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Saab Production Resumes in August, But Maker Still Faces Major Challenges

Putting the emotion back into a “passion brand.”

by on Jul.07, 2011

The first Saab 9-4X crossovers rolled into U.S. dealer showrooms this week.

With cash in hand to pay both workers and boycotting suppliers, Saab will re-start its Swedish assembly line on August 9th, the automaker confirmed, though company officials acknowledge Saab still has a tough battle ahead if it hopes to reverse the financial problems that nearly shut it down over the last three months of frantic deal making.

While the maker continues to look for additional revenue sources to help ensure it won’t run into another cash crunch, the upcoming challenge will be to not only resume production but get buyers back into the carmaker’s 199 U.S. showrooms, said Tim Colbeck, President and Chief Operating Officer of Saab Cars North America.

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“Our priority,” he said, during a small briefing for Detroit journalists, “is to instill confidence in the brand.”

There hasn’t been much of that in recent months.

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Workers Paid, Saab Reveals 3 New Products

Maker outlines plans with new Chinese partners.

by on Jul.05, 2011

Saab hopes to relaunch production at Trollhattan in the coming days.

Still struggling to re-start the assembly plant that has been idled for most of the last three months, Swedish automaker Saab has announced plans to add three new models to its line-up.

The maker has been lining up a coterie of partners, in recent weeks, raising funds to overcome its ongoing cash problems.  A $40 million deal to sell and then lease back its Trollhattan plant, along with a $36 million bridge loan, could resolve its most immediate problems, allowing production to resume sometime in the coming days.

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But even before the Trollhattan plant starts rolling again, Victor Muller, Chairman of Saab and its parent, Swedish Automobile, announced three new products that are either a much-needed plan for the future, or little more than wishful thinking.

“We will now be able to develop a small entry-level Saab, a car that has long been on the top of our wish list,” says a statement from Muller, who noted Saab also wants to add two models bigger than its current offerings.

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