Proud Saab owner, sad Saab creditor

Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
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Autoliv CEO Jan Carlson is in a tough spot.

He's a native Swede, a proud owner of the new Saab 9-5 (he says it's a "fantastic" car) – and head of a supplier that's owed money from the struggling automaker.

Earlier this month, two unions representing Swedish workers filed a court petition to enter Saab into bankruptcy procedures. Saab owes its employees their August wages and owes suppliers, including Autoliv, about 150 million euros. The automaker applied for protection from creditors this month, was initially turned down but won its appeal, giving it more time to try to find a solution for its cash crisis.

Carlson says that Autoliv is not one of the suppliers putting pressure on Saab to pay. The amount Autoliv is owed is "modest" and the supplier has reserves in place to cover the shortfall, the CEO said.

When asked about his feelings on Saab's struggles Carlson said: "If they were not to make it, I would be the first one to say that is very sad."

He considers Saab a great brand with a great heritage and hopes it pulls through yet another near-death experience and emerges even stronger.

But as he said: "The fact is that the factory has been standing still since March. I think it's a long time for people to live in uncertainty. It has to come to some sort of conclusion at some point."

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