Thanks to EduSaab, we now have a copy of the Automotive News article I mentioned earlier on Saab’s marketing plan for 2007.
In short, GM’s giving them the same crumbs off the table in 2007 that they got in 2006, so Saab are going to have to work harder and smarter to attract new customers and bring back the old.
I’ll post more on this, including a podcast to be recorded later today, as soon as I can.
There’s a lot in this, including some pretty good confirmation of the new, refreshed 9-3 with AWD that was hinted at first at iSaab and broken big-time right here on TS (actually, if I included the “.net” part in the acronym I could call it TSN…..um……naaaaah).
DETROIT — General Motors’ Saab brand will not get an increase in its marketing budget for 2007, so it must be more creative to reverse sales declines.
“We’ve had more of a big-brand strategy, but we’re really more of a niche brand, so we’ll have to get more surgical,” Jay Spenchian, Saab’s general manager, said in an interview last week at the Detroit auto show.
Spenchian also raised several product possibilities that could bolster the Saab lineup. Over the next two to three years, Saab may get all-wheel drive and an ethanol version for the 9-3 models.
It also may add a small crossover to be priced between the 9-3 and the 9-7X SUV, said Spenchian. The 9-3 sport sedan starts at $26,995 and the 9-7X at $39,935, including shipping on both. Saab also might build a subcompact car similar to the Mini that would be priced close to the 9-3, he said.
Dealers have complained that Saab’s marketing has not been aggressive enough. Some dealers in smaller markets last year said they were selling only three or four vehicles a month.
Saab’s 2006 U.S. sales were down 5.2 percent to 36,349 units. Spenchian said he is counting on help from a refreshed Saab 9-3 sedan due in the second half of this year and some special editions of the vehicle. He also said Saab can generate sales momentum by promoting GM’s new 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The real push will come with Saab’s new marketing approach – Saab needs to “fish where the fish are,” Spenchian said.
“We’re really going to go after what I call a move-up buyer – someone who’s coming in to the premium segment the first time. That’s where most of the volume comes from anyway,” Spenchian said.
The average Saab buyer is 42, he said. The new targets are 25- to 45-year-olds with an equal gender split.
Spenchian said Saab has a flat marketing budget for 2007 compared with 2006. Saab will do more direct marketing with brochures and will heavily target cable TV shows for 11 months out of the year, Spenchian said.
Saab also will be more active with online advertising this year, such as working more with Edmunds.com for comparison shopping. Spenchian said Saab is going to almost always win online because of pricing advantages.