Just six words, but they could spell a make-or-break few days for Saab .
“This week will be very important,” a Saab spokeswoman in Sweden told just-auto, exercising perhaps a remarkable understatement as to just how crucial the next few days will be in the automaker’s troubled existence.
You could easily argue we’ve been here before with Saab – many, many times in fact – but the convergence of both outstanding blue and white collar staff wages for August is appearing to concentrate minds and add a sense of real urgency to a situation that needs to be resolved one way or another.
Should its staff not be paid, the now-familiar union pattern of taking further steps to recover members’ salaries could be enacted, although in fairness that Rubicon has not yet been crossed with labour bodies showing an admirable amount of tolerance to the Trollhattan manufacturer.
Speculation has centred on Saab moving to secure a bridging loan to meet wages and supplier payments, but again, it is unclear from where this finance might originate, nor as to the mystery provenance of overdue cash from a source Saab is declining to name.
“We are still working to get committed funds,” a Saab spokeswoman in Sweden told just-auto. “Funds that someone [has] promised to Saab, but not come in yet.
“There is still money outstanding. We are not sharing that information – there is somebody that has committed.”
Saab would not be pressed on whether “this week” meant tomorrow (31 August) or Friday, but it is increasingly clear a form of timetable is emerging, while in the background looms the omnipresent spectre of suppliers, some of whom are now starting to play hardball.
From Saab again today: “What we continue to have for the most part and we appreciate it greatly, is the patience and support of most of the suppliers,” said the Saab spokeswoman.
“Evidently some not. There are some that are deciding to take other actions.”
And bang in the middle of such complicated discussions a slightly surreal moment yesterday as the Trollhattan production lines – albeit briefly – started rumbling into action once more as equipment was checked.
Yesterday was 29 August – a previously mooted date by Saab as a potential start-up. A ghost trial run as an indicator of things to come or simply another glimmer of something more temporary? This week really will be very important.