Saab USA are very pleased with their sales results for January 2006. So pleased, in fact, that they’ve released a press release about it – something I don’t think I’ve seen from them since I’ve been running this blog.
Straight from the horse’s mouth:
Detroit, Mich. – Hot on the heels of a solid sales increase in 2005, Saab Automobile USA has realized one of the best January results in its nearly 50-year history in the United States. The company, which will celebrate the golden anniversary of its U.S. activities at the New York auto show in April, sold a total of 2,196 vehicles in January 2006 – up 34.1% from the same period a year ago.
“Saab introduced an unprecedented amount of great new products in the fall of 2005, such as the 9-3 Aero V6, the 9-3 SportCombi 5-door, the new 9-5 Sedan and SportCombi plus Saab’s first-ever SUV, the 9-7X,” said Jay Spenchian, Saab USA general manager. “All these vehicles are now becoming available throughout North America. Widely advertised by our new ‘Born From Jets’ advertising campaign, these products now start to resonate with customers. It has provided our entire Saab organization with the opportunity to start the year strong.”
Saab’s U.S. sales increase in January was clearly lead by the 9-3, posting a jump of 35.3 percent versus year-ago levels. “For too long, the 9-3 has been a bit of a well-kept secret”; said Spenchian who became Saab USA general manager in April 2005. “With the 9-3, Saab has a car that can run with the best in the entry luxury segment in every aspect. Our price-value realignment for the 2006 model year, which offers the well equipped 9-3 2.0T with 210 hp as of $ 26,620, has been extremely well received. And with the dynamic 250 hp Aero V6 and stylish SportCombi now on board, we are convinced that there’s still a lot of upside potential for the Saab 9-3.”
Late last year, the 9-3’s many virtues were endorsed by three significant awards from as many influential institutions in North America. First and foremost, the 9-3 Sport Sedan received a ‘Gold Award’ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its excellent behavior in front, rear and side impact crashtests. The Saab 9-3 was one of only four cars to receive the IIHS Gold Award, and notably the only one in the premium/luxury segment.
Just introduced in the 9-3 line-up, the all-new 2.8 V6 Turbo powertrain was named among the ’10 Best Engines for 2006’ by the editorial staff of Ward’s Automotive Communications. Saab’s first-ever V6 in the 9-3 delivers 250 hp and a maximum torque of 258 lb.-ft. between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm – more and earlier than the significantly more expensive BMW 330i. The new engine is available in the 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan, Convertible as well as the new 5-door SportCombi.
Last but not least, the new Saab 9-3 SportCombi received the ‘2006 Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year’ award in the best value, on-road category. A joint initiative from Active.Com and the Gen-A Network, this award is based on feedback from automotive journalists plus elite and recreational athletes from across the United States.
“We at Saab feel obviously honored with all this praise for the 9-3”, said Jay Spenchian. “Because Saab is a relatively small brand, the many strengths of the Saab 9-3 may not be as widely known – so it is great to see influential institutions recognizing them. It is all the more evidence that the Saab 9-3 is an extremely competitive offering across the board.”
The newest addition to the Saab 9-3 portfolio is the Convertible 20 Years Edition. Launched at the Los Angeles auto show in January, this collectible anniversary model celebrates two decades of Saab Convertible sales success in the country where the story began.
The concept of a practical, all-year-round, ‘four season, four-seater’ soft top was pioneered by Saab when it launched the first Saab 900 Convertible in the United States market in January 1986. A limited production run of 400 units with 175 hp, 2.0-liter turbo engines was an immediate success and the following year the Saab Convertible was taken into full global production.
Now, more than 240,000 Saab Convertibles later, the 9-3 ‘20 Years Edition’ Convertible has been introduced in the United States as the latest expression of an iconic product that combines sporty design with surprising functionality, the core appeal of the Saab brand.
Offered at an MSRP of $44,615 (including destination charges), the Saab 9-3 20 Years Edition Convertible is powered by the all-new 250 hp, 2.8V6 turbo engine and distinguished by its unique ‘electric blue’ metallic paint finish. Based on Aero specification, with a lowered sports-tuned chassis, it includes the following features:
• Tonneau cover, door trims and door handles color-matching in electric blue metallic
• Unique ‘double five-spoke’, 17-inch alloy wheels
• Rear trunk lid lip spoiler, color-keyed
• Parchment leather sports interior with electric blue upholstery trim lines
• Touring package, including electrically-operated seats with memory on driver’s side, express up windows, auto dimming rear-view mirror with garage door opener, rain sensing wipers and rear park assist.
The new top-the-line Saab Convertible model goes on sale this month, February 2006. Initial response from American customers and dealers has been so positive that the limited production run has been increased from originally 300 to 400 units for the United States market. Another addition is the choice between a black or dark blue soft top.