The light at the end of the tunnel gets dimmer for Saab with every passing day. Despite a series of global investors sinking money into Swedish Auto, Saab’s parent, there have been no indications that Saab will restart production at the end of August as planned. You may recall that Saab shut down production last April, when suppliers cancelled deliveries due to non-payment of invoices. Since then, Saab’s raised a boatload of cash by selling cars to Chinese distributors, selling off real-estate holdings and even selling shares of common stock on two separate occasions.
Whether or not it’s enough to solve the automaker’s financial woes has yet to be seen, but this much is clear: Saab is pulling out of the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, in order to concentrate on the business of restarting production. Saab admits that their absence in Frankfurt will be a glaring one, but feels that it’s better to focus their resources on restarting the Trollhatten assembly line than on exhibiting new vehicles in Germany. As global auto shows go, Frankfurt is big but not the biggest, so Saab can always make up lost ground by exhibiting at the Tokyo Motor Show, the European Motor Show or the North American International Auto Show, all of which follow Frankfurt on the calendar.
The next four months are critical for Saab. If the automaker can reach agreements with suppliers, continue to raise cash and successfully restart production, they may one day look back on 2011 as a bad dream. On the other hand, if they’re not building cars by the end of September, I suspect they may be done for.