Still clawing its way to survive, Saab got a bit of goods news today when the Sweden debt office approved their financing deal. Now, the automaker must wait on a decision from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
As we previously reported, Saab is attempting to free up some cash by selling bank-owned (EIB) real estate to a Russian investor who will then lease the land back to the automaker. Once the EIB approves the deal, Saab will use the cash to pay debt owed to suppliers that stopped shipping parts to the automaker due to unpaid invoices. Saab is confident that it will be up and running again by next week.
Saab has had difficulty achieving sales goals since Dutch carmaker Spyker took ownership last year and it’s unclear how the week-long production shutdown will affect future sale forecasts.
“It’s very hard to say right now,” Spyker CEO Victor Muller said during an interview. He estimates 3,000 cars were lost to the shutdown, but claims to be able to make up for the loss by the end of 2011.
Muller also stated that Saab is looking to partner with an automaker in China to help them with their financial issues and to provide a stronger voice to the Chinese market. He didn’t name specific partners, but described them as “niche players and big boys.”
Additionally, Muller hopes to quell concerned Saab dealers in the United States by announcing a “huge marketing offensive.”
“We’re basically throwing the kitchen sink at our marketing efforts in the United States to get the company back on track here,” Muller said. The U.S. continues to be the largest market for Saab.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)