I know your Euro types must be thinking *yawn* and you Americans are possibly non-plussed as you’re not getting the vehicle, but the momentum on diesel here is going to continue for a little while yet.
This latest review comes from GoAuto and it’s good to see that they’ve taken away the same positive impression that I did from the launch in Brisbane.
Their comments on the market and what Saab think they can achieve there were very interesting, though I think they’ve erred in their numbers:
Saab is confident that most 9-3 diesel buyers will be conquest sales from other brands.
Staying deliberately conservative in its estimations, Saab expects around 35 per cent of all 9-3s to be TiD models. Using the 841 sales total from last year as a guide, it should count on around 300 diesel models finding homes in 2007.
Saab is also hopeful that the diesel SportCombi will give the recently released but somewhat underperforming wagon a sales fillip.
According to Parveen Batish, director for Saab in Australia and New Zealand, releasing the 9-3 TiD in three body styles is “… a real coup for the brand.”
“(It) gives Saab a real position of strength in the diesel market,” he says
With 1,600 sales in total during 2006 and a maximum 30% of those being 9-5s, Saab sold more like 1,120 units of the 9-3 last year rather than the 841 units mentioned (this may be a 2005 figure). Using Saab’s own estimation of 35% being diesel sales, that would allow for a projected diesel sales number closer to 400 units.
Pedantics aside, GoAuto emphasise the right conclusion here. Saab has introduced a very strong diesel lineup in Australia. They’re superb driving with the best fuel economy in the class and quite competitively priced.