Jay Spenchian appeared on Autoline Detroit a few days ago. I only got through three quarters of the video last night before our prehistoric dialup connection decided to retire for the evening (broadband on its way).
Jay’s comments were interesting to listen to and I’d recommend you watch the video, available here (you’ll need RealPlayer).
Here’s a summary of some of Jay’s thoughts. These are my words, not exact quotes, written as I was watching it.
Jay on Jerry York’s idea to sell Saab:
Well, Jerry knows what he knows, but it’s not the full picture. Saab has a important role to play in the global premium segment for GM and it’s part of their expanding 3-proged attack on the global market (the other two prongs being Caddy and Hummer). Saab’s almost exclusively ‘plus’ business for GM and gives them access to a very desirable demographic.
Jay on Saab’s growth and market placement:
Saab has truckloads of upside growth potential that GM want to build on. They’re located in one of the fastest growing segments of the market – entry level luxury – and well placed to capitalise on that growth potential with some new products and more awareness of the brand.
Jay on what he’d say to old-faithful Saabisti that are worried about future products:
GM realise what makes a Saab a Saab. Design, functionality, economy, performance, safety. They’ve developed the Saab Design Centre and it’s mission will be to ensure that future Saab’s retain these qualities.
Jay on Born From Jets:
It was a deliberate attempt to emphasise the cars and what’s great about them. It’s an energetic and dynamic campaign designed to capture the attention of viewers. It’s core comes from looking back at Saab’s most succesful era (the 1980’s) and what made the cars succesful – there was the design that was individual, created some excitement and it was fundamentally because the cars had a lot of aircraft cues solidly placed in the design. They’ve tried to capture this heritage and place it in the ads. Interest has been up around 20% since the launch of the campaign.
My take: good campaign and quite well received from what I read, but the aircraft design needs to be more infused in the cars for the ads to be an even greater success.
Jay on Cadillac:
Jay was asked whether they’d be better off selling Saab and pouring those resources into Caddy. A resounding no! Saab has the infrastructure in place and is well placed to grow in Europe. There’s virtually no intersection between Saab and Caddy customers.
I didn’t catch the last 5 minutes or so of the interview. I’ll try and do that later today. If anyone would like to place them in comments, please feel free. There may be some content in there about upcoming models.
My thanks to John McElroy for permitting the use of Autoline’s content.