Swedish Summer Sales

From this part of the world, miles away from everywhere, it’s easy to forget that Sweden is still one of the most important sales markets for Saab.

The following, from The Local, gives a little insight into the declining sales seen by both Swedish brands this summer. It’s good news and bad news all rolled into one.

New car sales in Sweden have increased this summer. But the Swedish print media is at odds on whether it’s good news for Swedish brands Volvo and Saab. In fact, they couldn’t even agree on whether this summer has been sunny or rainy.

The Association of Automobiles, Bil Sweden, released figures reporting a 2.9 per cent increase of newly registered privately owned cars in July. During the first seven months of 2005 154,000 new cars have been registered. That is a 1.4 percent rise compared with figures from this time last year.

News agency TT and SvD split from there in their interpretation of those figures. Göteborg’s Posten ran TT’s article with the headline “Continued downward trend for Swedish cars,” while SvD hailed Volvo and Saab as the people’s choice.

“The auto market strengthened in July despite the sunny summer weather around Sweden which drew customers to the beach,” reported TT. Bil Sweden’s statistics showed that sales of both Volvo and Saab declinded by nine percent in July while many rivals increased sales.

Svenska Dagbladet, however, chose to look on the bright side. While conceding that sales of the two Swedish brands were down, the paper insiste“Volvo or Saab are what counts when Swedes buy a car. And this year’s rainy summer has sparked automobile sales.”

The Volve V/C70 topped the sales chart last month as it did in July last year.

Saab Sweden’s CEO, Bengt Nilemo, is optimistic. He explained that the sales slump is due to anticipation of the new models being launched after the holidays.

“Assembly workers in Trollhättan will have their hands full when production of the 9-3 Sport wagon and the 9-5 BioPower begin late August. There is a backlog of orders and we are just as anxious as our customers that the wheels will be set in motion this autumn.”

Doubts about car sales were not reflected in the commercial vehicle sector: sales of heavy and light-weight trucks increased in July. SvD pointed out that Volvo and Scania remain the overwhelming market leaders for heavy commercial vehicles.

Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius

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