Suppliers lose patience with Saab

The Saab saga took yet another new twist on Friday when several suppliers to the carmaker warned staff of possible redundancies.

Suppliers lose patience with Saab

With Saab and Chinese firm Hawtai attempting to resume talks in the hope of resurrecting a deal, suppliers DHL and the IAC have warned their staff of the impending job cuts, while a third supplier Semcon, which has around 60 engineers at Saab, has withdrawn its staff and moved them on to other projects.

“It looked promising with Hawtai, but now that there is no contract, we cannot have people there that we are not getting paid for,” said Semcon’s CEO Kjell Nilsson.

Meanwhile, Svenska Dagbladet reports that they have seen an e-mail in which the Chinese automaker Youngman Automobile was prepared to pay some 200-300 million Euros as late as the end of April in cash, as an initial investment in Saab.

Daily business newpaper Dagens Industri has also pointed to the Chinese carmaker as a possible solution, although a spokesperson for Youngman said on Friday that they were unaware of any talks with Saab so far.

Despite the setback during the week, Saab Chairman Victor Muller has not yet given up hope of a deal with Hawtai. The Chinese company said that the proposed agreement broke down because of commercial and economic factors, not a lack of approvals from the government and that the interest is still there.

Finding a way to cooperate with the Saab is a top priority for Hawtai, according to a press release.

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VW Scandal: France to launch ‘in-depth’ probe

Update: France's Environment Minister Segolene Royal on Tuesday announced an "in-depth" investigation after Volkswagen admitted millions of cars were fitted with software that secretly thwarts pollution tests in the US.

VW Scandal: France to launch 'in-depth' probe
"This is not a minor subject, it's not about speed or the quality of leather," said the French finance minister of the VW scandal. Photo: AFP

Royal also asked French manufacturers to “ensure that such schemes are not taking place in France.”

Her announcement came after Michel Sapin on Tuesday morning told French radio that in order to “reassure” the public, it seemed “necessary” to carry out checks on cars manufactured by other European carmakers.

“We are in a European market, with European rules that need to be respected,” Sapin told Europe 1 radio.

“Even if it's just to reassure people, it seems necessary to me that (checks should be carried out) also on French carmakers,” he said, adding he had no “particular reason” to suspect wrongdoing.

According to US authorities, VW admitted that it had equipped about 482,000 cars in the United States with sophisticated software that covertly turns off pollution controls when the car is being driven and turns them on only when it detects that the car is undergoing an emissions test.

With the so-called “defeat device” deactivated, the car can spew pollutant gases into the air, including nitrogen oxide in amounts as much as 40 percent higher than emissions standards, said the US Environmental Protection Agency.

“This is not a minor subject, it's not about speed or the quality of leather,” stressed Sapin.

“What we are dealing with is making sure people avoid being poisoned by pollution,” said the minister.

German authorities have already announced an investigation into whether Volkswagen or other carmakers are doing anything similar in Germany or Europe.