From the horses mouth (sorry Jan-Willem!)

Detroit Free Press writer Mark Phelan doesn’t mind Saabs at all.  He’s written a few positive articles this year already.  A few weeks ago he wrote an article that I missed decrying the poor recent sales of the 9-2x.  Some of you may remember that there were only 15 sold in October.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see this article, but it seems that Mark wrote it up as a big vote of disapproval for the model, rather than seeing it for what it was.

This prompted a reply from Jan-Willem Vester, communications guy for Saab USA:

We’d like to comment that the low sales numbers in recent months were mostly a result of limited product availability — not customer demand.

Earlier this year, we saw a significant increase in the popularity of the Saab 9-2X, with several months of consistently more than 1,000 sales per month. This almost completely depleted our stock of model year 2005 cars, while production of the 2006 model 9-2X did not start until late this fall.

So far, Saab has sold a total of almost 8,000 9-2X’s in the United States and Canada, which was generally in line with expectations. On average, the 9-2X attracts a younger customer to Saab, who tends to be very satisfied with his or her purchase.

With deliveries of the 9-2X at Saab dealerships now resuming, we expect sales to come back to normal levels soon.

It’ll be interesting to see what ‘normal levels’ turn out to be for the remainder of the 9-2x’s life cycle, eh?

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  1. Jan is right that Saab needs an entry level vehicle, something that will attract people who want to experience a Saab, but might not be ready to plop down $30K+.

    I also think that the 9-2X was the right idea in spirit. Something that is sporty and unique, not a Civic or Focus clone. Of course, I think we all agree that the execution of the 9-2X was poorly done — at least in terms of making it a Saab.

    A 9-2 done on a new platform with the standard amenities of a Saab and a sporty engine will do really well.

  2. Agree with everything except confused about the poorly done bit. Do you mean poorly done in terms of engineering or marketing?
    In engineering terms, the car looks & sounds like its a cracker. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to drive one.
    In marketing terms – well it feels a bit shallow to anyone passionate about Saab because we all know its a subaru in saab clothing. But how much does that really matter if the product is good? Nonetheless, you’re right about the spirit of the 92x – its got that in spades and that beacuse it came from another company dedicated to a vision and with its own distinctive style – Subaru.

    Allan, this is not a reference to you specifically but a general comment – Sometimes I wonder if we are not sounding like grumpy old german industrialists who think that the only Mercedes is an S class and all the rest are pale imitations.

    In the light of GMs overall state, I’m often amazed they are doing anything with Saab at all.


  3. Pete, I think it was poorly executed in that they didn’t complete the job. It’s too Suuby on the inside and few have found acceptance of it as a Saab for that reason. It’s not distinct enough from it’s source.

    Combine that with a pricing scheme that had people begging to know why it cost more than the Suuby and it was always going to be difficult to market.

    Allan’s comments next to be read in context, too. He recently traded his 9-2x in and got a new 2005 model 9-5 (a recent SOTW).

    I’d be very interested to see the 9-2x myself, but I tend to agree with Allan that a Saab developed 9-2 entry model will do much better numbers and be a better car for the money.

    Off topic: Pete, what’s the damage to the V6?

  4. SW & Allan, points well made with regards the 92x. Allan – I guess you would know about the 92x having owned one. I’ve seen it and thought it looked great but owning is the real proof.
    Anyway, Just wanted to add some balance to the story as it seems we often whinge and sometimes miss the positives.

    as for my little sled, the v6 has now got a fairly mashed lower front end ( the other car had a tow ball) which is hanging off to the left. Driveable but not pretty. Probably some bent supports under all the plastic too.
    Booked in for repairs already.
    Somewhat curious that the airbags didn’t go off. Still, it was a low speed bingle.
    Wife & daughter a little shaken but ok.


  5. Sorry to be the grimmeister but 8K 92 sales after the several million$ ad campaign in 2004 to the exclusion of the main products (93&5) has to be one of the biggest boners ever!

  6. PT-

    Don’t get me wrong, from the outside the car looked like a Saab and it handled like a Saab. It was when you got inside that it was very different. It is not just that the amenities, like the night driving button, radio controls on the steering wheel and the SID, were missing it was that the whole car was laid out wrong.

    Saab puts a lot of thought into laying out the cockpit around the driver, the 9-2X did not feel like any thought had been put into the way drivers drive.

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