Tuesday Snippets

Wow.  Back to it after a long weekend of 9-5ing.  My compliments to all those that have made the wise choice in purchasing this car.  Which leaves the question open as to why so few have been sold in the last 12 months?  And what can be done to turn that around?

Given that the 2006 model is reported to be even tighter, I’m now hanging out to give that one a spin.  Saab Australia – is there a press day coming up soon?

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As much as I hate saying it, BMW are the benchmark at the moment.  A quick read of their free maintenance program will give you an idea as to why…

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One from PT last week – another question for Saab Australia: Is there a 9-3 SportCombi available between the $45,000 Linear and the $72,000 Aero?

According to Carsguide there isn’t.  Say it ain’t so…

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4Car have picked up on Trollhattan’s reporting of the Aero-X concept last week.  I just wish they’d provide a link (good netiquette) and spell the name right.  Autoblog have picked it up too.  Word’s getting out, people.  Now all we need is pictures.

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As has happened in various countries, Saab UK’s headquarters are being swallowed up into the Borg GM collective.  Saab UK’s office is moving to GM headquarters in Luton.  Watch out for your spare parts orders.

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Memo to Jay Spenchian:  Get someone to go and buy Jerry York some new shoes.  Now!!

"I was traveling with him (York) once, and we stopped at a coffee shop," the former colleague said. "I was fairly young and in awe of the senior guys, and we struck up this conversation about shoes, of all things. He said: ‘The one and only indulgence I’ve given myself over the years is shoes because I do so much walking. I buy Bally shoes.’

Bally.  Did you hear that?  Get someone to buy a truck Saabload of Bally and get them delivered.  Got it?

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Here’s one very confusing writeup on the 9-7x.  According to the headline, the 9-7x is a premium SUV.  Despite the multiple faults listed thereafter.  Inadequate hip room compared to a Jeep?  Well, the writer was a lady, after all….

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And here’s Mark LaNeve doing a Debra Kelly-Ennis on his justification of the Born From Jets campaign:

"People think jets are cool," LaNeve said.

It’s probably just me, but that seems a little too simplistic (and everyone knows it’s uncool to say you’re cool unless you’re Fonzie).  OK, there’s probably more to the quote than that, but it just seemed a little dumb when I read it.  The rest of the article is all good news, though you’ve probably all seen it by now.  It came out while I was 9-5ing.

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9 Comments

  1. Swade,

    To answer your question as to why there havent been that many Saa 9-5s sold, I am assuming, in Oz could it be because you folks pay ridiculous amounts of money for cars? A 9-3Sportcombi with the 210bhp engine starts at CAD36400 and the Aero model with that trick V6 engine starts at CAD41900, plus tax etc etc.

  2. “Which leaves the question open as to why so few have been sold in the last 12 months? And what can be done to turn that around?”

    The 9-5 design is old… almost 8 years. Consumers want something new and fresh. While Saab enhances the grill and headlights, their competitors are redesigning the entire car. 9-5 may drive great, but consumers care about aesthetics.

  3. “Consumers want something new and fresh.”–I guess Porsche should be going under pretty soon. Hard to imagine they’re still trying to push a design that goes back to 1963 (43 years for the 911 and it still looks pretty much the same).

    I doubt if any 911 buyers know much about what’s under the car, only it’s reputation and looks.

  4. Porsche can do that with the 911 as they live in a parallel universe where the laws of physics barely apply.

    They and Alfa are the only other brands I’d ever own (but as a compliment to rather than replacement for Saabs)

  5. “I guess Porsche should be going under pretty soon. Hard to imagine they’re still trying to push a design that goes back to 1963 (43 years for the 911 and it still looks pretty much the same).”

    Ted, your example is comparing apples to oranges.

    Porsche is known for performance. Ask anyone what they think of when you say porsche? “Fast” is probably the answer.

    Do the same thing for Saab, and their answer will probably be the ignition is between the front seats.

    Unfortunately, Saab needs to stay fresh with their design.

  6. Your feedback and that in the magnificent review from Swade on the 9-5 Aero is conclusive on the fact that Saab as a brand is severely undersold, undervalued and remains mostly as an unknown. This is factual reality form your responses that this has been the nemesis from way back when the 9000 Carlsons, early Aeros 900 & 9000 were released long before GM acquired this great Motor Car company. I have written quite a few comments on the fact that Saab’s branding is heavily undervalued and that the products offered do not have a proper Marketing plan in place to lift the current sales levels all around the world. unless a simple well founded and well implemented such campaign is set, the brand will continue to remain unknown. I call on all you great Saabaties to come up with some suggestions on how we could influence Saab and GM to rectify this. No doubt that with new models, development, expansion in the current range (and all those options that Saab does not have) this will change sales dramatically. But with the current models in hand Saab could make a huge and dramatic turn around if their products were promoted and advertised adequately. What do you guys think on this ???

  7. Can’t believe no one responded regarding your excellent point, Joe. Perhaps this highlights how bad the problem is. While I agree with what you said, I have no faith GM can figure out how to sell SAABs, even with our help. They don’t listen; witness “tell it to GM.” It doesn’t understand SAABs. And with the average auto writer unable to drive a SAAB properly, perhaps the answer is the blogs, which I see growing in influence as print media (a place I once worked, along with broadcast) declines. GM should have been promoting the 9000 hatchmacks as the un-SUV SUV’s. The cars were incredible, hauling almost as much as the SUVs of the time, while driving like a sportscar. For those who didn’t really want to drive a truck but wanted the utility and sportier image than a station wagon, the 9000 hatch was the perfect answer. Instead, GM forced unhappy SAAB managers and engineers to kill the model because it was “too expensive” to build. Around that time Audi began cleverly advertising itself as the non-SUV SUV. Meanwhile, GM turned all the SAABs into sedans or wagons, and sales have stagnated since. Under GM SAAB’s become a follower, years behind the curve with the latest market buzz such as cross-overs. People who know SAAB must run SAAB, the kind of people who would never have dropped the hatch. If that doesn’t happen, even good words from blogs like this one will have no real effect and SAAB will continue to be a severely undersold, undervalued brand that remains mostly unknown.
    This is not to say I don’t endorse your call for “SAABities” to take some kind of action, but our best, if not only, hope is to have GM release SAAB. The business analysts I most respect expect that to happen within the year. Let’s be ready … to celebrate, and promote.

  8. Unfortunately the comments sections don’t get read as much as the front page. speaking for me, I’ve been flat out dealing with property issues.

    I think it’s an issue worth persuing though, and I’ll try to raise it in the near term. The trick is to actually come up with something workable and someone to take responsibility for it. Saab’s is GM’s company. Right or Wrong. If something’s going to work it has to come from there. I’ve written a post today (called “pick me, Bob”), which I think makes some sense in terms of generating more positive momentum for the brand. Don’t rely on big media to do it. Create it yourself.

    What happens in the end will rely on GM and Saab.

  9. Well at last someone did respond with a whole lot of further points to mine, this is great Bill. Your points are spot on with regards to the Hatchback and the failure to pursue this design. As it looks now under the current petrol crisis it maybe set to make a strong come back from the consumer demand point of view. Just look at other leading European brands smaller range and the hatch is certainly a growing concern.

    From my perspective we have a much bigger issue in Australia with the branding of Saab and how quickly it is falling in to obscurity. But say 10 years or so ago the brand had a much stronger presence, image and overall message to the consumers. On the other hand we are witnessing that in the UK we have the opposite when the brand continues to be regarded as a leading motor car supplier and the coverage that the cars get from the journos and press in general (with a few exceptions like the 9-5 review that Swade posted recently) is in sharp contrast to what happens locally. Not surprising Saab sales (this is what really counts) in the UK are at record levels despite all the shortcomings of the vehicles at hand.

    I feel that despite GMs huge wrong doings and how we all feel about it, the brand needs a massive re-invention worldwide to emerge once again with key identifiers. When we look at Volvo (the other Swedish Car Maker owned by Ford), regrettably they do not suffer nowhere near the same as Saab when it comes to being well identified and well known for what they are: Safety. Unfortunately Saab has better safety records than Volvo and no one even knows this outside of us (the true Saabaties) how well these cars rate on this fact. Let alone the performance side of the brand.

    I have written to Swade already about this reality in the local scene with some points to consider and I sincerely hope that GM releases Saab and it gets picked up by Porsche or Renault (in this order). But imagine if Hyundai or some other lowly ranked Motor Car company picks it. We will be all longing for GM !!!

    Maybe we should do some brainstorming outside of this blog if it’s feasible and get together somewhere where we can meet. We can at least do something to set the record straight with the local press on what is being written about our Saabs. Most of this is misleading and certainly misrepresenting the brand. What do you guys think ???

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