Swedish car maker encounters another round of financial woes as it tries to source investment to pay suppliers
Matt Burt
29 August 2014

Saab's parent company has successfully applied for protection from bankruptcy as it seeks extra time to source funds to save the car maker from financial collapse.

The company trying to revive the Saab brand to make electric vehicles, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), recently admitted that it did not have enough money to pay all of its 900 suppliers.

However, NEVS stated that it was involved in "tripartite negotiations with two global vehicle manufacturers" who might invest in Saab and enable the suppliers to get paid.

It also said, however, that negotiations "are still progressing, but are complex and have taken more time than we predicted".

The majority of NEVS suppliers have chosen to await the outcome of the ongoing negotiations, but some creditors have filed applications for a court order to force the company to pay them.

That is a situation NEVS is keen to avoid because it fears it might jeopardise its investment negotiations with the unnamed car companies.To give itself more time, NEVS applied to a Swedish district court for bankruptcy protection.

That was turned down on Thursday, but a second application earlier today was approved and the district court of Vänersborg has appointed an administrator during the reorganisation period.

Saab has been rarely been far from financial turmoil since it was offloaded by General Motors to Spyker in 2010.

The latest round of financial woes comes shortly after NEVS finally presented its Saab 9-3 electric vehicle. The car is equipped with lithium-ion batteries and has a claimed range of approximately 120 miles, a maximum speed of around 75mph and a 0-60mph time of ten seconds.

The 9-3 EV is part of a prototype series built in Trollhättan in May as test beds for technical development and to verify the manufacturing set-up in preparation for the production of customer cars.

NEVS started production of petrol-powered 9-3 Aero Sedans in December 2013, but stopped the build in May.

In a further twist, Reuters has reported that Saab AB, the defence firm which licences the Saab name to NEVS, has withdrawn that right in light of the financial situation. 

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Our Verdict

Saab 9-3 Sportwagon

Minor tweaks both simplify and improve the 9-3. Likeable, but lagging behind

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Comments
6

29 August 2014
Put it to bed and let the unknown car company purchase what is worth purchasing, hassle free post bankruptcy.

30 August 2014
I have the feeling that electric car technology is advancing at such a pace that this venture will have serious difficulty adapting existing Saab designs (as I believe they're attempting) to produce a new car which will challenge the larger manufacturers. Generally, the only disappointment has been the Vauxhall Ampera. They should have kept the Chevrolet Volt name; they should have made Chevrolet and indeed Holden as the quality alternative to those nasty Vauxhalls!

15 September 2014
Symanski wrote:

I have the feeling that electric car technology is advancing at such a pace that this venture will have serious difficulty adapting existing Saab designs (as I believe they're attempting) to produce a new car which will challenge the larger manufacturers.

I believe the plan is to launch this electric car (based on the old 9-3 and largely designed before NEVS bought the bankrupt company) as a stop-gap until and all new from the ground up electric car can be launched. Just like the relaunch of the petrol 9-3 it's just a 'keep the company bubbling along and the staff employed until the new platform is ready' model. Most of the development work being done by NEVS is on that new platform and that is what the prospective investors are interested in.

30 August 2014
autocar wrote:

"Saab has been rarely been far from financial turmoil since it was offloaded by General Motors to Spyker in 2010"

Hold on a minute, that isn't the whole story. Wasn't General Motors attracted to Saab because the company was in financial turmoil? that they could buy it on the cheap? And whilst under GM management, Saab was hardly ever out of financial turmoil. It seems that successive management have been trying to sell their re-badged Vectras for ever, NEVS masterplan was to replace the engine with a few batteries and sell it to the Chinese as a new car. It's hardly surprising.

30 August 2014
I owned a Saab 900 and it was one of the best cars I've owned, the unique design and quality ride, but as soon as GM put their dirty hands on it I never stayed with the brand.

You only have to look at their trail of destruction to the car industry to see my point. Daewoo, Fiat, Opel, Saab, Suzuki, even Subaru felt their rath. Their umpteen collaboration with other manufacturers says a lot also, no innovation just lazy designers who are too willing to resketch others work and parade it as their own, their latest attempt is the Fiat 500/ Adam....

Instead of milking Saab to save Vauxhall they should have moved it upmarket instead, as it was a Niche which was very successful- Mass market killed Saab so by the time it was sold the buyer only bought nostalgia- No plans no new designs no nothing.

A very sad demise for Saab indeed.

31 August 2014
Hasn't this gone long enough? Time to put an end to this Sob story.

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