Memo to the Swedish customs people, or any other Swedish government types who plan on screwing Saab over – can you at least do it early in the morning so I can cover it here?
An hour after I went to bed last night, news broke that Saab had to halt production due to a parts supply problem stemming from Swedish Customs not releasing any parts due to outstanding customs duties owed to them.
A report from the GP says thus:
When Saab canceled the payments due to reorganization process, the Swedish Customs stopped all shipments from warehouses in Trollhättan and Nyköping. In stocks are goods from suppliers outside the EU area, as well as cars for export outside the EU.
Swedish Customs confirms that supply will be closed for as long as Saab does not pay. According to Hans Ohlsson at the Swedish Customs, Saab owes them substantial sums.
The only way it can be solved is if someone (the shipping company, for example) steps in and pay the money, and then demands that money from Saab. One company, Schenker, stopped all shipments to Saab last Friday, but they started shipping again on Monday.
They have taken goods as pledge for unpaid invoices. They will not say how much, but claims they have enough to cover the claims.
Saab are in continuous talks with GM about the situation and expects to solve it soon. Gunner Brunius, head of production at Saab, says that production was stopped on Wednesday. They could build 40 cars that day before they ran out of material. He thinks they can get going again early Thursday morning. Saab has about 670 different suppliers.
And The Local added the following, which quite frankly, pisses me off:
According to Ohlsson (from Swedish Customs), Saab now has the option of either finding the money somewhere or finding somebody who will pay the debt on their behalf.
“They would have to pay all of Saab’s credit. Saab is not getting a penny of credit from us,” he said.
If that’s been translated correctly and in context, then that’s a pretty aggressive attitude from a government agency, when that particular government is supposed to be engaged in talks to help the company concerned.
As Turbin noted in comments, the extension of a period of credit for such transactions is normal business practice. For Saab to be cut off by the government in these circumstances shines a pretty poor light on the attitude being shown towards Saab’s efforts to reorganise.
Saab and GM are apparently working to fix the problem so that the goods can be released and production can recommence tomorrow. This was obviously an administrative bungle during a pretty turbulent time. To have it treated so aggressively, causing so much negative publicity during what is already a time of distress, is just downright poor form.
If the Swedish government are genuine in their desire to help Saab (albeit that help not extending to GM) then I hope someone at Maud’s Enterprise Ministry has called these Customs guys and told them to pull their heads in. Then again, if the cancellation of credit is at Maud’s request…..
I hope all these news agencies run stories again tomorrow stating that the issue has been resolved and that production is underway again.
I won’t hold my breath, though.
Thanks to all for the many emails I got about this one, and to ctm for the GP translation