By on May 27, 2011

With €30m from PangDa and €30m from Gemini Investments, Saab restarted production today at its Trollhättan factory. According to SaabsUnited, the line will run at 80% speed today and Monday, before moving to 100% (over 200 cars per day) by the middle of next week. Speaking at a press conference, CEO Victor Muller reflected:

It’s been an interesting lesson. A company like Saab, that lives in a glass house, should never be caught in a situation where there is not enough cash to withstand the storm as the one we have seen now. What happened seemed like a very insignificant situation became a very significant situation, and next thing you know, you are losing six weeks of production… it was very, very tough and we’ve had some very adverse circumstances that we’ve had to live with, but we got out of it. I think that if you got through 2009-2010 as Saab has been, anything else is relatively easy. We will definitely ensure that this will not happen again. This means that we will be on a quest to ensure that we have sufficient funds at all times to overcome adveersities like this because we can’t afford to have another production stoppage with all the relating downsides, such as disappointed customers, upset suppliers and media attention… that is definitely not in our interests.

Muller went on to say that he had expected orders to drop off during the interruption, but that they had continued… albeit at only 40 percent of their previous levels. The FT reports

The production hiatus has left Saab with a sizeable order backlog. The total of around 8,100 cars includes 6,500 outstanding orders for markets worldwide and an additional 1,300 cars ordered by Pang Da as part of its rescue package. Saab said that €30m in respect of the latter was paid up front.

Muller said that he anticipates a two-to-three-month wait for Chinese government approval of a further tie-up with PangDa, and insists that Saab has the cash to get through that period. But with Vladimir Antonov’s share purchase still pending approval and Chinese approval of the PangDa deal far from certain, the WSJ notes that “Saab’s long-term prospects remain uncertain.” Despite Muller’s insistence that the production shutdown had taught him to keep enough cash on hand, his “quest for sufficient funds” clearly continues. Though it’s hurdled a significant obstacle, the battle for Saab’s survival continues…

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10 Comments on “Saab Restarts Production...”

  • avatar

    Well, Ed, you might have missed one (or two)

    Was the 30M for cars, or for equity in the company?

    At at 21,000 Euros for cars, that is a pretty low price. Great deal for the importer, not so great for SAAB? I mean what is dealer price for a 9-5?

    And now PangDa is saying they can sell more than 1200 cars in China? Heaven forbid.

    Come on, Bertel is really beating you today on the SAAB Blogger of the Year nominations….

  • avatar

    Question: Are there any buyers of new Saabs? For their sake, I sure hope so, or this probably IS it.

    • 0 avatar

      As reported in the Toronto Star few weeks ago, 41 SAAB were sold in Canada in 2011 by the remaining dealers. For comparison Porsche sold 845 vehicles (up by 41.1%). Leader was Mercedes with 9,378 vehicles sold (up 3.8%).

  • avatar

    The Saab zombie lives another day c mon root for the little guy

  • avatar

    The company with 9 lives.
    I hope that they will survive.
    They may have a chance now when the depression is over.
    The world needs some odd cars, not just cookie cutter ones.

    • 0 avatar

      “The world needs some odd cars, not just cookie cutter ones.”

      I agree with you on that point, but Saabs stopped being distinctive many years ago, particularly after GM got involved. It is for this reason that I don’t think they will survive much longer.

  • avatar
    Tommy Boy

    I just happened to be at a SAAB dealership getting some work done on my wife’s 2002 9-5 (which overall has been a great car).

    They had a couple of new 9-5’s there, and besides the initial sticker shock, I was surprised at how unimpressive the dash was — hard plastics befitting a 20k car, but not a 45-50k car.

    But then I realized that the “new” 9-5 is really a GM product that (unlike my wife’s car) was designed after GM had taken full control of SAAB.

    So the new 9-5 (and new 9-4) is going to offer inflated European prices for pedestrian GM-spec components, GM-deficient pre-production testing and GM’s notorious beancounter corner-cutting (besides the aforementioned cheapish interior, lowest bidder components designed to last only through the warranty period).

    I hope that SAAB survives, and does so long enough to someday offer vehicles that are excised of the GM influence, and instead offer true quality engineering, component quality and assembly.

  • avatar
    Paul W

    Trollhättan running even at 100% equals to a normal car factory running at what, 50%? 30%?

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      If we take 200-240 cars/day as mentioned in other articles as 100% capacity, and considering an 8hr shift, it may be normal or 50% capacity of a “normal” factory.

      I’d expect around 40-60 cars/hr in a mass production factory.

      Not bad for Saab.

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