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.
- Board raised pay while Saab stood still: report (18 Aug 11)
- New share issue to help raise quick cash for Saab (15 Aug 11)
- Saab unions demand answers from CEO (10 Aug 11)
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.