Online Snippets

I’ve noted a couple of instances of dealers doing it for themselves in a prominent way this week. Corporate ads are one thing, but I guess the smart ones are willing to go the extra mile to get some attention and build a customer.

Shaker Saab, in Cleveland, have taken out a big advertorial in order to emphasise an aspect of Saab that many think is undersold – safety. They’ve produced a long article in the newsprint and online editions of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in order to publicise the Saab 9-3’s latest success in being given a Top Safety Pick Award by the IIHS.

For Jim Levine, owner and dealer principal of Shaker Saab Brook Park, the 2007 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick Award for the Saab 9-3 sedan came as no surprise.

“That’s because it’s the third year in a row we have received an award from the IIHS,” says Levine. “It’s nice to be picked again, but it’s not exactly a new thing.”

Long known for its safety features, the 9-3 sedan is becoming something of a perennial for an IIHS Award. For 2006 the 9-3 earned the Top Safety Pick Gold Award and received a Double Best Pick crash test rating for 2005. However, the 2007 Saab 9-3 sedan was awarded the designation amid ever-toughening criteria.

The ‘ever-toughening criteria’ they’re talking about there is the addition of electronic stability control as a criterion for the Top Pick. If cars didn’t have it, they weren’t a chance.

“I have been with Saab for 21 years and they have always been a leader in safety,” he says. “For example, the U.S. Government requires 11 car crash tests, but Saab performs 40.”

Says it all, really.

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Sisters are doing it for themselves

Saab of Baltimore are partnering up with AskPatty.com – a website for women to shop cars, ask questions and get assistance fro the panel of female advisors on the site. As this is 99.99% ‘penile’ in composition, it’s tempting to say ‘big deal’ and brush it off.

But women represent a huge part of the purchase decision-making process and I reckon this is a great move.

It’s no surprise, then, that the brain behind the decision is that of Saab of Baltimore’s female Dealer Principal, Jenny Trostel. She’s also accepted a position on the panel of advisors at AskPatty.com, which is a pretty busy site and part of the 9rules community. The advisory panel is headed up by Deborah Renshaw, who is undoubtedly one of the easier-on-the-eye NASCAR drivers in the US.

The full press release from Saab of Baltimore (unfortunately acronymed as S.o.B) – is here.

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There’s something in those there ‘tubes’

Autoweek are running a story emphasising the way some automotive companies are using the internet to reach out to potential customers.

Looking at more than just a user-friendly website, this article highlights some of the more viral elements of automotive marketing. For example, Honda’s set of online shorts called Cube Fabulous – aimed at cubefarm workers aged 18-34, who als happen to be the target market for the new Honda Fit.

Saab, of course, had some success with the Race Against Time online campaign (an interactive game) for the UK market last year. It’d be great to get something else going in 2007.

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Thanks to Ted for the Shaker Saab tip.

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3 Comments

  1. The good thing about Jim Levine is that he is not just selling Saabs, he’s into Saabs. If you go to the VSAAB 93 Registry link and search for Levine you’ll see that he’s restoring a 1960 93F. I communicated once with him via e-mail, very friendly person.

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