DETROIT: Saab Cars North America's (SCNA) communications team is working to explain that it is business as usual for its division of Saab, while its parent company Saab Automobile filed and failed to persuade a Swedish court to grant it protection from creditors.
Michele Tinson, director of communications for SCNA, spoke candidly with PRWeek via email, following the court's rejection September 8. The filing includes Saab Automobile subsidiaries Saab Automobile Powertrain, and Saab Automobile Tools, but will not impact the automaker's North American operations, according to Tinson.
"SCNA recognizes that communication is key during our parent company's short-term financial challenges," she wrote. "Therefore, we are utilizing a number of tactics to keep all of our constituents informed with facts. All mediums are being utilized - electronic, social and through media relationships. Face-to-face, live communications are also an important tactic we like to use."Last year, Spkyer Cars, now known as Swedish Automobile, acquired Saab Automobile from General Motors, which had owned the company since 1990. Saab Automobile reportedly owes $210 million to it suppliers.
SCNA's employees, dealers, and vendors were kept informed via corporate press releases, and letters from Tim Colbeck, SCNA president and COO, following the initial filing, and through the subsequent court decision. The company also invited them to participate in conference calls with the automaker's executive leadership team.
Meanwhile, customer communications focused on frequent updates on SaabUSA.com, as well as voice messages. The team posted a statement to its website September 7 to further clarify: "This filing does not include SCNA and our operations continue as normal. Our intention at SCNA is to continue to support our customers with premium customer service well into the future."
The automaker currently does not work with a PR agency in the US, "due to our focus to conserve budgets for our anticipated resurgence into the marketplace," Tinson added.
"We are committed to keeping lines of communication open for all of our audiences," she continued. "Typically, companies may prefer to 'lay-low' while facing such a tumultuous time. I commend the Saab leadership team for recognizing the importance of communications and the value in communicating facts to all constituents through this challenging process."