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  • Autoblog talks to Saab NA President and COO Tim Colbeck after his first day


    While in Washington D.C. for the 2012 Saab 9-4X launch, we had dinner next to Victor Muller, then spoke to the newly announced captain of Saab's North American ship, Tim Colbeck, who actually fills the dual roles of president and COO - at the end of his first day on the job. Muller started the evening by talking about the most recent troubles, saying of the production stoppage, "It was all my fault."

    "Saab was really a General Motors subsidiary - GM financing, GM terms and conditions, GM suppliers, and things can start to come apart when you're independent. Sometimes you have to tell suppliers it's not going to be the way it was."

    Muller says a single supplier told Saab that "if we didn't pay, he wasn't going to open his truck that day," and Muller "called his bluff." The supplier was a man of his word, wouldn't deliver the parts, and the lack of those particular components caused a production stoppage of two hours, which Muller says is "normal elsewhere, but not in Sweden."

    To hear Muller tell it, it might not have been such a problem if the Swedish media, which he accuses of being Saab bashers, hadn't turned it into a sensational story. "Within two hours of the stoppage," he said, "we didn't have one supplier with problems, we had 92 suppliers with problems" as Saab experienced a "run on the bank."

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