While some parts of Saab's phenomenally complicated restart jigsaw are moving with glacial slowness into place, it still has to placate perhaps the most important element of all - its suppliers.

News of a proposed EUR150m (US$222m) investment by Chinese company Hawtai into Saab is clearly a welcome development, but the crucial supply issue has still to be thrashed out.

The investment should put sufficient funds into Saab's account to start to pay its extremely miffed suppliers, but there could be an awful lot of bridge-building to be done to regain the component-makers' confidence.

"Trust" was a word repeated to just-auto today (3 May) by the Scandinavian automotive suppliers association FKG managing director Sven-Ake Berglie, whose members have had their fingers pretty badly burned by the Swedish automaker.

The FKG chief didn't pull any punches either when it came to Saab - it seems before the lorries start rolling to Trollhattan there will need to be some pretty clear rules about payment. This from Berglie:

"Many suppliers are reluctant. The amount of trust between Saab and its suppliers is not immense right now. It has to be built up again. Reasonable term[s] right now may be cash-on-delivery. There are many nice words, but let's talk about facts and then we can go over to the visions."

Perhaps it's as well to take that "cash-on-delivery" with a pinch of salt, although who knows, but it's a powerful illustration of just how embittered some suppliers clearly feel about the drawn-out process.

And despite Saab declining to confirm to just-auto with how many suppliers it would need to negotiate to re-start production, the FKG boss insisted talks would have to begin with "each and every one."

To be fair to Saab, it's well aware it needs to restore that trust with its crucial componnent-makers. "We are very humble - we have to agree with our suppliers before we can determine [restart] timing - it is our top priority," it noted.

There's a good deal more optimism surrounding Saab today than only a few days ago, indeed upbeat noises from Sweden are indicating production could restart next week.

But the entrance of Hawtai on to the stage now means the Swedish National Debt Office (SNDO) must get involved again to discuss any change in ownership structures. 

This, coupled with the apparent deafening silence from the European Investment Bank on Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov's proposed investment - approved by the SNDO - means Saab still has to perform a sensationally complex financial juggling act.

But most of all, even if all the pieces fall into place, Saab has to make clear with cast-iron, rock-solid guarantees that it won't put its suppliers through the mill once again.

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