Sweden-based Saab Automobile plans to reduce its workforce by 200 employees or about one-eighth of its current staff, according to report from Reuters citing a union official. Hakan Skott, a union representative at Saab, told the news site that the move was expected after the company's new owner, Dutch supercar maker Spyker, cut the firm's sales target from 60,000 units in February, to 45,000 a few months later and finally to just 30,000 cars at end of October.
"I'm not exactly surprised [about the layoffs]. We reduced our sales forecast just a couple of weeks ago and there is a decline in sales every year around Christmas and at the end of the year," Skott said. "I'm sure that by February-March we will see an upward trend and people will buy cars again," he added.
Saab has said in the past that it needs to sell around 80,000 cars per year to break even.
On Friday, Swedish business daily Dagens Industri quoted Spyker's CEO Victor Muller as saying, "There is absolutely no reason to worry. Our plans for the future still stand. Next year, we will build 80,000 cars".
As for the staff being laid, Muller told the newspaper that they were temporary employees. "You take them aboard when you need them and when they are not needed, they are not on board."