Saab, you may have heard, is a company in crisis. Only today, Reuters reports that its cash crunch is not solved, as millions are still owed to suppliers, and Saab is making last-ditch efforts to resolve the situation with the Swedish government.
The gas-powered 9-4X crossover (above) is on track (as of last week) to hit dealerships in May, but the planned diesel version is nowhere to be seen. “Cost-prohibitive,” they say. Production is shut down on the 9-5 sedan until suppliers’ bills can be paid—or an agreement with them reached.
The only real angel in the wings has been Russian investor Vladimir Antonov. The former chairman of Spyker was waiting to invest some $21 million in return for a near-30-percent share. It would be a lease-back arrangement whereby Saab property, including parts of the factory in Trollhattan, would be sold to Antonov, then leased to the company.
But as Edward Niedermeyer points out, that “simply hollows out the firm even further.” With declining sales and the Swedish government dragging its feet on approving financing, the future looks precarious.
One wonders why they have put so much faith in rehashed cars like the 9-5 (right) when greener and more interesting vehicles like a diesel 9-4X could possibly save the game for them. The car was co-developed with Cadillac’s SRX, has lots of power (a 265-hp V6 is standard; a 300-hp turbo comes in the Aero version), and it looks good. Cost for the base car is to be $34,205. The Aero will set you back $48,835. How could the diesel cost more than that?
Bloomberg tells us:
Saab, which introduced the new 9-5 sedan last year and in the coming months plans to roll out the 9-4X crossover and 9-5 wagon, aims to sell 120,000 cars and become profitable by 2012. Its best year was in 2006, when it sold 133,000 autos.
There could be investors other than Antonov waiting in the wings, but isn’t it finally time for the Swedish government to get off the dime and approve his deal?
A lot of people still think there is investment value in Saab. Do you agree?