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Saab Australia hits the skids

End of the road: Saab Australia has been placed in voluntary administration, but parts supply is assured for now.

Administrator promises Australian Saab owners will have access to parts supply

Saab logo8 Jan 2013

SAAB owners have been assured they will still be able to get parts in the “short-to-medium term” for their vehicles, despite the collapse of Saab Australia after an unsuccessful attempt to sell the importer to a third party in Sweden.

Saab Australia was placed in voluntary administration on January 2, resulting in the closure of the company’s Port Melbourne office with the loss of six jobs.

Administrators Ferrier Hodgson have been given the job of settling the affairs of the company, which fundamentally became a parts supply operation after the collapse of Saab car production and bankruptcy of Saab Automobile in Sweden in 2011.

Ferrier Hodgson partner Stewart McCallum said there was unlikely to be any immediate impact on the owners of Saab vehicles, as workshops will continue to be supplied with parts for repairs.

“Saab drivers can be confident their vehicles will be kept on the road and they should have no problems accessing parts over the short to medium term,” he said.

“Once we have a better understanding of the level of interest in the business we will be in a position to post a longer-term view.

“With regard to warranties, we are working with the dealers around Australia to minimise any potential impact for Saab owners.” Mr McCallum said the administrators would now focus on selling the remaining vehicles and “significant inventory of parts to one or more interested parties”.

He said the administrators would work with the bankruptcy trustees of Saab Australia’s parent in Sweden as part of that sale process.

Mr McCallum said the collapse came about after unsuccessful attempts to sell Saab Australia to a third party in Sweden.

“Unfortunately, those negotiations broke down prior to Christmas, which coincided with the parent entity demanding repayment of all outstanding amounts owed by Saab Australia, which it could not do.

“This resulted in the director placing the company into voluntary administration.” Saab Cars Australia was a wholly owned subsidiary of Saab Automobile NV, and was headed by managing director Stephen Nicholls – a long-time employee of Saab.

The problems for Saab started when owner General Motors decided to get rid of its Swedish company at the height of the global financial crisis, selling to Dutch sportscar-maker Spyker NV in 2010.

However, GM refused to allow the new-look Saab use its intellectual property, which skittled any chance of finding suitable suitors to prop up the ailing company.

Last August, Saab Automobile and Spyker NV filed a $US3 billion ($A2.8 billion) lawsuit against GM, accusing the American giant of “unlawful actions”.

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