October sales (or lack thereof)

October sales figures for the US market are in and as predicted, they were baaaaaaaaad.

For GM, they were 23% down on October 2004. Ouch!!

Saab suffered from a double whammy during October, with low stock levels after the big sales months in July/August adding to the post-Employee-Discount-Scheme hangover.

Saab sold just 1,340 vehicles in October 2005, down from 3,371 in the same month last year. Saab sold 1,983 vehicles in September, so October also represents a month to month fall of 643 vehicles. Overall, sales for 2005 are still up 3.7%.

Individual models:

9-2x: 15 vehicles sold vs 334 in October 2004
9-3: 1,051 vehicles sold vs 2,356 in October 2004
9-5: 202 vehicles sold vs 681 in October 2004
9-7x: 72 vehicles sold vs 0 in October 2004

Wow. Only 15 9-2x’s sold in October. You wouldn’t even need to take both socks off to count them!!

Like I said, these numbers are reflective of the fact that dealer stocks are waaaaaay down, still, after the Employee Discount Scheme effectively cleared the sales yards of certain models, especially the 9-2x. Here’s hoping that supplies build up again and soon so that Saab can indeed post it’s year-end results in the black (see story below).

ADDENDUM: Just in from reader, Alan H:

Last Saturday I was at the local dealer (who is paired with Audi at the moment) to pick up a headlight relay for the ’97 900 and I noticed they had no Saabs in the showroom at all (only Audis) and only a couple of 9-3s out front. I thought it was very odd but, duh!, it’s the low inventory problem! If they don’t get some inventory soon it’s gonna be a ghost town there after Audi moves to their new store at the end of the month.

You can’t sell what you don’t have…

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  1. I traded in my 4-month old 9-2X for a 9-5 this weekend. There were no 9-2s on the lot and only a handful of 9-3s. The dealer’s stock was so low that I had to buy the showroom 9-5. They wheeled it out while I was working on my financing.

    On the other hand, they knocked more than $10k off the sticker price — it was already $8k down and they came down another $2k.

    On top of that, they gave me a really good price for my 9-2X. I got within $3k of what I paid for it.

    I am going to miss the AWD, but it is good to be back in a REAL Saab.

  2. ZIPPY, I think it’s a combination, but yes, the discount program is at the centre of it. Firstly, it brought sales forward ina big, big way. Second, it drained the showrooms of vehicles and like Alan H said, you can’t sell what you don’t have. The 2006 9-2x’s aren’t due for some time yet and 9-7x production is still slow.

    3 months ago, excess inventory was the problem, now it’s no-inventory that seems to be the kicker! Bad luck or bad planning?

  3. Swade — it has to be bad planning, with a tinge of complete and utter incompetance. Think about it. From January through September of this year, Chevy sold 3.35 million vehicles worldwide. If they got a boost of an extra 100,000 or so because of the employee discount program it was easy for them to absorb the extra production.

    During the same timeframe Saab sold 96,633 cars. The smaller number make it more difficult to absorb additional production. Add to that, the cancellation of the Fuji deal, which has to impact the production of the 9-2X and it makes it very difficult for dealers to keep cars in stock.

    Now, look at the situation we are in: Saab is not making any more 9-5s, because the new ones are coming out in December. The SportCombi also won’t be out until December. They are only making a handful of the 9-7s (btw: according to my sales guy when they get one of these in it is sold in 48 hours, but they only get one a month or so), with the shortage of 9-2Xs this leaves the 9-3. A fantastic car, no doubt — in fact, I was tempted to go with it over the 9-5 because it has the iPod port, but the extra room, power and great price on the 9-5 was too much to pass up.

    But, someone walking into a Saab dealer is going to see 9-3s only, and it has to make them wonder. Hell, it makes us wonder :).

  4. Good news from Sweden, though. Car sales here is up almost 10% in October, and Saab market share is, not only, above 10% again but up to 11.9% with 2.931 registered new vehicles. In Sweden, only the 9-3 and 9-5 models are sold.

  5. ctm: I understand strong sales of the 9-5 BioPower are responsible for those numbers you’re seeing. Though Sweden “only” has the 9-3 and 9-5, they also are the only place one can currently buy a BioPower.

  6. 1985 Gripen: Thats true. In October 2005, 7.8% (or 1.936 cars) of all cars sold in Sweden were so called “eco-cars” (what is the English term for a car that government thinks is more environmentally friendly and thus has benefits like lower tax, free parking and so on?). That’s compared with 2.7% in October 2004. But it’s slightly down since September 2005 (about 10%).

    The best selling such car in October was Saab 9-5 BioPower with 862 sold. Number two was Ford Focus Flexifuel with 629 and number three was Toyota Prius with 148.

    But, there has been a lot of orders for the new 9-3 SportCombi as well, and they begin to show up in the statistics now.

    9-3 – 876
    9-5 – 605

    9-3 – 921
    9-5 – 1.323

    9-3 – 1.100
    9-5 – 1.831

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