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SAAB

Saab ‘heading for record year’

Saab Automobiles is heading for a record year, the company's CEO has said as he announced a 3 percent rise for sales in August.

The General Motors-owned Swedish carmaker saw sales for the year so far increase 6.3 percent. On the American market, sales have increased 16 percent in August, selling 3,159 more cars than in August 2005.

Jan Åke Jonsson said that a wider model range with a greater choice of engines was behind the sales growth.

“This year so far we are behind in the US by 5,800 cars compared to last year, but the comparison is misleading as GM introduced big price reductions last June and July, meaning we sold an unusually large number of cars then,” said company spokesman Christer Nilsson.

He said that the sales fall should be reversed in the autumn, leading to last year’s full-year figures in the US being matched or even beaten.

Sales in Europe during the first eight months were up 10,794 to 59, 304, an increase of 22 percent. Sales in Sweden of ethanol-powered 9-5 models are being maintained thanks to the introduction of a second motor model.

Saab’s best ever year globally was 2000, when Saab sold 132,000 cars. Jonsson said he hopes to be able to beat that figure this year. Saab sold 128,000 cars. After eight months of 2006, the company has sold 89,377.

CARS

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court

Swedish car maker Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson and the firm's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have appeared in court in Vänersborg in west Sweden, accused of falsifying financial documents shortly before the company went bankrupt in 2011.

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court
Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. Photo: Karin Olander/TT
The pair are accused of falsifying the paperwork at the height of the Swedish company's financial difficulties at the start of the decade.
 
A third person – who has not been named in the Swedish media – is accused of assisting them by issuing false invoices adding up to a total of 30 million kronor ($3.55m).
 
According to court documents, the charges relate to the firm's business in Ukraine and the paperwork in question was signed just before former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson resigned.
 
Both Jonsson and Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have admitted signing the papers but denied knowledge of the Ukranian firm implicated in the case.
 
All three suspects deny all the charges against them.
 

Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers. Photo:  Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
 
Saab filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2011, after teetering on the edge of collapse for nearly two years.
 
Chief prosecutor Olof Sahlgren told the court in Vänersborg on Wednesday that the alleged crimes took place in March 2011, when Saab was briefly owned by the Dutch company Spyker Cars.
  
It was eventually bought by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), a Chinese-owned company after hundreds of staff lost their jobs.
 
The car maker, which is based in west Sweden, has struggled to resolve serious financial difficulties by attracting new investors since the takeover.
 
In October 2014 it announced it had axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce.
 
Since 2000, Saab automobile has had no connection with the defence and aeronautics firm with the same name. It only produces one model today, the electric 9-3 Aero Sedan, mainly targeting the Chinese market.