Every month for the last six months, usually around the time I report on Saab sales in various markets, I’ve been saying that Germany has plenty of potential for growth in terms of Saab sales. It’s a huge market for car sales and it just makes sense to me that Saab should be doing well there. They’re sophisticated, well designed and appointed.
Of course, the Germans come across as a parochial people and I’m big enough to admit that they make some pretty decent cars themselves. It’s no surprise then that German manufacturers make up the vast majority of the top ten sellers in their home market.
I just stumbled on a German Saab press release that gives some hope, and at the same time makes a somewhat sobering statement.
Saab sold just 309 cars in Germany in August 2006. Despite this, the press release informs me that Germany is currently Saab’s fourth largest market worldwide after the US, Sweden and Great Britain.
309 vehicles makes for the 4th largest market!! That’s got to be cause for alarm. Australia, a drop in the ocean in terms of worlwide car sales, sold nearly half this amount in the same period. The highest ranked Saab on the German market, the 9-3, was ranked in the mid 70’s on the sales chart (i.e. there’s around 74 different models that outsell the 9-3).
In addition, the German market has somewhere in the vicinity of 129 Saab dealerships, meaning that they’re selling about 2.4 cars each, per month. My local Saab dealer, in a small city on an island is managing more than 2 per month.
Now, admittedly, a number of these dealerships are new and the vast majority must be tied in with other GM marques in Germany. Most Saab dealers here in Australia occupy a corner of the local Holden showroom and I imagine it must be a similar setup there with Opel.
The cause for hope is that Saab of Germany do seem to be marketing the cars more aggressively in recent months. I’ve seen several press releases for the Pilots Wanted promotion recently and the press release I’ve used as a base for this post provides a long look at Saab’s history, innovations and current model line.
Building a car market isn’t a short term prospect. With so much potential for growth in Germany and a new round of models coming in the next few years it seems that Saab of Germany are positioning themselves for some expansion.
It’s a good thing they are, too. Australia’s hot on their heels and looking for that fourth spot!
A dodgy internet translation of the German press release is reproduced after the jump….