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Saab warranties in limbo

No warranty: The Saab 9-5 and all other Saabs are without warranty cover after Saab Automobile filed for bankruptcy on Monday.

Warranty cover suspended on Saab cars as Swedish company awaits bankruptcy moves

Saab logo21 Dec 2011


MORE than 800 Saab car owners in Australia are without warranty protection after Saab Cars Australia (SCA) yesterday suspended manufacturer cover pending a decision by a Swedish bankruptcy administrator on the operations of the failed auto maker.

SCA managing director Stephen Nicholls said warranty claims were not being authorised on Saab cars, at least until the situation with the bankruptcy moves was clearer.

“They (Saab Automobile) have nominated an administrator to look after the company, but the court still has to approve that, so they are still really waiting,” he said.

“It is still a little bit in limbo for probably a couple of days.”

A three-year, 100,000km warranty was offered on new Saab cars sold here in the past three years, meaning up to 816 cars – 663 sold in 2009, 14 in 2010 and 139 so far in 2011 – are now exposed after Saab Automobile filed for bankruptcy in Sweden on Monday night after a rescue deal with Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile collapsed because General Motors refused to transfer technology licences.

Unlike the United States, where former Saab owner General Motors will pick up the tab for warranty claims up to the point in early 2010 when Saab was sold to Dutch niche sportscar maker Spyker, all Saab warranties in Australia are the responsibility of Saab Automobile after it did a deal with previous distributor GM Holden to take on the entire warranty responsibility, along with parts supply.

 center imageMr Nicholls said the future of warranty cover would depend on the attitude of the administrator when they came in.

“If we do get the white knight coming over the hill on the charger and they want to buy Saab as a going concern then they would have to reinstate it and then we are away,” he said.

“We are waiting to see what the administrator says, and then maybe we will have to look at an alternative.”

Asked what alternative could be available, he said: “I can’t really speculate too much. You are probably aware of what Rover did when they were in a similar situation.”

Rover sales in the UK ended up being covered by a third-party warranty insurance cover, with all the spare parts being sold to a private supplier.

So far, the Saab Cars Australia parts operation is unaffected by the parent company bankruptcy, as parts is set up independently.

Mr Nicholls said he had held a phone conference with the Australian dealers yesterday to give them the latest information.

“Obviously, everybody is somewhat unhappy about the way this is at the moment,” he said.

“So we are hopeful that we will be able to improve the situation in a couple of days.”

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