I’d like to echo Bob’s Lutz’s recent thoughts, but from a Saab perspective (which unfortunately doesn’t get a run in his recent post at Fastlane). To quote his Lutzness:
Every so often, we all have to do a bit of a sense check, just to make sure that the sun will indeed rise tomorrow. And, amidst all of the gloom and doom surrounding GM lately, I’d like to give yet another alternative viewpoint.
No, it’s not all bad; indeed, I’m seeing some good signs.
Well Bob, here at Trollhattan, so are we. So a snapshot of life in Saabland is in order.
US sales are down in 2005, but sales in the UK are booming on the strength of the 9-3 convertible and the TiD engine options. Perhaps there’s something in the UK marketing and dealer positioning that could be learned on the other side of the Atlantic. They love the 9-3 SS in Britain, and everyone that gets one in the US seems to love it too, it’s just that not enough people get to drive them.
The 9-2x seems to be gathering a little more momentum. Sales data that I hear on BB’s around the traps indicates that numbers are creeping up, albeit slowly. Recent reviews have been nothing other than positive about the car, as have the impressions left by 9-2x owners, and as I read on another blog this morning "For now, the most complete Impreza WRX ever produced is available at your Saab dealership"
The 9-3 SportCombi is on it’s way. The webspace is up and the e-brochures are out there. There’s a real buzz surrounding this vehicle and whilst it will still be a little while away, I can’t wait to get my hands on a 2.8 Aero for a test spin.
The 9-7x experiment will begin shortly. The scepticism surrounding this model overlooks the fact that the Saab makeover of the 9-2x has proved to be a worthwhile exercise. With the 9-7x, it’s an even more thorough job. We’ll await the test drives with anticipation.
For those that like to search these things out, there’s also a little bit of Saab Motorsport about to get underway. I’ll be producing a feature on Targa Tasmania, one of the world’s premier tarmac rallies, in the next week. In addition to this, Per Eklund will get the 2005 European RallyCross season underway next month with his new 9-3 SS Aero rally car.
I’m a believer that the future is looking brighter for my favourite marque. New models in the showrooms and new models on the way. There’s plenty I’d still like to see, like improved dealership access and a definite financial shot in the marketing budget here in Australia.
But improvement is improvement, and for all the GM bashing I get into here from time to time, things are indeed looking brighter.