‘Saab’s future in jeopardy’: auto expert

'Saab's future in jeopardy': auto expert
A prominent auto industry expert has warned that, based on current figures, Saab Automobile won’t likely survive more than three more years.

“You can’t survive at these levels,” Christer Karlsson, a professor of industrial production at Copenhagen Business School in Copenhagen, told the TT news agency.

At the start of 2010, Saab leadership projected the company would sell 60,000 vehicles during the year.

But after two major downward revisions, first to 45,000 in August, and then to 30,000-35,000 in October, Saab’s final result for 2010 was 32,048 vehicles sold – in line with updated projections, but just over half of what the automaker hoped to sell at the start of the year.

According to the CEO of Saab owner Spyker Cars, Victor Muller, one of last year’s greatest challenges was replenishing inventories at dealers around the world. Another reason for the low sales figures is that deliveries didn’t ramp up to desired levels until the third quarter.

According to Karlsson, Saab’s future looks bleak and there’s no way of knowing whether the company may be viable without seeing Saab’s business plan.

“But these are sustainable sales figures in the long run. You can’t survive at these levels and Saab hasn’t even reached established goals,” he said.

“Saab is making it now thanks to selling tools and the like, but in the current structure they have no way to live to see the next generation of cars.”

Karlsson warned that Saab’s future looks uncertain at best, warning it’s only a matter time until the company meets with a day of reckoning.

“In the best case, it may drag on for up to three years. But maybe two years. Saab doesn’t have the resources to develop any new generation of products; that costs several billion kronor,” said Karlsson.

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