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Saab struggles with bills – Vladimir says it’s all fine

Thu, 31 Mar 2011

The Saab production line grinds to a halt as components run out

I think we all hoped that after the long, painful transition from GM ownership in to new hands at Spyker that things would settle down and Saab would get back to making cars instead of headlines. But it seems not.

Just a few days ago we had news that lifetime Saab man and CEO of Saab Jan Åke Jonsson is to step down in May, together with the news that Saab lost €140 million in 2010. Which is enough to make a hole in anyone’s bank account.

The obvious inference to draw from Jan Åke departure and the big losses is that Saab are finding things far from easy as they strive to rebuild a customer base after the GM tenure. And yesterday we saw a glimpse of perhaps how bad things have got at Saab.

Saab was forced to halt production at Trollhattan on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week after failing to get components delivered because of unpaid bills to suppliers.

Saab did manage to get their act together and get supplies running again, and yesterday they issued a statement to say that:

Certain suppliers halted supplies to Saab Automobile pending discussions about payments and supply terms. Saab Automobile expects to resolve these issues in the short term, also to prevent any further disruptions in supply. Saab Automobile has sufficient means to meet its immediate liquidity needs from existing and available sources. In addition, Saab Automobile continues to work on longer term solutions to further strengthen its financial position and improve its capital structure.

Which sounds a lot like fire-fighting.

But actually, Saab could be in decent shape if Vladimir Antonov has anything to do with it.

You may remember that Vladimir was originally outed from Spyker when the Saab deal went through, when GM developed a terminal case of ‘Reds under the Bed’.

You may also remember that GM subsequently decided that Vladimir Antonov was actually a good guy, which we said was Vladimir’s cue to step in to support Saab. Which is what looks like happening.

Vladimir has taken to his Twitter account to comment on the state of play at Saab. Some of his recent Tweets include:

30th March:So many rumors:) around small SAAB:) guys everything will be fine:) honestly nothing to add:) cozz all fine

29th March: 2 all Saab community: everything sort out. Saab had a technical issue nothing more then that. Now everything fixed. I can guaranty that;) VA

Which is an interesting turnaround from a  few weeks ago, when Vladimir was busy mischief-making by telling the world Saab would run out of cash in a matter of days.

But it was all part of a plan by Vladimir to get involved again with Saab, we have no doubt. As was his funding of the CPP buyout of Spyker.

Watch this space for the further adventures of Vladimir Antonov.

By Cars UK