By on April 5, 2011

Yesterday,  Spyker CEO Muller said everything is peachy. Saab “is not on the verge of collapse,” Muller said to a rapt audience of reporters, while, as Reuters snidely remarked, “Saab was presenting new vehicles already shown at the Geneva auto show.” Muller promised that “a small glitch does not change the fact that cars are being made,” and that Saab would have the widest and newest range in its history next year. This year? No problem at all. Just that output would be  more weighted towards the second half of the year. Which in itself would be a miracle, and outpacing the competition, because in Europe, auto sales are more weighted towards the first half of the year. This was yesterday. Now is today.

Today, the production lines at Saab ground to a halt again. No parts. Nobody was quick-witted enough to blame Japan. “Saab halted production anew on Tuesday due to parts shortages after failing to pay suppliers,” says Reuters. A day after the glowing presentation, Victor Muller told Reuters that Saab expects to have more production line interruptions: “This is an ongoing thing. It will take some time to get everyone back in line properly. We will get it under control.”

Meanwhile Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told the wire service that they “are working intensively to make sure the flow gets going again. We are having discussions with suppliers and doing our best to come to mutual agreements.”

Saab’s part suppliers are less optimistic.

“They cannot pay their bills,” Svenake Berglie, chief executive of the FKG suppliers’ sector organisation, told Reuters.  FKG said four or five of the biggest suppliers stopped deliveries because of unpaid invoices.

Everybody is now waiting for Russian sugar daddy Vladimir Antonov to come out of exile.

Maybe, we aren’t the only ones who had received threats for previous reporting. Reuters writes very cautiously: “Antonov, who owns banks in Lithuania and Latvia, used to have a 29.9 percent stake in Spyker but had to sell it, at GM’s insistence, before Spyker could buy Saab. Media reported at the time that Antonov had links to organized crime.”

No need to hold back. Meanwhile, even Russia’s state-owned news agency RIA-Novosti writes: ”Antonov was a key shareholder in Spyker, but he was forced out shortly before the Saab sale deal as GM reportedly suspected the Russian businessman of links to organized crime.” If RIA-Novosti says so, who are we to argue with them.

Antonov has applied to the Swedish Debt Office to take a below 30 percent stake in Saab. The BBC called the Debt Office and was told that “a formal request to clear Mr Antonov is currently under consideration, although it will take weeks rather than days before a decision is made.”

Meanwhile, even over at the Saabsunited cheering section, the mood turns from ebullient to guarded.  Good advice is being dispensed: “Saab cannot afford big mistakes, hardly small. How should it proceed? With sincerity, honesty and humility.“

Or not, as the saying went here in years behind.

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11 Comments on ““They Cannot Pay Their Bills.” Saab Stops Production Yet Again...”

  • avatar

    Anyone still think TTAC is just hating SAAB? The reality is they are going down by the stern.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Missing from the narrative is why M. Antonov would be anxious to sink his hard-earned rubles into this venture.  As the management types would say: What’s the value proposition here? As a Saab owner (’02), I just don’t think there’s much brand equity here.

  • avatar

    Ah, bah, “value proposition”. This is penny pincher terminology.
    Probably, Antonov always wanted to own a car company? Others invest in soccer clubs, to sink their hard-earned rubles, probably, because they always have wanted to own a soccer club. Most probably, those rubles were not hard-earned, at all.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    BORIS: Car and truth interweb site is talking bad about our investment again!
    NATASHA: Up to here I have had it with meddling little talkbloggers. Time to show them how we are serious.
    BORIS: What do you have in mind?
    NATASHA: Time to pull out all stops. Time to call…
    SFX: da-da-daaaaaaah
    NATASHA: Mister Big!
    BORIS: Oh no! Not Mister Big!
    MR BIG: I heard my name. What problem it is that you cannot fix?
    BORIS: Oh Mister Big, those pesky car blogger truth people…
    NATASHA: Hush, Dahlink. Mister Big, we need you to pay visit to Bertel Scmittovich residence at once.
    MR BIG: Prepare my jet. Call Antonov. He’ll want to see this for himself. Will be better than what I did to silly moose and squirrel.
    BORIS: But Mister Big, we have big problem…
    MR BIG: What it is?
    BORIS: Your jet, is born from Saab.
    MR BIG: Ah! Foiled again!

  • avatar

    Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, it appears that Saab is pretty much D.O.A.


    • 0 avatar

      Which is a might unfortunate. Having played with the new 9-5 and been allowed to look at (but not play with a pre-production 9-4) I had a smidge of hope.
      Congrats Saab – you will now be a money laundering front for the Russian mob.

  • avatar

    Oh, just close it down to get it out of its misery.

  • avatar
    kid cassady

    The commentariat on Saabs United has produced a much more nuanced – and reasonable – explanation of why Saab is undergoing so many of these problems when the average car company is known to send payments forty or more days late. Speculation is speculation, of course, but it seems there are more personal reasons at the heart of the unpaid bill dispute.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    Pity. Well, I guess Volvo’s still around for those who would like a Swedish car, quirks and all.

  • avatar
    Paul W

    Saab has decided to shut down production for a week, until April 12:th.

    And Bertel, you’re underestimating the Saab enthusiasts ability to come up with excuses, they’ve already started blaming it on the Japanese earthquake.

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