the odd part here and there for a model that has few owners, it is just not worth it. I have been a SAAB driver for 35 years and am very fond of them. I was nearly tempted to buy a new one, but at the moment, I am glad I did not. Lets hope that some stability can be got and the production can continue. I hat happens then I will buy another SAAB
18:02 August 22, 2011 by CurtInFalcon
Problems with a lack of Saab parts are being reported in the USA too - on the new vehicles. It seems that the suppliers stopped sending parts to Saab Parts after it was discovered that Saab Parts was forwarding the supplies for production rather than for repairs. Whomever owns a new Saab (me included) is seeing a dramtic drop in resale value of their cars due to the financial problems facing the company. Between the lack of parts, poor resale and potential loss of warranty, anyone who had purchased a new Saab is in for a very rough ride.
22:57 August 22, 2011 by swedejane
They were still selling Saabs? Huh...
00:57 August 23, 2011 by Eagle63
I've been driving Saabs ever since the 99 turbo, and lately have been test-driving some competitors. But I came to the conclusion that you really can't replace a Saab; none has the soul and character of a Saab. It becomes part of the family even...

So I decided to hang on to my trusty old 9-5 Griffin and wait for better times to come.
02:04 August 23, 2011 by 2394040
I can't help but feel that GM is still involved in this. I believe they wanted SAAB out of business when they first bought it. Conspiracies do happen; regardless of what some believe.
22:25 August 23, 2011 by Pete Cooper
I am sure if Saab picks up production again with a sound financial plan dealers will come back. Let's keep fingers crossed for that because Saab is a great brand. We've had Saabs in the familty since 1960 and I hope my 6 year old son will be the third generation to drive a Saab in about 12-15 years or so.

About parts: remember that one condition that GM put forward when Saab was sold is a 10 year guaranteed delivery of parts.

I fully agree with Eagle63 (see 2 comments up this column). I actually wouldn't know what to drive if Saab's not around. I have driven many other brands (test drives, rental cars, company cars etc. and there's nothing like a Saab.

One great advantage of Victor Muller...he won't give up easy.
22:03 August 24, 2011 by mkvgtired
@2394040, for what reason? SAAB is such a small company it would not be worth GM's time to buy it, lose billions of dollars, then sell it just to make it fail. They could have killed it while they owned it. Remember GM constantly extending the deadline so they could sell it? If they wanted SAAB gone they would not have sold it. A company bought it that did not have the business experience or the capital to keep a company of that size running. Anyone could have seen this coming at the time of sale.
19:10 August 25, 2011 by spy
2394040

Stop looking for excuses, GM have nothing to do with this.
15:11 August 28, 2011 by tomas R
Hello!

I think that to SAAB is very important to save old clients and do not lose them. It is the hope that client who drives the old SAAB so he will buy the new (or the other) SAAB in the future. For example I am sure that the other my car will be SAAB too!

Best regard to all SAAB enthusiasts and SAAB workers!

tomas (driving SAAB 9000'95, Lithuania)
14:44 August 29, 2011 by chocolatechips
Hello. I'm not a Swede but I like Swedish products like Saab's, Volvo's, etc.. They have a different style and quality. Maybe if Saab develops a smaller car like BMW's 1 Series, Audi's A3 or even cars like Mini's, VW Polo or Audi A1, they can expand their sales. It may not be Saab's style but what can you do? The market has changed I think. For example Volvo S60 has 1.6lt turbo engine with a 180 bhp power or VW has 1.4lt Passat. Even Merc has a 1.6lt C Class. A 9-3 with a smaller engine with a Saab style will sell better. If these can do it Saab can do it. We want to see Saab on the market and hope they can get out of this crisis.
15:54 August 29, 2011 by Rick Methven
@tomas R

"I think that to SAAB is very important to save old clients and do not lose them"

The problem is that the traditional SAAB buyer has been turned away by GM. Up to 1994, there was a dedicated SAAB aficionado who would not buy any other car. We loved the difference in design, the solid bodywork and everything about SAAB cars the 900 and the 9000. In 1994 when GM had bought 50%, they where so keen to put the GM stamp on the brand that they pushed the production of the 'new' 900. It was a heap of crap that the only thing SAAB about it was the logo, the rest was an Opel at the price of a SAAB. Today on the second hand market a 1993 Saab 900 classic is worth twice as much as a 1998 New SAAB. Most of the new 900's & early 93's have rusted away and been scrapped. People thought they where buying SAAB quality and what they got was a heap of Opel rubbish
21:27 August 29, 2011 by tomas R
@Rick Methven from tomas R

Maybe I can see some true in your words. My friends driving SAAB cars say that SAAB 9000 is serious car and SAAB 9-5 is not so serious like SAAB 9000. I do not know. I do not drive SAAB 9-5. I drive SAAB 9000'95. Maybe those words are true? But I think that SAAB will make some decisions and we will have the highest quality SAAB like it was in the past.

Best regards to all SAAB!

tomas (Lithuania)
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