The two part-Swedish, part-American automakers Volvo and Saab are returning to life after a couple of crisis years when it looked like their last chapter was being written. Saab Automobile’s production lines in Trollhattan in western Sweden is now up and running again, and the Chinese automaker Geely Automobile Holdings just sealed the deal with Ford Motor and the Swedish government, making Volvo a China-owned car company with production and development done in Gothenburg.
“We feel safe. There are opportunities for me and my members in this deal with Geely,” ” Soren Carlsson, head of the white-collar union Unionen, according to a report by Johan Anderberg for the Dow Jones Newswires. “But the problems won’t end as soon as Volvo and leave Detroit. Questions still remain about the Swedish brands’ new owners,” he writes.
The small Dutch automaker Spyker Cars must now prove that it can make Saab profitable producing only 50,000-60,000 cars a year. For Volvo, the long-term question is not so much the ability of Geely to produce at profit as how long the jobs will stay in Sweden. Volvo had over 75,000 employees in Sweden before the global financial crash hit in the Autumn of 2008. 24,000 of those jobs are gone today.