Biopower success

Good news just spotted on the Saab 9-5 biopower. The Local, Sweden’s news in English, is reporting that approximately 10% of vehicles sold in Sweden during September were ‘green cars’, led by the new Saab 9-5 Biopower model, which runs on e85.

Statistics from carmakers and importers’ organisation Bil Sweden show that 2,402 such cars were sold in Sweden last month, making it the best month for “green” car sales ever recorded.

Large financial advantages available to those who buy environmentally-friendly cars is probably behind the figure, thinks Ulf Perbo, Bil Sweden’s deputy CEO.

“Green cars are exempt from congestion charging, can park free in many towns and are taxed at a lower rate,” he says.

“It is economical to drive green cars these days, particularly if it’s a company car.”

“Another reason is that the model range has started to broaden. Volvo is launching an ethanol car next year.”…..

…..Most of the green cars sold last month were the new ethanol-fueled Saab 9-5 Bio Power. The General Motors-owned Swedish carmaker sold 1,326 of the cars in September. The Ford Focus Flexifuel, also etahnol-powered, sold 603 models last moth, and the hybrid Toyota Prius sold 153. Volvo’s V70 Bi-Fuel sold 146.

Meanwhile, in Detroit, Bob Lutz is busy once again extolling the virtues of GM’s new full-size trucks. He does manage some real sense later on, however:

At the Detroit auto show, you’ll see the first of our new family of midsize crossovers. And I think you’ll agree when you see it, it takes another big step toward top-of-segment status.

I guess late to the party (again) is better than not arriving at all. And to think they could have had an entry into this segment 3 years or so ago with the 9-3x.

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  1. sorry if this is offensive but american car company executives wearing gold ties bleating on about “trucks” in our current consumer/political/energy/environmentally concious environment is now beyond silly and getting to the point of insanity. Pretty close to commercial hara kiri.
    I guess bob has to sell what hes been given and GM haven’t given him much. Then again, isn’t he their product man?

    ps – I’m allowed to take potshots at americans – i am one.

  2. PT, I’m thinking that there’s much more profit margin in a truck/SUV than there is in a passenger car. At least here in the U.S. even though gas prices are higher than usual there’s still a HUGE market for trucks and SUVs. Some people consider themselves “truck people” and wouldn’t ever consider a “pansy-ass” crossover or station wagon. It’s a cultural thing. GM is right in making what the customer will buy. Nobody’s PUSHING trucks at people. The market’s there and GM’s just filling a demand. I think that society as a whole would be better off leaving trucks and SUVs to companies and construction firms who actually NEED these type of vehicles, but you can’t make a law that says the common citizen can’t be an idiot and buy a truck or SUV they don’t need just as a status symbol.

    From what I understand in other countries it’s a status symbol to own a “yank tank”. There’s some radio DJ in Britain who owns a couple of big American SUVs. Hummers sell all over the world. Apparently by wasting resources and showing a general disregard for the wellbeing of society as a whole you get positive attention…

  3. Point well made 1985 gripen. I know/understand what you are saying. My comments above are also slightly the symptom of posting at the end of a long day and feeling a degree of frustration that this IS the world we live in; like it or not. Bob just seemed to rub it in my face with that particular blog post.
    That said, I think the tide is turning beneath GMs feet in a global sense. What Americans ( worlds biggest market) will buy is one thing…what the rest of us are up to is another.

    A good point about profit margin in SUVs but….if we assume this margin is there, why is GM constantly crying poor and running at a loss? Or is it just that all their cars are that much of a drain/lossleader?

    Now if only all those trucks could run on ethanol…..

  4. PT, although I think that GM can do a better job of coming up with new products, I think the main reason for their financial woes isn’t necessarily product sales. It’s labor costs and benefits obligations that appears to be killing them.

    They can sell a BILLION cars this quarter, but if they’re taking a couple of grand loss on each one (due to pension and benefits obligations) they’re going to go bankrupt in a hurry.

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