There's a chill wind blowing through Trollhattan in Sweden as Saab desperately juggles the twin challenges of meeting supplier payments with continued production.

It's fair to say there must be a few nervous employees at the Swedish plant as they anxiously attempt to read the runes that increasingly paint a gloomy picture of the automaker, which stopped work again today (5 April).

Saab's ebullient chairman, Victor Muller popped up in Stockholm yesterday (4 April) keen to dispel any negative thoughts from last week's shut-down and equally keen not to be portrayed negatively in the media, but was rather overshadowed by the gathering storm.

Talk of the town in Stockholm was not Saab's shiny new model plans, but continued speculation as to supplier problems coupled with unhelpful speculation about Muller's apparent bonus.

And Muller's media wish seemed to fall on deaf ears as Sweden's economic newspaper Dagens Industri in a Saab update today ran a headline that screamed: "Rent Skitsnack" - I've run that through two translation services and suffice it to say, take a deep breath.

The manufacturer is putting on a brave face of course: "There might be production struggles as a result of on-going discussions but we are confident we will resolve it," was Saab's optimistic view to just-auto today, although almost in the same sentence, it conceded it had a "tight situation when it comes to cash."

Perhaps the heart of the problem lies in Saab's suppliers becoming ever-more twitchy as the days roll by and the headlines grow darker. The snowball effect of Saab's seemingly toxic position in the media is making several suppliers nervous, as their association (FKG) boss, Sven-Ake Berglie told just-auto today in confirming the Swedish halt in production.

The FKG managing director happens to be in China at the moment - and is spending a considerable amount of his time being fished out of what sound very lively Chinese restaurants to answer press questions about Saab and its supply chain.

"Suppliers are not able to be the bank account of Saab," Berglie told just-auto between courses. "[They] are not in a strong financial position and need their money."

The Dutch Victor Muller is now trying to plug the dam as fast as possible, but a clue to the problem may come from Sweden's National Debt Office, which is guaranteeing an EIB loan to Saab.

The Debt people agreed to guarantee a request to draw down EUR217m (US$307m) out of a EUR400m EIB loan, but it appears the cash isn't yet in the bank.

"We gave them the guarantee," the Debt Office told just-auto from Stockholm. "There is no payment yet - we are waiting for the bureaucrats."

There are 3,000 or so people in Trollhattan also waiting on the bureaucrats.

For the want of a nail the battle was lost - will the Swedish government now step in to help one of its national icons or let the market wolves do their worst?