Saab is GM’s global premium brand. This hasn’t been said for a little while now, so I thought I’d better remind us, and them. I’ll say it again: Saab is GM’s global premium brand.
There’s been some talk about positioning Cadillac for greater global expansion. But the problem is that most people don’t want to buy Cadillacs. For whatever reason (and I’ll leave it up to you to figure them out), a lot of people see them as an affront rather than an aspiration. On a practical level, where’s the future going to be? With powerful, smaller engined vehicles? Or huge guzzlers?
Saab should be better positioned to take on it’s European rivals. Perhaps not in all classes, but in the ones that matter. Here’s hoping that Jay thinks so too. From Automotive News:
Spenchian says future Saab vehicles will have more aggressive design and performance to correspond with the brand’s marketing pitch and heritage, ‘Born From Jets’.
He says he will demand more refinement (in) future products. "I’ll be honest with you, the 9-5 is not where it needs to be long term."
A startling admission so early in the facelift, if you ask me.
The 9-5 is a bridge product that will be successful for Saab over the next three to four years, he says. But Saab wants to move to the prestige luxury segment.
If you look at the competitors that are in there, they’re stellar and I think we need to take it up a notch with the next generation, and we intend to do that"
Music to my ears.
GM Europe has seen some significant growth and views a return to profitability as a near-term reality. Saab, too. Carl-Peter Forster is looking for 10,000 – 15,000 units growth from the little Swede in 2006.
UK Sales – have been released for a few days. My apologies for not getting around to them sooner. Saab grew is sales numbers in 2005 by some 35% over 2004 in the UK. The final number of Saabs sold there was 27,465 for the year, with 1,791 of these sales coming in December 2005.
From the press release:
Whilst the overall UK new car market limped through 2005, seeing total registrations decline by over 6 per cent compared to the previous year, with a 3 per cent drop in the premium segment, Saab continued to make enormous strides, enjoying a year-on-year sales growth of over 35 per cent. In volume terms, this equated to a total of 27,465 new Saabs sold in 2005, compared to 20,292 in 2004, taking its slice of the UK new car market to a record 1.14 per cent. This achievement becomes even more impressive, considering that that 2004 was itself a record year for Saab, with sales growing by 39 per cent compared to 2003.