Earlier this year Saab Australia was running a campaign centred around a fictional dopey guy names Sven.
Sven had ordered too many Saabs for shipment to Australia and so they had to sell them all at $XX,XXX – that was the marketing campaign earlier in 2006.
New Saab Australia Director, Parveen Batish, arrived from the UK back in May of this year. Shortly thereafter, Sven was killed off. It was thought that a campaign like this was contrary to the brand image that Saab should be trying to project.
I agree to a large extent, but the fact is – it moved the metal.
Saab Australia sold 99 vehicles during November 2006, which is a decrease of just over 50% from the 199 sold in the same month in 2005 – which was a bad year for Saab.
Because of a great start to the year (the Sven factor?), Saab Australia are still 10% up on 2005 year-to-date, but in a year when they must have been aiming at 2000-2200 cars, there’s going to be a lot of butt kicking going on. They’re currently at 1,504 for the year.
I’ve only met Parveen briefly, at the Sydney Motor Show back in October. I was having a ball with the Aero-X and he was busy doing the things that Saab Directors do on press days at motor shows. The point being, I didn’t get time to form a concrete impression, but the brief time that I had with him was great. Every other report I’ve heard about him has been stellar.
But the numbers don’t lie. In the last few months, Saab sales in Oz have gone through the floor and there has to be some reasons why. The correlation between Parveen’s tenure and the sales flow is unmistakable and I’d be interested to know if there’s GM-obstacles to the brand’s current presentation, and what his marketing department is going to do to try and turn things around.
There’s been a recent emphasis on Biopower here, in a market that has E10 as a maximum ethanol mix. Money well spent? We won’t know until the press appraises the vehicles and writes them up, but this is a very long term strategy when Saab Australia seems to have some serious short term problems.
The introduction of the diesel range early next year will hopefully go some way to addressing some of the problems, but Saab Oz are still going to need to work some magic in order to avoid a real drought prior to the remodeled 9-3 late next year.