Best 1st Quarter Ever

Saab have published an English language press release clarifying the numbers Tobias brought to our attention yesterday. Saab have had what looks to be their best 1st quarter ever in Jan-Mar 2006. I’ve done some playing with the numbers, and I reckon it could be a bumper year.

The target: 150,000 units.

But first, the press release…..

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Saab Breaks Global and European Sales Records

Saab sales are continuing to accelerate at a record-breaking pace, with all-time volume records achieved globally and in Europe for the first quarter of 2006.

Worldwide sales increased to 34,192 cars during the first three months of the year, a 24 per cent increase against the same period last year. In Europe, a 29 per cent increase produced sales of 23,895 cars. Both results are all-time records for the brand, the strong performance in Europe building on last year’s annual volume record.

Each of Saab’s top ten markets – accounting for 85 per cent of total sales- posted increases, including all-time record volumes in the UK, Spain and Belgium. The performance in the UK, up 20 per cent against 2005, is particularly impressive as it maintains a record-breaking sales momentum already established last year.

The launch of the Saab 9-3 SportCombi range, the introduction of a new top-of-the-line 2.8V6 turbo engine and the outstanding success of the Saab 9-5 BioPower in Sweden, where it is the top-selling environmentally-friendly vehicle, have all contributed to Saab’s strong performance.

“We now have products in market segments where Saab was not represented before,” says Saab Automobile Managing Director Jan-Åke Jonsson. “This is reflected in our excellent start to the year, with growth in all major markets including the United States.

“The launch of exciting concepts, such as the Saab Aero X at Geneva and the Saab BioPower Hybrid in Stockholm last week, is also focusing a great deal of attention on the Saab brand. It all means we can look forward to the rest of the year with great optimism.”

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As mentioned, I’ve done some very simple maths on the numbers for the first quarter. Best case scenario for the year should be around 160,000 unit sales, with 150,000 probably a more likely figure.

The method: I broke down Saab’s 2005 sales for the US and UK into quarters and calculated what each quarter represented as a proportion of the total year’s sales.

It’s way, way simplified, but it’s a ballpark figure. Saab USA made 19.15% of its 2005 sales in the first quarter. Saab UK made 24.04% of its 2005 sales in the first quarter.

I’ve then applied these percentages to 2006 1Q sales and come up with 42,927 sales in the USA and 32,960 sales in the UK for 2006. A total of 75,887 units in these two markets for 2006.

Like I said, this is very simplified and doesn’t take into account the sales events over the northern summer last year, etc etc or the troubles GM may face later this year with Delphi etc etc. But I think the trend is reasonably reliable at the moment, assuming no major catastrophes. There’s an increased awareness and interest in Saab through better advertising and the recent concept releases, so I’m feeling confident that growth can continue.

US and UK sales made up 47% of Saab’s total first quarter sales this year. Again, assuming that trend continues, and applying it to the 75,887 extrapolated total above, we come up with 160,703 sales for 2006.

Given that it’s such a flimsy model (please hack it to bits in comments), I’ll take 10,000 units off and call it as a 150,000 unit year. That’d be one heck of an achievement for the little Swede. Quite likely resulting in a profitable contribution to GM Europe’s bottom line. Finally.

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UPDATE: Australian sales have been announced today and Saab Australia are up 38.2% Year-To-Date.

Saab sales in March 2006 (173 units) were 40.7% greater than March 2005. Saab has sold 445 vehicles YTD in Australia, compared with 322 in the 1st quarter last year. Saab Aust sold 1,510 vehicles in total in 2005, which wasn’t a good year.

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Congratulations to Saab for a fantastic 1st quarter result and full-steam-ahead for the rest of 2006.

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7 Comments

  1. Wow !!! So a bit of advertising and good billboarding is bringing some encouraging results in our shores. If only Saab OZ could add more sensationalism to this news and make them more visible to the general public and get the dam press on our side and report the good bits, these figures will be even better !!!

  2. Nice work Saab, particularly Saab Aus. Great to see things moving.
    If the little things mean anything then this is perhaps a giveaway….I have moaned to Swade before about the pitiful level of attention Saab seems to get from my local dealer ( read GM holden with a Saab corner). Well, have recently noticed not just ads in the local paper but also actual, real cars being displayed where the buying public can see them. There were two there this morning. Previously the Saab space visible to passers-by was dominated by utes, Barinas or rubbish bins in various arrangements. A coincidence or is someone actually getting things moving? It would appear to be the latter and congrats all round on the Q1 result. Next thing we’ll be seeing publicity for Hirsch.

    Looks like we’d better stick to our day jobs for the meantime Joe.

  3. Anything we can add to make a difference in the local scene I’m in it. All these positive moves you mention and getting the press on our side will mean heaps of upward progress. In the mean time you may not need to update your resume as yet, but keep it handy in case you get that phone call. Where are you based PT ???

  4. Well Swade you’re a bigger enthusiast than me but I’ll be more than happy if they break the 135′ mark, anything over 140′ would be truely sensational.

  5. Joe,
    I work on Sydneys northside and live on the central coast – hence all the driving. Have asked swade to pass on my details so shoot me an email and we can catch up from there.

  6. As that song from the early 1990s goes

    “Things can only get better….!”

    IMHO, its the BioPower, 9-3SC 9gorgeous car!) and TiD models that are in HUGE demand driving up sales of the best cars on the planet.

    You can bet that GM will keep a hold of Saab for a while, possibly permanently, with ever increasing sales figures.

  7. Personally I’m pretty much with Swade on the GM ownership. I don’t like it, it’s not perfect by a mile but we could be in far worse company. The signs are very good, better than they’ve been for the last 3 years. So long as GM loosens the grip on new product development the results are immediate. If this continues so will GM ownership of Saab.

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