For the first time since April 4, cars are rolling off the Saab assembly line in Trollhattan, Sweden, marking a turning point in a financial crisis that came close to crushing the struggling maker.
Operations at the maker’s headquarters plant came to a halt when suppliers launched a boycott over unpaid bills. With sales running short of expectations, the maker was forced to seek additional sources of short-term funding, but several initial proposals – including a deal with Chinese automaker Hawtai — fell through, raising questions about Saab’s viability.
But, earlier this month, the Swedish maker lined up an alternate deal with the major Chinese dealership chain, Pang Da. The preliminary agreement is moving ahead and Saab was able to reach an agreement with its vendors to once again begin stocking its Trollhattan plant.
“This is a great day for our company and it is great to see the plant running again. We have gone through a rough patch in recent weeks, but Saab is back in action again,” said Victor Muller, chairman of Saab and the head of the Dutch-based company that acquired the Swedish firm from General Motors in February 2010.