SWEDEN: Saab bankruptcy filing "disaster" for Swedish supply side: FKG CEO

By Simon Warburton | 19 December 2011

Scandinavian supplier body FKG has described today's (19 December) decision by Saab to file for bankruptcy as a "disaster" for the Swedish component manufacturing sector.

Saab CEO Victor Muller took the dramatic step to apply for bankruptcy following Chinese manufacturer Youngman's decision to withdraw funding.

That move apparently came after a toughly-worded statement from former parent General Motors this weekend in which it poured cold water on any new ownership plans the Swedish automaker had proposed. 

"It is a disaster for the Swedish supplier industry that one of the OEMs has gone away," FKG managing director Frederik Sidahl told just-auto from Stockholm where he is in urgent talks with government officials.

"I understand from the latest calls it is a tremendous fight against specifically General Motors, because they don't support...the actions of the Chinese and so on. We [are discussing] it right now with the expert authorities and the Swedish government side. That is a meeting we have in Stockholm right now.

"There is no money back, there is zero of course, we are [the] last in the chain. We are talking to the Swedish government now - I can't talk about that."

Saab was due to have a hearing at the Vanersborg District Court today to consider a bankruptcy protection extension, but events have clearly moved swiftly to present a different scenario.

The Scandinavian supplier chief added his next step would be to discuss with his members to see "whatever and how we can assist," although he conceded the component makers had "realised for many months" the extent of Saab's financial difficulties.

Sidahl said he understood GM was in a "delicate" position, given its operation in China with State-run SAIC Motor.

"China is the largest market outside [the] US for GM and is the largest market when it comes to the car industry," said Sidahl. "If you take away the pick-ups and SUVs, it is the largest market.

"You can understand it is very delicate."