Saab production stops as NEVS encounters financial trouble

NEVS Saab 9-3

The Saab story really is turning into a sob story.

The quirky Swedish carmaker was cast off during General Motors’ bankruptcy crisis, only to collapse under the stewardship of Dutch carmaker Spyker.

The remains of Saab were then purchased by an Asian investor group that created National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), which restarted production at the company’s main plant in Trollhattan late last year. All is well, yes?

Nope. NEVS announced that it is reducing its workforce and temporarily stopping production of the 9-3, which was trickling along at just six units per day. Autoblog reports that the production stop will last four weeks.

In a press release, the company said it was experiencing cash-flow problems due to the abdication of shareholder Qingbo Investment Co. Ltd.

National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., NEVS’ main owner, has decided to become the sole financier of the company, but it hasn’t been able to come up with cash to cover operations quickly enough.

However, it’s not all bad news. NEVS said it has signed a “frame agreement” with a major carmaker to further development of the Phoenix platform – which was supposed to form the basis of Saab’s first post-GM models before the company imploded.

NEVS will probably need help from a larger partner to keep development costs in check. It worked pretty well for Subaru and Toyota (see BRZ/FR-S), although Saab’s zombified nature and NEVS’ ambitious plan to build electric cars may make this case a bit more complicated.

So Saab isn’t dead yet, but it’s not showing much life either.