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Saab Runs Into Trouble – Unable To Pay 1,600 White-Collar Workers

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The bad news just doesn’t seem to end for Saab – the slow dribble of news is quite agonizing. Most manufacturers can endure some bad coverage – but for a small company already on life support like Saab, it is crucial to instill confidence in customers.

That just isn’t taking place right now. A whirlwind of successive crisis events has always resulted in some kind of deal negotiated by Saab’s management to secure new liquidity.

Understandings were signed and have fallen through, but two partners have been left standing: Chinese companies Pang Da and Youngman Automotive. Both have purchased stakes in the company and provided infusions of cash. Apparently, not everything is working as planned though – and the fact has remained that Saab’s Trollhattan plant has been idle for quite some time.

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Tuesday, Saab announced that it doesn’t have enough cash to pay 1,600 of its white-collar workers. These white-collar employees make up 45 percent of Saab’s overall workforce of 3,640 people. According to Saab, the inability to pay is the result of delayed funding from an (unnamed) source.

Saab spokesman Eric Geers: “The money has been committed, the only thing is, it has been delayed. This is very, very unfortunate for those people who have been affected.” Ouch. There is no details on the amount of money owed to the employees, or guidance to when the issue will be resolved.

This certainly has something to do with the earlier announcement about production being pushed back to late August. In the meantime, we feel bad for employees who have to be anxious about all this happening with their employer. Right now, everyone is in the dark about when production will restart for 9-3 and 9-5 models at the Trollhattan plant. Meanwhile, 9-4X crossovers are still rolling down the line at a General Motors plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.