The celebrations which the Saab Independence events brought seem to be a distant memory. Over the past few weeks, production at Saab’s Trollhattan plant has been grounded to a halt, as the company struggled to pay suppliers. It may have been for a few precious hours, but the stop was repeated over the course of a two weeks. The stop was caused by Saab unable to pay suppliers of the parts due to mounting debt.
To solve the debt problem, Saab entered talks with the EIB (European Investment Bank). The terms EIB gave to Saab were seen as unfeasible. They asked Saab to pay back the loan (120 million Euros) in 90 days. However, Saab are still maintaining negotiations with them. A Russian Businessmen (who owns Spyker and Zagato) called Vladimir Antonov is now a shareholder in Saab AB after weeks of hard fought negotiations with EIB. His plan is to buy the plant of Trollhattan then lease it back to Saab, this ought to raise money to keep production going.
If the EIB negotiations break down, Saab are planning to utilise current Chinese contacts to break into the Chinese market. Negotiations with China Youngman Automotive Group and the Great Wall Motor Company are said to be in their final stages. Mercedes yesterday posted a profit of £1.18 billion due to increase in Chinese demand for luxury cars. This shows that if Saab can get into China, this will improve chances for the companies future.
I have to admit, I admire Victor Muller, Vladimir Antonov and the Saab team’s efforts during this time. They are working none stop, so the brand we love and hold so dearly can continue and flourish. I trust that Victor knows what he is doing. He has conducted himself calmly and professionally.
Victor Muller speaking at the Amsterdam Motor Show: “Saab: It never stood on its own two feet. It is like a child, where it starts to crawl, starts to walk and starts to run. Occasionally it will fall. We need to take measures to make sure that will never happen again. I am very confident about the future of Saab.”
It has been a testing few weeks, and it’s not over yet, but there is hope.
Victor Muller at forefront of Saab