Saab restarted output on Friday morning after a production stop of almost two months due to a cash crunch, in time for a first visit by would-be Chinese partner Pang Da.
Saab was pushed to the brink of collapse as it ran out of cash to pay suppliers, halting production on April 5 and leaving Dutch owner Spyker Cars NV scrambling to line up new financing.
"Production has restarted. Saab will make 100 cars on Friday and will reach a normal level of production of 218 cars on Monday," Spyker chief executive Victor Muller told Reuters.
Pang Da, whose CEO Pang Qinghua was visiting the Trollhattan plant on Friday, has already provided Spyker with an advance payment of 30 million euros in exchange for Saab cars to be sold in China.
"This is the first time I am in Sweden and at the Saab factory," Pang was quoted as saying by local news agency TT during his visit at the Trollhattan plant.
"So far, I am very impressed."
Pang did not provide detail on how talks on approval by Chinese authorities were going, but said the government was very supportive of companies that wished to invest abroad.
Pang met Sweden's industry minister and the Debt Office on Thursday. Sweden has guaranteed a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to Saab, so has to agree to any shareholder changes, as does the EIB and former owner General Motors Co.
Victor Muller and Pang were both present to see the restart of production as the first two cars, a 9-5 Aero XWD and 9-3 convertible, rolled off the assembly line.
"This is a great day for our company and it is great to see the plant running again. We have gone through a rough patch in recent weeks, but Saab is back in action again,'' Muller said in a statement.
The automaker has been in intense negotiations with suppliers in recent days and said on Thursday agreements had been reached with a sufficient number to allow for a resumption of output from its plant in Trollhattan, in southwest Sweden.
Spyker said that as Saab's assembly line was restarted, the total number of outstanding orders worldwide for its Trollhattan factory amounted to over 6,500 cars. The total order bank, including Pang Da orders, was 8,100 cars.
"Given the complexity of re-establishing our supply chain there will most likely be some hiccups during this start-up phase, but we will work hard together with our suppliers to minimize any disruptions to production in the coming weeks," Saab vice president Gunnar Brunius said.
Spyker has chased a variety of solutions to resolve the cash crunch at Saab, which it bought last year from GM, but has had to wait for approvals from Swedish authorities and the European Investment Bank under the terms of an outstanding loan.
Chinese car distributor Pang Da is waiting for regulatory approval at home for its planned rescue of Saab in a deal worth up to 110 million euros ($153.7 million).
"All the approvals needed, included those from China, could take weeks and weeks. But we have no concerns. We will secure all the permits that are needed," Muller said.
Reuters contributed to this report