Time to take stock.

Another breathless week for Saab has seen the vultures circle once again, but with a defiance that borders on heroic, the Swedish manufacturer is living to fight another day.

But as soon as one fire goes out, Saab has to ready the extinguisher to deal with yet another conflagration. Unions, salaries, bonus payments, supplier debts, enforcement agencies, Frankfurt pull-out, the flames are well fanned.

Apart from the Chinese trail however, that seems to have gone remarkably cold; just where are Pang Da and Youngman in their seemingly interminable negotiations with the authorities to secure approval for any potential Saab investment?

And the mooted mystery US investor? Nowhere to be seen for now.

It may be everybody’s on the beach – even in these challenging economic times Europeans are wedded to their idea of a break in August – particularly in the car business so maybe the mass return to work will see an equal upturn in investor interest.

Some Saab employees of course have taken advantage of the enforced break to holiday themselves. There’s just one snag. Many were only paid recently for July salaries, while a massive question mark hangs over wages for this month.

The impending salary date brought Saab’s four main unions to the table for a crunch meeting with CEO Victor Muller, although they seem to have been satisfied, for now.

But those are only some of the plates Saab is spinning. This Monday (15 August) saw the deadline come and go for Saab to settle some of its initial debts to suppliers – namely Kongsberg Automotive and consultants Infotiv.

Kongsberg is interesting. Despite insisting to just-auto it had no desire to push Saab over the edge, it nonetheless made it crystal clear it wanted its money back.

And yet in the great scheme of things – that money – around $725,000 – is relatively small beer. Indeed, Kongsberg itself set it against the company’s gargantuan turnover of EUR1bn.

So why is Kongsberg Automotive – through the auspices of Sweden’s Debt Enforcement Agency Kronofogden – so keen to recover what seems a relatively small amount of money?

“We will look to Saab to come up with a solution that is financially sound,” a Kongsberg Automotive spokesman sternly told just-auto this week. “We are not going to give money away for free.”

So is this a test case? Is Kronofogden dipping its financial toe in the water to ascertain just how much cash Saab has in the bank? The fact the automaker missed the payment deadline means those austere folk at Kronofogden have the right to ask the banks to open the Saab ledgers.

And should further debts not be paid, there remains the distinct possibility Saab’s current accounts could be frozen.

But if that happens, then surely the game really is up. As Europe’s automotive supplier association’s (CLEPA) CEO also told just-auto this week: “If they can freeze the account, then obviously you can’t pay anything,” he said. “Saab is in dire straits.”

You can say that again. But Saab remains afloat even firing a broadside back at reports in Swedish media surrounding an extra payment to its parent company’s board chairman of almost EUR100,000.

“I don’t think there is anyone who wants to see Saab go under,” a Saab spokeswoman said.

“If you take a look at the vast majority of our suppliers, I think you find the same situation.”

Brave words. But August salary deadlines are fast looming. How much more goodwill will Saab have before time is called?