THE future of car maker Saab was in doubt today putting thousands of British jobs at risk.
The Swedish firm filed for bankruptcy protection to safeguard it from its creditors while it attempts a last-minute restructuring plan.
It has more than 80 dealerships in the UK employing 3,000 staff and its demise highlights the crisis crippling the motor industry as recession deepens.
Figures today show car production in Britain slumped by almost 60 per cent last month as demand collapsed.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said only 61,404 cars were made in January, down 58.7 per cent on the same month last year. Five out of six cars made here were allocated for export as domestic demand plummeted.
Unions today called for government support.
Tony Woodley of Unite said: “The alarm bells are ringing loud and clear. This is simply the greatest crisis to face our car industry. Government has attempted to get the banks to do their job and support business, but money is simply not getting through. Good businesses are now on their knees.
“We need action now to save our industry. Our companies and skills are world class, and manufacturing is still an engine of our economy, but unless urgent steps are taken, jobs will be lost in their thousands for good, and the people and communities of this country will suffer for generations.”
Car makers around the country have closed factories, cut production, and slashed thousands of jobs in recent weeks.
Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley and Toyota have all announced job cuts or production reductions and workers at Vauxhall’s UK plants face an uncertain future after parent company General Motors announced 47,000 job cuts worldwide.
Saab managing director Jan Ake Jonsson said the reorganisation was “the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment”.
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