Back in May, I wrote a post entitled "Then Why Can’t They Sell Saabs?". It was a reply to Mark LaNeve’s Fastlane post about improved GM sales data accross most brands, though Saab was notably absent in the improvement figures. This begged the question about why Saabs weren’t selling, given that they’re a great product. My thoughts on that post about the 9-3:
In my opinion, these cars should be out of supply in the dealer’s yards. They should be creating a wind vortex as they run out of the showrooms with smiling owners at the wheel, the salesmen lying exhausted at having to service so many people in one given day.
This car is superb. Again, I haven’t read a bad review. I posted a review yesterday where the reviewer was genuinely concerned that the next custodians of the vehicle wouldn’t…..love it….like he had. And that was a Vector – imagine if he’d had the Aero.
Pro’s: there isn’t enough room to write them all.
Con’s: there are some cons with the 9-3??
Why isn’t it selling? That’s a question that better minds than mine will have to be left to answer. Maybe it’s underinvestment in advertising. Maybe it’s underinvestment in supporting infrastructure – a dealer access problem. I’ve heard complaints here and there that Saab dealers can be few and far between in some areas. I’ve also heard that once a customer gets to drive a Saab, they usually buy it. But they’ve got to get into it first. Given that the US is the land of convenience, this is obviously not going to play into Saab’s favour.
Feel free to go and read the entire post. Looking back, it’s not too bad.
Now, I’d like you to have a think about your local area…………..where is the nearest Audi dealership? Is it better placed than you local Saab dealer?
AutoIndustry in the UK have just published an article outlining the results of a study concerning different brands and their relative positions around the UK. The study looks at each brand’s image strength as well as the positioning of dealerships around the realm.
Audi came up trumps with a combined effectiveness ranking of 92%, compared with Saab’s paltry sub-75% result, which actually placed in the bottom 10, slightly worse than Chevrolet. Yes, Chevrolet. In the UK.
New research from the consumer demographics specialist CACI looks at the ability of each manufacturer’s UK dealer network to attract retail car buyers. Using a combination of the manufacturers’ brand strength and the location of the dealers, CACI has ranked the networks of all manufacturers with new retail sales of over 6,000 units per annum.
The top 10 holds few surprises given the brand strength of the German marques and the willingness of their dealers to invest in the best locations to reach large numbers of retail customers within their catchment areas, with Audi leading the way, even with a relatively small dealer network.
Given that Saab’s having its best year ever in the UK, it doesn’t take much to imagine how much better it could be doing with a little more strategic thinking about the future. Another post written in August concerned the rise of Audi as a serious competitor to BMW and Mercedes Benz, a mantle that Saab should have been positioned to take, one that was thwarted by a lack of investment and the cancellation of planned models around 5 years ago.
It seems that Audi not only got the model development right, they also got the strategic network right as well. Perhaps this is something for GM Europe to think about as they plan the years ahead.
Dealers, your comments are welcome…..