Saab bonuses upheld despite crisis

Despite the ongoing crisis surrounding Saab no action will be taken over payouts and bonuses paid to shareholders, following a government audit.

Saab bonuses upheld despite crisis

Dagens Industri reports that the stricken carmaker paid out some 40 million kronor last year to its mother company Spyker as the the company struggled to stay afloat. However the payments, including chairman Victor Muller’s four million kronor salary were not deemed excessive, the audit concluded.

Meanwhile as the fight for survival goes on, the companies involved in the purchase of Saab’s factories may have the chance to take over the carmaker’s property company for nothing in the case of an eventual bankruptcy, the same paper reveals.

Several companies, including Hemfosa and Paulssonsfären bought shares in Saab’s property portfolio in July, which was seen as a potential lifesaving source of income for the carmaker.

The consortium paid some 230 million kronor for about 50% of the shares. What happens to the shares in the event of Saab’s bankruptcy remains unclear, but one possibility is that the consortium would be able to pick up all the shares for what would amount to a fraction of the current value.

Meanwhile, on a lighter note, bloggers on a site dedicated to Saab enthusiasts and owners have organised a huge party and convoy on October 1st to celebrate the car and the company. Bloggers on report that interest has been huge in the event which is set to take place in Trollhättan.

”There are organized convoys from large parts of Europe” blogger Tim Rokka told Radio station P4, with visitors expected from as far away as the U.S and Canada.

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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.