GM’s often been given a bit of a kicking for being late to market in various segments. I’m still waiting to hear about the diesels that SaabUSA had better be bringing to the US market next year.
It’s only fair then, that a good decision is recognised and the release of the 9-5 Biopower model into the UK market is one such decision. The BBC have published two great articles this week on the Biofuel situation in the UK. The good news for Saab getting in early with Biopower is that whilst the market for E85 is virtually non-existant at the moment, that’s about to change.
It has to change. Under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation announced by the UK government last year, 5% of all motor car fuels have to come from renewable resources by 2010. And here’s an interesting stat from the BBC article that quantifies ethanol production in a manner we can all easily understand: One hectare of wheat produces about 29,000 miles of motoring, enough to take a car around the equator and still have 4,000 miles of fuel left (from Green Spirit Fuels).
Saab’s decision to get in early with Biopower means that they have a ready-made, politically mandated growth market available and they’re one of the first two players on the block in the UK (along with Ford’s flex-fuel Focus). All they have to do now is get the formula right and push these cars in the marketplace. With Saab’s growing market presence in the UK already, this should be an achievable goal.
The next step? Get the 9-3 models available with Biopower setups into the UK market as well. It’s the best selling Saab model in all markets and as it’s known to be tested and ready for the Biopower setup, it makes sense to get it to market sooner rather than later. Create the first and most lasting impression. Don’t wait until a competitor can impress the pants off the motoring pundits – do it first.
The BBC articles are available at the following links and are recommended reading:
This one’s for PT, an advocate of ethanol fuel here in Australia (or more correctly, a bloke that’d love to get his hands on a Biopower Saab and push it hard on the commute). A good old story from the SMH as to why we won’t be seeing ethanol-based cars here in Oz for a while…. A hint: It’s got nothing to do with cars, just a good old political bunfight.