Saab Cuts Production to Two Days Per Week

Alex L. Dykes
by Alex L. Dykes
saab cuts production to two days per week

Looks like fifty cars per day is all that is needed from the Trollhätten plant to satisfy world demand. Yes, you heard that right: fifty cars per day, two days per week. With Saab apparently refocusing their production target to 12,000-13,000 cars for 2009, they’re cutting back their already slow schedule of three production days per week to two in some sort of effort to say “hey, we’re not dead yet.” Meanwhile the separate (desperate) search for a buyer for the company continues with Deutsche Bank handling the deal. They’d better act fast: Teknikens Värld says Saab’s piggy bank will be totally empty this summer. So if you’re one of those fifty people that want this Swedish meatball, act fast before they are all försvunnen.

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  • Fred diesel Fred diesel on Mar 19, 2009

    Shame that Saab and Opel never really sold in the US cuz you can have your crap VW/Audis and take BMW and Mercedes while your at it. Why this site loves the Germans SO much, Ill never know. The only thing that comes outta Germany worth a damn says Bosch on it...with the exception of their lame spark plugs and batteries.

  • Erikhans Erikhans on Mar 19, 2009

    fred diesel! You are so right! What are the choices if you do not want a BMW, MERC or VW? I will never forget being picked up in a MERCEDES TAXI when arriving in Europe a few years ago. I then realized how "played" we are here.

  • Tosh Tosh on Mar 19, 2009

    SAAB was dead to me in 1992, when I and my Cleveland SAAB Club brothers reeled at the spy shots of the bland new 900. I insisted it was just an ugly test mule, hiding something sweet underneath, but it turned out to be real. Wasn't the 1991 9000 Turbo 5spd the fastest sedan in the world? (I remember C&D getting 0-60 in 6.1 seconds?) And remember the rumors about the Opel Calibra coming over as a SAAB? Exciting times! GM keeping SAAB going was a probably a good thing only for the employees. SAAB kind of died of natural causes (natural for GM) while sitting on death row (which has now happened). I don't know which is sadder: withering away locked in a cell or dying young with your boots on. There's a nice Eucalyptus green "museum quality" 92 900T convertible for $15k on right now. I'd have that! But I'm really holding out for a yellow 92 900 SPG. Or a Talladega red (unfortunate name) 92 9000T 5spd. That's how I'll remember SAAB. Although if I had to drive in the rain and snow all the time, I'd get the Saabaru, just for old times' sake....

  • Mpls244 Mpls244 on Mar 19, 2009

    I'm going to be a touch contrarian here. Saab has some characteristics at the moment that gives it some appeal to third party buyers. The car market is not going to stay like this forever. It may take a few years to get back to "normal," but the market will get better. You would not be buying Saab on its current condition, but what it would be like in a normal market. Second, Saab has two-and-a-half new models all developed and ready to produce once a new buyer steps in: the next gen 9-5, the 9-4x, and the 9-3x wagon. A new buyer will not have to simultaneously dump a lot of money into new product development while carrying the brand in a terrible market. There's a window of time to develop the follow-on models, with the prospect of relatively decent sales in the interim (the dealers who have seen the new 9-5 in the flesh really like it). Three, the cost of buying Saab is lower than any other brand out there right now, and it comes with a US and European distribution network in place. Buying Saab is the cheapest option out there, if you want to position yourself in the biggest car markets when the market recovers. (And one reason Saab is so cheap is that GM really screwed itself over by pre-announcing a "sale or liquidation" date. GM wants to avoid the costs of actually liquidating Saab -- for that reason, all of Saab can probably be bought for the cost of just buying the tooling to produce the new models in the pipeline.) And lastly, one virtue of the starvation diet that GM put Saab on is that it is already pretty lean. At the moment Saab is pretty efficient. Supposedly Saab was profitable in Europe before the economic crisis hit. If you're a Chinese car company, or a private equity company, Saab could well be the cheapest, safest way to get your foot into a (semi-)luxury brand with existing distribution in the US and Europe. Plus the cars are safe, so you can take the safety technology back to China and use that to fix the biggest current problem with Chinese cars. The fact that Saab is going through this process first is also a benefit. Ford is committing to fund Volvo while it is for sale, but that's only because it has not yet taken any U.S. bailout money. GM can't fund Saab because it can't justify using U.S. taxpayer money to help some other country's economy. When Ford is finally forced to take some bailout money, they'll be in the same boat. A year from now, Saab's situation will be sorted out, while Ford will still be struggling to sell Volvo at a substantially higher price