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Saab Re-Starts Plant After Unpaid Suppliers Temporarily Halt Deliveries

Shutdown hints at other challenges facing Swedish maker.

by on Mar.30, 2011

Production of the Saab 9-5 was temporarily halted over unpaid parts bills.

Saab assembly operations in Trollhattan, Sweden got back to normal – more or less – this morning, following a day long shutdown triggered by suppliers who refused to deliver parts pending payment of outstanding bills.

Company officials insist they are working to “resolve these issues,” but there is no question the Swedish maker is struggling in its attempt to rebuild itself after nearly shutting down permanently last year.

Operations at the facility, which produces Saab’s flagship 9-5 sedan, ground to a halt, yesterday, when a number of suppliers refused to deliver more parts until they were paid.  It’s unclear precisely what arrangements were made to get those vendors to restock the plant and let it reopen this morning.

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But a statement from Saab says it “expects to resolve these issues in the short-term.”

The brief shutdown is the latest twist in an ongoing saga of a company that has long struggled for survival.  Going into its 2009 bankruptcy, former owner General Motors Corp. announced plans to sell or close Saab – while eventually also shutting down its Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac brands.  Initially, with no buyer coming through with the necessary deal, GM began shutting Saab down.

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Another Saab Shake-Up as Maker Reports $300 Million Loss

Replacement for CEO Jonsson sought as Swedish maker predicts possible profit for 2012.

by on Mar.25, 2011

Image By: Len Katz

Saab Chairman Victor Muller will take on temporary CEO duties, as well.

Saab’s CEO Jan-Aake Jonsson will step down, in May, leaving the Swedish maker to find a new chief executive amidst its efforts to turn its fortunes around.

Victor Muller, the Dutch entrepreneur who led the takeover of Saab from former owner General Motors Corp., will temporarily take on CEO duties while a search gets underway to replace the 60-year-old Jonsson, who had been with Saab for 40 years.

During a conference call with reporters, Saab’s new parent, Amsterdam-based Spyker Cars NV, announced that its struggling subsidiary lost 218 million Euros, or $308 million, during 2010.  But that’s down from a 400 million Euro loss in 2009, while Saab was still owned by General Motors.

Saab sales declined about 19%, however, from 1 billion Euros during the last year under GM to 819 million Euros under Spyker’s command.

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But that reflects the challenges the new owners faced after taking control.  Before approving the Spyker bid GM had begun ramping down operations at the Swedish company and it took nearly two months, after the sale, for Saab’s assembly plant in Trollhatten to restart.

Critically, the company says sales started rebounding during the fourth quarter, when global volumes hit 10,000.  The maker insists the trend is moving favorably and should continue to gain momentum with the May launch of Saab’s new 9-4X, its first sport-utility vehicle.

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