That’s right, folks. It’s approaching that time where we crunch the numbers and oooh, ahhh and uurgh over sales data from the various markets around the world in order to assess the performance of the Saab brand through the year.
Commentators are expecting a pretty gloomy May in the US. Here’s hoping for a positive year-on-year performance there. I’d say anything in the black will do. I haven’t heard any expectations for Sweden, Britain or the rest of Europe, so it’ll be a matter of wait-n-see.
Jay Spenchian’s certainly talking up Saab’s expectations for the next few years though. US sales doubled by 2011. I haven’t found a link for it, but this was sent via email (thanks JV) and was reported by Bloomberg:
General Motors Corp.’s Saab will double U.S. sales by as early as 2010 as the European unit moves ahead with its plan to end losses, its U.S. sales chief said.
Jerome York, an aide to GM investor Kirk Kerkorian, said in January that GM should sell or close Saab and Hummer and focus on its larger brands, after GM’s $10.6 billion loss last year. York joined the Detroit-based company’s board in February.
“He wants what all of us want, sales and profit growth,” said Jay Spenchian, Saab’s U.S. general manager, in an interview today in Southfield, Michigan. “He wants us to put our money where our mouth is and just try and deliver.”
Saab and Hummer have been GM’s fastest-growing brands in the U.S. this year, helped by new models such as the Saab 9-7X and Hummer H-3 sport-utility vehicles. Sales through April rose 8.1 percent at Saab and almost tripled at Hummer, as GM’s total fell 6.7 percent. New models are part of GM’s plan to stabilize a U.S. market share that has fallen to 24 percent this year from 51 percent in 1962.
“If Saab is profitable or break-even and they can attract buyers you wouldn’t normally get in GM, it’s a positive,” said Southfield-based AutoPacific auto analyst Jim Hall. “Saab can be made profitable. The question is, how broad does Saab need to be to get there?”
Saab will double annual U.S. sales to about 80,000 by 2010 or 2011, Spenchian said. In the next few years, Saab plans to replace the 9-7X with a smaller SUV model shared with a Cadillac design and introduce new versions of the 9-5 and 9-3 sedans, he said. The Sweden-based unit is also studying at least one other undisclosed vehicle, Spenchian said.
I’ll be keeping a keen eye out for all the usual sales data, but I’m sure some of you Europeans will get it while I’m sleeping.