A little more sales data

A little more information on the US sales data for August. All in all, there’s little to get from the numbers aside from distinct disappointment. As Young MC once said: “Break it down for me, fellas”

Saab 9-2x – 207 sales in August 2005 vs 226 in August 2004 vs 1272 in July 2005.
Saab 9-3 – 1508 sales in August 2005 vs 1833 in August 2004 vs 3522 in July 2005.
Saab 9-5 – 705 sales in August 2005 vs 866 in August 2004 vs 990 in July 2005.
Saab 9-7x – 306 sales in August 2005 vs 685 in July 2005.

Like I said, not much there but disappointment (EDIT: a few people have taken issue with this, and rightly so. See below and in comments for clarification). There may be some people holding off for the 9-3 SportCombi. Maybe not. This is my first time following these figures. Perhaps there’s some seasonal thing in the US that I don’t know about where the sales numbers in August fall quicker than a bride’s undies, but I’m leaning towards Robert Farago’s theory: that GM’s chickens are coming home to roost.

You get a terrific view from the top of a roller coaster– but there’s only one way to go. GM execs would have known the feeling at the beginning of August– if they were paying attention. They weren’t. Despite all the experts’ warnings, The General’s top brass were too busy high-fiving each other over the “success” of their Employee Discount for Everyone (EDFE) program, talking-up their plans to gently wean customers from discounts and incentives. Well hands in the air boys, the August sales figures are in…

(the debates over gas prices and the effects on SUV purchasing) draws attention away from the elephant in the room: sales brought forward by the EDFE. Every industry analyst worth his pocket protector has been saying that GM’s summer sales bonanza was the result of customers buying sooner rather than later. Well, it’s later.

I don’t always agree with Farago’s GM Deathwatch editorials, but it seems that there’s a definite congruence with discounted stock levels and sales. Witness the 9-2x. The massive rebates and the discount scheme led to relatively huge demand for the car in June and July, and now that stocks of manual 9-2x Aeros have dwindled, sales of the model have followed suit.

Pricing will also be an issue into the future. It seems hard to believe that people are going to accept a $26,000 price tag for a car that’s now percieved to be a $20,000 vehicle, no matter how good it is (and it is good, just read the reviews).

I’ll have more on this them later, maybe tomorrow.

Until then, have a good weekend.

UPDATE: In comments, Mark from Saab of Memphis writes:

The reason why last month was slow is becuase we don’t have any inventory…….last month we had no 9-7 , no 9-2, 1 9-3 sedan, 6 9-5’s . basically left over cars. Once the 2006 hit, we are rolling again.

Good to hear, and as one guy from Memphis used to say, “Thank you very much”

UPDATE 2

There’s always good stories in the comments here. Saab/GM would do well to hire many of the readers here and elsewhere in the Saabosphere on a contract basis. Today’s gem is from Allan:

I think they have cleaned out most of their 2005 inventory.

That being said, it sure would be nice if Saab NA would issue a press release to that effect — something that explains the numbers better. From my perspective, we didn’t sell a lot of Saabs in August because there weren’t that many to sell is a lot better than we didn’t sell a lot of Saabs in August because we suck.

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5 Comments

  1. The reason why last month was slow is becuase we don’t have any inventory.

    Mark-SAAB of Memphis

    ps , last month we had no 9-7 , no 9-2, 1 9-3 sedan, 6 9-5’s . basically left over cars. Once the 2006 hit, we are rolling again.

  2. First, why is it that we want to think that SAAB and Gm’s Problems are over,one month of record sales does not make a year, just one small battle in a war that renews ever year and has numerous battles 12 times each year, the plan was originally to decrease inventory, it worked, GM should be congratulated, but not the the effect of correcting Gm’s listing ship. And yes, it is only listing, some journalists want to write gm off, and that that is the way of the media, todays darling tomorrows fodder, I know, I used to do it. SAAB and GM could both be quite healthy again, but August sales will give us little or no indicationn of their health. They are but one battle, of a multi year( decade, generation) War. Lets remember that, it took years for both GM and SAAB to get where they are, and more then likely it will take years for them to get where they are going, up or down.

  3. I must agree with Mark on this one, surely this is because of a genuine lack of inventory out there because of big sales in June and July.

    I dont think we need to read into these numbers too much.

    The GM Discount was a wonderful way to get the SAAB name out there and I am certain more than a few folks who were considering an Audi or BMW were swayed into a SAAB by very attractive pricing – plus the fact SAAB makes great drivers cars.

    Short term pain for long term gain I always say and this is a start.

    ZIPPY

  4. Hi all,

    I think the whole truth is somewhere in between the two. I’m pleased that Mark has confirmed the low-inventory theory. I’ve read elsewhere in the alst 5 minutes that stocks are indeed quite low for the in-demand vehicles.

    But I also think Farago has a point. GM’s sales drop in August occurred in a month where the other 2 of the big 3 posted a models loss and a more modest gain, and in a month where the Asians posted very good year-on-year gains.

    Like I said, it’s somewhere in the middle. I’m still feeling good for the future with models coming online in the remainder of 2005 and in 2006.

  5. I think Mark is right — actually, I know he is. i went to pick up my tag this weekend from the dealership that I got my 9-2x. When I bought the car they had 70+ 9-2x on the lot. And at that level I had trouble finding one with leather, sunroof and the sports package (part of the reason I went for the Linear vs. Arc was to get the upgraded interior).

    When I went back yesterday all I was were Mazdas and VWs in the lot. There were a couple of 93s and 95s, but the Saab lot pretty much looked barren.

    I think they have cleaned out most of their 2005 inventory.

    That being said, it sure would be nice if Saab NA would issue a press release to that effect — something that explains the numbers better. From my perspective, we didn’t sell a lot of Saabs in August because there weren’t that many to sell is a lot better than we didn’t sell a lot of Saabs in August because we suck ;).

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