Saab has been forced to push back the planned production restart at its Trolhätten plant, which was due on August 9th, because of continued funding problems. In a joint statement, the carmaker and its owner Swedish Automobile NV (formerly Spyker Cars) said that discussions were continuing with parties to obtain further short-term funding so it could restart and sustain assembly.
“What we need now is a full commitment on supply of parts into our factory to be able to restart production and secure a stable manufacturing operation,” said Gunnar Brunius, vice president of production and purchasing at the carmaker. “We are now working hard with our suppliers to nail down these plans, commit to a delivery schedule and start building the close to 11,000 cars that we currently have in our order books.”
Inbound deliveries have been disrupted since the end of March. Limited production commenced at the beginning of June following a seven-week suspension but because of non-payment to suppliers they refused to continue delivering parts. The company is now looking at a revised production start in week 35 at the earliest (beginning August 29th).
Sven-Åke Berglie, head of Sweden’s supplier interest group, FKG, told Automotive Logistics that logistics providers and sea-freight providers were being hit by the continued cash-flow problems at Saab.
“We foresee no production start before Saab has agreed with the suppliers on a plan for a stepwise reduction of the overdue invoices,” added Berglie.
German logistics provider Schenker AB, which provides inbound logistics for Saab, said it no longer had problems with the carmaker following its decision in March to halt the delivery of parts to Trollhattan and hold them as collateral until it was paid.
“If they want us to transport their goods, we will do it,” said a spokesperson for the company. “Schenker AB is one of several transport suppliers in Sweden and delivers approximately 40 trucks a day for Saab when business is as usual. But we do have about 4,000 trucks totally on the road every day in Sweden.
Others, however, do have problems. Last week the carmaker’s subsidiary Saab Automobile Tools received a filing for bankruptcy request after ongoing cash shortages at parts supplier SwePart Verktyg could not be settled. The sum, reported to be 5m kronor ($800,000), was to have been paid to the supplier by June 2nd this year. When it was not paid, SwePart Verktyg applied for the firm to be declared bankrupt. However, on Friday Swedish Automobile stated that an agreement on payment terms had been reached and the situation had been resolved.
It is reported this week that Sweden's Debt Enforcement Agency has been asked by eight companies to collect debts owed to them by Saab Automobile.
Saab has also announced this week that it has delayed payment of the wages to its white-collar employees as some of the funds that were committed by investors were not paid in time to effect salary payments.  Saab Automobile issued a statement that said it was taking all necessary actions to collect these funds and was in discussions with various parties to obtain additional short-term funding so that the payments can be made.