Virgin Pumps?

A little more on Jan-Ake Jonsson’s appearance in the Swedish news yesterday.

He did indeed indicate that Saaab will be looking for sales to hit 140,000 this year – a record for Saab in any year. Several European markets like Sweden, the Netherlands and Switzerland are up by at least 40% and other external markets are up as well. He mentions that the only markets that are down in 2006 are the US and Germany, and the US still has an outside chance of levelling out.

With that sales number comes the remote possibility of turning a profit. JAJ gave no guarantees, saying that they’ll all be watching the numbers right up until December 31st, but that it’s possible that Saab could finally contribute something positive to the GM bottom line.

The big booster in the Euro market seems to be the Biopower car, with 80% of 9-5’s sold in Sweden having the flexfuel setup. Given that 9-5 sales in Sweden declined considerably in 2005 this has been a major bonus. Other markets are now opening up to Biopower – Edusaab left a note in comments just this morning to let us know that Spain is now selling them as well.

The other intereting bit of news from the Swedish story is the little bit of name-dropping that appears there. It turns out that one of Biopower’s more famous customers is none other than global entreprenuer and Virgin-everything head honcho Richard Branson.

I don’t think he’s tackled the fuel industry yet – could we see a Virgin Pump in every town by 2012????? The mind boggles!

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Thanks to Carljohan for the link

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3 Comments

  1. Dear Swade,

    At this moment I don’t know the sales number of the Biopower, but I can say you that here in Spain there are few sales of the 9-5, the majority of the sales are of the 9-3 TID. But Saab take seriously the idea to sell the 9-5 Biopower and other Biopower models(if they decide to launch a 9-3 biopower, remember the 9-3 convertible biopower pics), and yesterday anounced the agreement and the idea to push hard the sales of the Biopower in the country. At this moment there are only 1 or two Etanol gas stations, one of them in a Saab Dealer. The Biopower version it seems it will be a success, but we need some time to know it.

    greetings

  2. Thanks Edu,

    I caught a glimpse of a report this morning that indicated that Spanish Biopower sales would start in January.

    The report is subscription only, but here’s the snippet I could see:

    “GM-owned Swedish luxury car maker Saab has teamed with Spanish biofuels maker Abengoa Bionergia to launch its 9-5 Biopower flex-fuel vehicle in Spain next January, running on E85 fuel, a Saab spokesman told just-auto on Wednesday.”

  3. “could we see a Virgin Pump in every town by 2012?????”

    not as silly as it sounds, in fact, according to a few reports (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2006/08/01/8382250/index.htm)
    he’s dead keen on the idea.

    if the existing oil companies continue to stall on biofuel distribution and getting pumps on servo forecourts, then the opportunities are there for new players. a company with the resources of Virgin could easily get things started.

    plus, i’d feel a lot better morally buying my fuel off Branson than whomever owns Shell, Mobile, Caltex or BP.

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