Europe's automotive supplier association (CLEPA) says it believes Saab CEO Victor Muller's assertion all suppliers have been treated equally, but concedes the automaker is in "dire straits."

There had been previous suggestions some component suppliers had received partial payments, a situation CLEPA CEO Lars Holmqvist had denounced as "totally unacceptable," but it now appears the air has been cleared regarding any debt settlement schedule.

"I had a telephone conference yesterday (16 August) with Victor Muller," Holmqvist told just-auto. "I was concerned about the rumours that were consistently circulating about some people treated preferentially.

"He assured me that was not the case and I believe him - it would very stupid to lie."

The Saab and CLEPA chiefs also discussed the stricken automaker's plans for a restart of production - originally mooted for 29 August although no update is yet available if this is feasible.

"We talked about plans for a start-up, what support suppliers could offer and what suppliers would expect," said Holmqvist. "We had a chance to put our opinion to him so he really understands what we are talking about."

Holqvist's comments come on the same day (17 August) as the Swedish debt enforcement agency - Kronofogden - is due to find out whether or not Saab has paid an initial debt of SEK4m (US$629,000) to Kongsberg Automotive and consultants Infotiv.

Should that outstanding amount not be paid, Kronofogden says it could freeze Saab's current account, a situation Holmqvist concedes would lead to nothing being settled.

"If they can freeze the account, then obviously you can't pay anything," he said. "Saab is in dire straits and I am quite sure they have used every means they have to raise capital."