Frank Beyer passed on some information to me from Walt Kammer that illustrates that Saab remains in a financial mess. Last week the Gothenburg Court of Appeal ruled that Saab could enter voluntary reorganization. As a result, approximately 4,000 staff can now be paid for outstanding August salaries and imminent wages for September.
A Saab 96
But just one day before the court agreed to Saab’s filing for voluntary reorganization, the Swedish Enforcement Office seized 109 vehicles from Saab Automobile’s museum. At this time everything remains in the museum, but under the control of the court. Evidently, the Enforcement Office has claims from Saab’s suppliers for debts amounting to more than 216 million kronor, but it has only been able to seize around 9 million kronor from Saab Automobile’s bank accounts. Apparently with the proposed Saab reorganization, the museum collection cannot be sold off to raise further funds. The future of the museum collection might not all be dismal as the Mayor of Trollhattan, Saab’s home town, has said that if the bailiffs do get the opportunity to sell the Saab Collection, then the local council will try to buy up the museum collection.
A Row of Saabs at the 2010 Swedish Car Day at the Larz Andersen Museum of Transportation in Brookline, MA
The hope for Saab now is that a Chinese investor will ride into Sweden and save Saab. While this might happen, I expect that the Chinese will drag their feet on any deals in order to let the value of Saab further deteriorate. I expect that few people in China have ever heard of Saab, so that when they are sold over there, the Chinese people will see Saab as a new company. The history of Saab will not be important to them. China doesn’t need more history, they need cars and automotive technology.
Bruce Turk’s Saab Rally Car at the 2010 Rally New York