By on April 26, 2011

Today, 3,700 employees of Saab received an invitation to come to an all hands meeting tomorrow, Wednesday. It will be a break from the doldrums. In Trollhättan, the lines have been down for three weeks now because Saab has no money to pay parts suppliers, reports Automobilwoche [sub]. Tuesday ended in Sweden without a solution. Suppliers, unions and Swedish politicians demand immediate action, or Saab will go down the drain.

Talk about a Chinese savior has died down. All hopes hinge on Vladimir Antonov, and the sale of the factory to the Russian, well, business man. The problem is: The real estate is collateral for a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB). Saab told Automobilwoche that the sale is “no sure” due to harsh demands by the EIB.

Antonov’s Swedish spokesman Lars Carlström said that the EIB is making new and much too restrictive demands.

Says Automobilwoche: “Antonov’s involvement as a Saab shareholder had been contractually excluded when Saab changed ownership in 2010. This against a backdrop of CIA information that the Russian had been involved in criminal money laundering. Antonov denies the allegations.”

According to the New York Times, “the onus for rescuing Saab, the struggling Swedish automaker, appeared to shift Tuesday to its former owner, General Motors, whose approval is required to release official financing.” The EIB told the New York Times that “there was no final approval from G.M. on Saab’s liquidity package.”

Spyker reiterated  today that it is also considering other financial options with Chinese car manufacturers. The Chinese are an often used bogeyman to prod negotiations along. If that is the case, then Spyker is playing poker with the wrong partners. With government joint venture partners, GM is very much clued in to what is happening on the Chinese side.



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26 Comments on “Saab Trolling For Money...”

  • avatar

    Once the hood is lifted, nobody wants this turkey.
    Saab enthusiasts will bemoan the company’s demise, but I don’t see them coughing up the money to keep the lights on and the suppliers paid.  Stick a fork in it.

  • avatar
    Charles T

    I want Sergio Marchionne to come in and pick up the pieces and make Saab a part of Chrysler. Here’s why:

    -Saab interiors are not competitive; I’ve sat in the 2010 9-5, and the matte plastic on dash is a huge letdown no matter what the layout. Who better than Chrysler to show what you can do to a formerly barrel-scraping interior with a compressed timeframe and a shoestring budget?
    -Heritage? Chrysler has had a long history of turbo FWD hatchbacks from the turbo K-cars to the PT Cruiser Turbo; yes, they’ve made some mistakes like the Caliber SRT-4 but they can appreciate the concept. 
    -Chrysler’s recent history of acquisitions is short but pretty good. Jeep is still strong, and Lamborghini came out of Chrysler ownership with the Diablo. 

    Still trying to figure out what would be in it for Chrysler, but if it’s a fire sale in a time of crisis, they wouldn’t have to spend much to get the bits.

    • 0 avatar

      Fiat and Chrysler have their hands full as it is.  Saab’s real chance at survival was when the original sale was done-they should have been sold to a company with deep pockets, not some boutique sports car manufacturer. 

  • avatar

    Where are all the Saab buyers???  Yeah, they don’t exist, at least in great enough numbers.  Time to reconcile the fact that Saab Auto hasn’t been a profitable going concern in over 20 years.  It died a long time ago.  GM made a decent effort, but even an inept sugar daddy like GM only has so many dollars to waste.  The Swedish government and EIB basically have to decide how badly they want a jobs program.  Antonov and Muller are over their collective heads.

    • 0 avatar

      I posted a few weeks ago about my car shopping experience at a Saab dealership.  Once upon a time I was the happy owner of several Saabs, so I decided to include the brand in my current shopping spree for a midsize car.  I visited a second dealer about a week ago and am now more convinced than ever that the brand will go bye-bye.  The dealership network in my estimation is in a shambles, loaded with inventory without a single tire kicker in sight (except me).  This particular dealer had 3 left over brandy new 9-3 Aero’s on the lot….2009 editions!  I was beyond shocked that these poor babies have sat on the lot for two years (flat spots on tires?).  To me it’s just another canary in the coalmine sort of indicator that things ain’t lookin too good.   Also,  I’ve still yet to see a 2011 9-5 whiz past me on the highway, and no I’m particularly interested in this 48K Buick LaCrosse with a firm suspension.

      • 0 avatar

        I wonder what was the reason to keep 2009 cars in inventory forever. They could give it away for huge discount or better sell them at used car lot. I agree that SAAB made a huge mistake using long wheelbase platform of Epsilon II substantially increasing costs making it much more expensive than Buick or Lincoln, well Acura RL also does not sell and was discontinued. Big Buick makes perfect sense but big SAAB does not make any. Lack of integrity, it destroys brands.

  • avatar

    GM is the biggest collector of dead companies – essentially graveyard. SAAB should be properly buried over there. GM even tried to buy Chrysler when Chrysler was almost dead. These days Chinese collect dead brands – Polaroid, Westinghouse,  Hoover – all are Chinese now. What I can say – China is big – it could also accommodate SAAB. The only problem is that SAAB is dead for already 20 years. Even zombies do not live so long. Or may be SAAB will become like Polaroid – Chinese company will buy brand name and make own cars under SAAB which will have nothing to do with former SAAB.

    • 0 avatar

      China is certainly big enough to accomodate Saab, but they’re not stupid.  They didn’t want Hummer, after all.  Loser companies are bad deals for a reason.

  • avatar

    Sad to see them dying like this, but GM left them no compelling justification for their retail prices. They have a lineup of ever so slightly tweaked GM vehicles. Not worth the premium price they’re asking, which leaves them too little cash flow to survive long enough to bring out anything truly Saab-y and different.

  • avatar

    I agree.  SAAB stopped being SAAB a long, long time ago.  The older 900’s still make me smile.  And in my fantasy garage (i.e. something in my head that will never, ever, become real) a black 900 coupe sits.

    But I’m still mad that the moment I could actually afford a SAAB, GM took over and killed everything SAAB was and should have been.  If I wanted a Malibu, I would have bought a Malibu.

    It would be great (I think) if someone would pony up a TON of dough and start cranking true SAAB’s out of Trollhattan (and nowhere but Trollhatten).  But that’s not going to happen.

    So bye bye SAAB.

    • 0 avatar

      GM took over and killed everything SAAB was and should have been.

      Myth.  Without GM, Saab Auto would have died.  Buyers weren’t exactly lining up in 1990 for either the cars or the company.  Saab-philes should be happy they had an extra 20 years to talk about and praise the cars they never intended on buying anyway (thanks to GM).  Though dumb, obtuse and arrogant for buying Saab, GM is the good guy here.

  • avatar

    Surely some big player could take on SAAB and fix it. JLR? PSA? Fiat? Anyone?

    Shame but I think this will be another Chinese takeaway a la MG.

  • avatar

    For all of you suggesting to stick a fork in Saab and commenting that they don’t have any meaningful contribution to the automotive industry, consider this.  They are basically the last standing manufacturer that sells wagons with manuals and turbos.  Sometimes even with AWD.  If you don’t pull for them, then you’re not an automotive enthusiast.  That or you’ve been brainwashed by the media that Saab is and has been irrelevant.  I know.  I was one those brainwashed.
    Despite my issues with my new 9-3 Sportcombi, one drive in this $23k (real world price) vehicle will reveal that there’s nothing like it.  I mean that in a good way too.  The 9-5 and especially the Sportcombi provide some added soul to a field of appliances.  I’ll reserve judgment on the 9-4x, but it should still appeal to the massive number of CUV crazies in the US.  With a new 9-3 on tap, Saab has a lot of potential.  Despite the GM parts bin.  Despite the GM bureaucracy.  The cars coming out of Saab pre-Spyker did have a surprising dose of Saabishness and goodness to them.  Just imagine what they have up their sleeves now.
    Saab, get your house in order.  Get product out the door. Get the MSRPs down to a more realistic value.  Get better dealerships.  The automotive world does need you.  Oh and you can take care of my 9-3 while you’re at it!

    • 0 avatar

      As a car nut I sympathise with SAAB fans but right now SAAB needs a sugar daddy. In recent times the only other premium car maker to turn things around is Jaguar Land Rover but look at how much they are spending on additional new models and green technology. Not a day goes buy when you don’t hear of JLR/ TATA splashing the cash. Within the last few days it’s even been leaked they plan an engine plant:

      Basically to move forward SAAB need to match this kind of spending. But they need a sugar daddy for that.

    • 0 avatar

      Re: last standing manufacturer that sells wagon with manuals and turbos

      I think VW still builds Passat wagons with 2.0T and manual transmission. 

      • 0 avatar

        SAAB couldnt survive with GMs parts bin to play with sop now without that lifesupport system reality is setting in Saabafiles out there buy the damn cars you lot wanted the brand alive nows your chance to help, move some off the lots, cash flow is the current SAAB problem surely if they sold a car or two that would help.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      “They are basically the last standing manufacturer that sells wagons with manuals and turbos.”
      Quite a few companies still make such things for markets other than the US. US buyers of such things are simply too scarce for it to be financially worthwhile to do.

      • 0 avatar

        Fair enough, but it’s that “in the US” part that affects me and most on this site.  While I’m sure there was a Passat turbo manual wagon for 2011 in Europe, there wasn’t one in the US.  Furthermore, it doesn’t look like the refresh of the Passat will include any wagon in the US.
        Yes, the pundits will say that marketing to this niche is what did or will undo Saab, but I still have to respect that.

    • 0 avatar

      Would a Mazdaspeed3, STI or GTI hatch not qualify in this market? At least in canada, these are all available in hatch form.

  • avatar
    Dave W

    I figure sometime around the 900 SAAB stopped making transportation and got into the adult toy business, and doesn’t have the deep pockets to compete.
    Still, the 96 I learned to drive in had that sticker in the right rear window, thanks for the picture.

  • avatar

    death panel says “no more medicine,put on hospice care”

  • avatar

    A SAAB is not a Hummer.
    It’s a type of car that makes you hum – and whistle along with its turbocharged engine.  
    Drive one, and you’ll know all the difference!

    • 0 avatar

      I guess every car today has or will have soon turbocharged engine. TSX had turbo engine or Audi A4. What so special about turbocharging in SAAB? At least Hummer is special in the sense that it is used by military and have specific layout and attitude.

  • avatar

    You are absolutely right. The Hummer had – and should have retained – its specific attitude: that of a military vehicle. That’s possibly why the brand doesn’t exist anymore. 
    My posting was about the difference between SAAB and HUMMER. Of course, you can buy a turbocharged Audi, or BMW. Or Volvo. Or VW. Or Renault. A lot of people do.
    And of course, not only SAABs have four wheels. What is the point?

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