The entrance to the Saab factory in the town of Trollhattan, Sweden suggests business as usual.
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Flags welcome visitors and impressive new Saab models are parked outside. But behind the facade there’s a business in crisis.
Production has been at a standstill for months, workers have not been paid and bills are piling up.
For the people of Trollhattan, Saab’s trials are a looming tragedy – the town employs 3,400 people here.
Mayor Paul Akerlund says if it closes it will affect the town’s whole economy.
“That would, of course, be very tough and difficult. Saab is, after all, the heart and core of our industry. At Saab many people are employed and indirectly many other companies would be affected. It would affect trade and everything else so that would be tough times…”
Saab was rescued from closure by Dutch sports car maker, Spyker.
It was hoping the strong Saab brand and new models would revive its fortunes.
The rescue brought much relief to the workforce, but earlier this year Spyker, now trading as Swedish Automobile, said it was facing cash problems due to a sales shortfall in 2010.
Production was halted in April after it failed to pay suppliers and apart from a brief period in the summer, the plant as been idle ever since.
In recent months, the company has raised more than 100 million euros.
But the Chief Executive of the local Saab dealership, Joachim Lind, says its future is hanging in the balance.
“I mean, we are selling some new Saabs from our inventory. A couple per week at least. So we will be out of cars very soon. For that reason and other reasons, the most important thing now is, of course, to pay the salaries to the workers, make up a deal with the suppliers and get production going again. To get the production going is the most important thing for sure.”
The main hope now is a deal being struck with two Chinese carmakers. Workers in Trollhatten hope Saab can follow in the footsteps of another Swedish carmaker.
Chinese carmaker, Geely, took over Volvo last year – a deal widely seen as a success story.
Bottom line: Iconic carmaker, Saab, has never been so close to the end of the road – production has been shut down for months, wages and bills have not been paid and as sales continue Saab is running out of cars.