Saab production halted once again

Saab 9-3 front
21 May, 2014 2:00pm Jordan Bishop

Short-term cash problems cause Saab to halt 9-3 production and cut its workforce, although two new partnerships could provide a boost

The Saab saga has taken yet another interesting turn with parent company National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) forced to halt production and cut its workforce.

The “short term cash problem” is apparently a result of Chinese shareholder Qingbo Investment Co. not fulfilling its “contractual obligation to finance the operations.”

Although NEVS’ main owner, National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., intends to pick up the financial slack as the company’s sole backer, a lack of readily available funds has caused Saab 9-3 production to temporarily cease.

The announcement comes just under six months since new models began rolling off assembly lines at Saab’s Trollhattan plant in Sweden, and there’s currently no word on when work will resume. It’s similarly unclear whether the brand’s existing output of six cars per day will be improved upon.

It’s not the first time there have been doubts about the Swedish manufacturer’s future, having also halted production three years ago in April 2011, before filing for bankruptcy in December of the same year.

In a bid to boost its stock in the wake of this latest setback, NEVS has announced plans for an “extensive investment” in the Phoenix architecture “which will be the base for future car models.”

The new platform’s development will apparently take place “in cooperation with other global OEMs” – with one signed up to co-develop the frame and another in negotiations for part ownership.

NEVS is hopeful these new partnerships will provide the “financial and technical support” necessary to relaunch Saab as a premium brand around the world. 

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No surprises here. This once great marque should have been allowed to die in peace rather than in pieces.

Its a very sad & long drawn out death of a once great brand. GM didn't know what to do with it, starved it of new products worthy of the brand & then washed its hands of it. How NEVS thinks anyone is going to buy a hopeless out of date design like the 9-3 over any of its rivals is beyond me.

I really hope they succeed ...

I think a company like Tata would be an ideal parent for the Saab brand. They've done well with JLR.

I think the critical mistake was not launching a smaller car on the Astra platform to compete with the A3, 1-Series etc. If they had got the packaging and price right this might have saved the company. There was little point in the new 9-5 as by this time they were trying to compete out of their league and, realistically, there was very little market for a big Saab.

Premium compact cars have grown rapidly in popularity over the last 15 years or so and yet Saab, with a fine heritage in smaller cars, was unique in having nothing to offer. Volvo would have been floored without the S40/V50 etc. so how could Saab hope to survive with no compact car in the range?

Swedish engineering is quite innovative and forward thinking, they are capable of coming up with quirky but effective solutions. I think its time to let Saab engineers loose on a ULEV they are sure to do something special.

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