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”
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.