Foreign suppliers could produce the final nail in the coffin of struggling Saab, the head of a European supplier association fears. “I think that the patience has more or less run out,” Lars Holmqvist, CEO of CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, said to Swedish news agency TT [via The Local]
Foreign suppliers “probably have less feeling for Saab than many Swedish companies which have grown up with Saab in a different way. Many also have a personal connection to Saab because they might have driven one at some point in their life. But the foreign suppliers are tougher,” Holmqvist, himself a Swede, told TT.
Except for a few days when the lines were moving, impressing foreign dignitaries, production at Trollhättan has been at a still stand for ten weeks. Victor Muller’s pledge that “we will definitely ensure that [a production stop] will not happen again” was good for two weeks. Then it happened again.
It is easy for foreign suppliers to drop the ball on Saab. Most of them are swamped with orders and have a hard time making their largest customers happy. Even if Saab would run at planned production volumes, Saab’s orders would not create rapid eye movement in the best of times.
According to Holmqvist, patience of foreign suppliers is running out. Says Holmqvist:
“This is partly due to a lot of empty promises that have turned to nothing and partly due to lack of information. No consideration has been taken of these suppliers, they feel duped and therefore Saab is now standing there with a factory at a standstill.”
Holmqvist’s prognosis for Saab is damning:
“I am surprised that they have managed this far. I don’t think Saab will make it.”
Meanwhile, over at Sobsunited, it’s already news that Saab paid its taxes on time. Not that Saab has to pay any taxes on any profits. However, there were some $5.5 million in payroll taxes and deductions due (which gives you an idea of the cost of letting the workforce sit idle.) Somehow someone at the Swedish tax office had leaked to the press that Saab hadn’t paid the taxman. On Friday afternoon, the money hit the government’s account. As long as prompt payment of withholdings is news in Sweden, we shall continue our coverage of the sobstory. If Holmqvist is right, it won’t be long.