2009 Saab 9-5 SportKombiEnlarge Photo
Production at the main factory of Swedish automaker Saab has restarted this morning after it was halted by a dispute over unpaid suppliers.
Adding to concerns over the future of the small Swedish automaker, Saab's main plant in Trollhattan shut down yesterday when suppliers halted delivery of critical parts in what owner Spyker Cars called "discussions about payments and supply terms."
The Trollhattan plant currently builds the new 2011 Saab 9-5 sedan and new SportKombi station wagon, along with the aging Saab 9-3 line of sedan and station wagon models.That plant's capacity is 190,000 vehicles at full production volume.
The upcoming 2012 Saab 9-4X crossover is built by General Motors in Mexico, and its production was unaffected.
2012 Saab 9-3 Griffin rangeEnlarge Photo
Despite two new vehicles--the 9-5 luxury sports sedan and the 9-4X crossover--analysts have questioned whether Saab can survive and generate enough capital to fund development of new vehicles on sales volumes of 27,500 in 2009 and just 31,600 last year.
The company still projects sales of 60,000 cars in 2011, but Jan Åke Jonsson, its CEO, just announced he would step down. Saab was purchased from General Motors by Spyker, a tiny Dutch maker of supercars, more than a year ago after GM planned to shut it down during its bankruptcy, along with Pontiac, Saturn, and HUMMER.
Despite criticism from Russian investor Vladimir Antonov, Saab has recently launched both updated and new models. It also unveiled the startling PhoeniX concept car, penned by new chief designer Jason Castriota, at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show earlier this month.
Saab has said it is looking to source a front-wheel-drive platform for its proposed 9-2 entry-level car from another manufacturer, widely rumored to be the next-generation Mini from BMW.
[Financial Times (registration required)]