It is now over ten years since Saab went into bankruptcy. There are still many Saabs on the road, at least in Sweden. Many used as daily drivers. The reason this is possible is because of Orio (formally Saab Automobile Parts), which supplies spare parts to our Saabs.
At the time of bankruptcy, the Swedish Government repaid a large loan taken by Saab to the European Investment Bank. Saab Parts was taken as collateral. Orio is not doing very well. According to Teknikens Värld, Orio sales has droppen by 50% the last five years. Further, Teknikens Värld speculates that the life time guarantee on original Saab parts may have accelerated the problem.
The Swedish state is loosing money on Orio and have asked the parliament to get authority to sell Orio. This has already been granted, but now the Government also want to explore other paths, like liquidating the company. According to Swedish Radio, the Minister of Trade and Industry Ibrahim Baylan would like to explore many different paths in order to save as much as possible of the credit loss.
The following statement is quoted from Auto Motor and Sport:
“Gustaf Ljunggren, CEO of Orio, says in a press release that the wording “liquidate through liquidation” is misleading. He believes that the government also wants the opportunity to broaden its operations to achieve profitability. In short, the government wants more options for action. “
A few adds back, I wrote a story about being a Car Enthusiast. When I think about it, the availability of parts and Service Workshops are of big importance. Daily drivers require parts and service. You don’t want to wait for weeks in order to get hold of a used part or a NOS-part (New Original Stock), when you rely on your car in everyday life. That is what Car Enthusiasts do.
I really hope things will turn out for the better for Orio. They have made a splendid job keeping Saabs on the roads. From time to time people have been annoyed about specific parts being unavailable for long times. Still, Orio has come through in most of the cases. Remember that it is very hard to get a fair price for parts with a very small volume. Some of the manufacturers are not around anymore. Orio has worked with what they have and produced new solutions by small means. One example is to fit the auto-dimming dimming rearview side mirrors from Saab 9-3 in the 9-5 as I wrote about in this add many years ago.
It would be a shame if Saab would to be passed into history as an Enthusiast Car, at least this soon. Sweden is working hard to decrease our carbon dioxide footprint. Many false steps have been taken in this pursuit. One of the most stupid was to classify diesel engines as environmental friendly and at the same time stop the support for bio-ethanol. This is something I think many politicians are ashamed of today. Many of the remaining Saabs can be fueled by bio-ethanol.
Lately, the positive effects of driving on ethanol has been re-discovered, but there are very few new vehicles available. This is very much because of political decisions. If we keep Saabs on the road, we keep driving on environment friendly fuel. Later this year all standard petrol in Sweden will have 10% bio-ethanol mixed-in. Why not keep driving on 85% as well? Many of us Saab owners can still do that!
Let’s hope that Orio finds a way to become profitable in a way that suits both the Swedish government and the Saab owners around the world!