Europe’s automotive supplier association (CLEPA) says it will “sit and hope” as it surveys the wreckage surrounding today’s (8 September) decision by a Swedish Court not to allow Saab bankruptcy protection.
The Vanersborg District Court rejected a request by Saab CEO Victor Muller for voluntary reorganisation as the manufacturer desperately seeks funding to survive, while the decision throws open the real possibility of several unions filing for the automaker’s bankruptcy.
A spokeswoman for the District Court told just-auto Saab had not specified in enough detail “where they are supposed to get money, when and how this money is supposed to save this business in the long run,” although the automaker said it would appeal against the decision.
“We will sit and hope,” CLEPA CEO Lars Holmqvist told just-auto from his headquarters in Brussels. “It is not unexpected, I know the Court’s reasons. I think Victor Muller underestimated the need for detailed information.
“He has not the most convincing history – Saab has been [on] a rocky road for quite some time. It is an uphill struggle.”
Holmqvist added the only option available to the Swedish government would be to buy Saab – “it happened recently with a company called GM,” he said – “but I don’t think the present Swedish government has any plans in that direction.”
The CLEPA chief noted there might be a “glimmer of hope” should no-one proceed to have Saab declared bankrupt with a potential restructuring, although the unions are currently mulling their response to today’s dramatic news.
“Have the unions got enough patience or guts to say, no we won’t declare [them] bankrupt even though we know our members will not be paid?” said Holmqvist.
As far as CLEPA’s members are concerned, Holmqvist said there were two distinct groups – those suppliers who will support Saab “to the bitter end” and those opposed to Muller and “the way he is handling the whole thing.”