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Saab deliveries set to start

The production of the new Saab 9-5 Sport Combi may be delayed by "a month or two".

The Swedish factory is back in action again after months of protracted ownership issues.

Saab Cars Australia managing director Stephen Nicholls admits that sales have been "pretty slow".

"We're all very pleased that we're starting to get back to normal operation," he says.

"We've been trying to conduct business as usual, but of course some people are a bit hesitant until they see cars coming off the production line. It's been a difficult time but we had faith it would be sorted out."

"We're a real car company again."

Saab Automobile this week restarted production at its Trollhattan factory for the first time since April 6.

The daily production rate will be increased in coming weeks to meet worldwide orders of 6500 vehicles, including 1300 destined for China. The halt in production occurred while complex ownership and financial issues were sorted out with European and Chinese investors.

"There's not a magic bullet but a number of different solutions," Nicholls says.

He says the halt in production had not caused any supply problems, but it may delay the launch of the new 9-5 Sport Combi by "a month or two".

"Before the shutdown we had the stock to go through to July but we do have a few cars delayed until August," Nicholls says.

Saab Cars Australia has "pretty reasonable supplies" of the full range of 9-3 models (Sports Sedan, Sport Combi, Convertible and 9-3X SUV launched in March) and the 9-5 Sedan (Aero and Vector petrol and diesel) launched in April.

Saab Cars Australia is a fully owned factory operation which is taking over responsibilities from GM Holden.

"We are still in the process. There has been a prolonged handover," Nicholls says.

"They are still doing parts distribution and warranty processing, but we intend to take that into our house in the next month or two.

"We're working on the transition with our colleagues at Holden and it is being planned as we speak and will work pretty smoothly. I'm not aware of too many problems at the moment that will cause us too many sleepless nights."

"As far as the customer and dealers are concerned there is no change except address."

Saab has eight dealers in all states except Tasmania and up to 15 service outlets.

Only 17 Saab vehicles (six 9-3s and 11 9-5s) were sold last month for a total of 41 so far this year.

"We would like to be selling a few more, but news out of the factory in last six weeks or so has meant some people have held off on purchases," Nicholls says. "Now we're running normally we will re-contact those people and get them to buy a Saab."