Goodbye CitySaab

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In what’s got to be a bit of a blow for Saab Oz (or is it?), City Saab in Melbourne closed it’s doors yesterday. I got wind of this earlier in the week, though the timeframe was unknown at that point.

CitySaab must have enjoyed some good time back in the halcyon days as I can remember seeing a LOT of CitySaab stickers on the rear windows of 900s and 9000s over the years (I grew up in Melbourne). In speaking with a rep from CitySaab just this morning I asked what happened – “things just weren’t going well at all” was the reply.

It’s just my hypothesis, but CitySaab has likely fallen victim to a three-pronged attack of product, logistics and geography.

The product line has been based primarily on sedans for a number of years and the alienation of tradition Saab hatch buyers hasn’t been offset by a sufficient number of people interested in the sedan-only base level. The SportCombi has quite possibly come too late.

Support logistics are gaining ground again, but the changeover from a Saab-run support base to a Holden-run support structure produced some monumental stuff-ups at the time it was executed. Unhappy customers will forgive to a certain extent, but to a certain extent only and I’d guess that with a thinning customer base the line got finer and finer in the last few years.

Finally, CitySaab was located right in the city of Melbourne – in King Street on the inner fringe of the CBD. As Melbourne has got bigger, access to the CBD has become more of a task. Many of CitySaab’s customers would have likely been from the eastern and south-eastern suburbs and whilst it’s possible to get into town, why go out of your way to do so when there’s several Holden-linked and established dealers in that south-east corridor?

These are just my guesses, but I’ll be happy to amend them should other info come to light.

In line with that suburban trend, a new dealership including Saab will be established in the Richmond area, an inner suburb of Melbourne. It’ll be under the Alan Mance banner. This will be Alan Mance’s first foray into the east, being based in Melbourne’s western suburbs since establishment in 1978. I don’t know yet whether this will be a GM Premium showroom, including both Saab and Hummer, or a standalone Saab dealership.

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8 Comments

  1. That’s a bit tragic, Melbourne’s only dedicated Saab dealer as far as I know.

    It’s not for want of trying as City Saab were probably the most prominent advertiser of any Saab dealers and certainly more prominent than Saab Oz. If there was a front page Saab ad anywhere it was usually City Saab.

    Interesting to see the Alan Mance expansion to the East. Richmond is as good a place as any as I have noticed there’s a gaping hole there. Plenty of Saabs around that area of town but no dealers.

  2. I heard along the same line as you swady, but also the land value that the site was occupying was worth far too much money and the summit (owners of city saab/holden) group felt the same as well

    Alan Mance in Richmond will be a Holden/Saab/Hummer(cringe!!) premium dealership.

    al

  3. We have seen the same effect much earlier in Sydney when the announcement of Holden taking over the handling of Saab. The Rick Damelian group simply dumped the brand despite being one of (or the) biggest dealer(s) in the country. Aside from all the reasons you are listing affecting the Melbourne/VIC surroundings, the fact remains that on a scarce 2 model line up no dealer will be able to survive in this day and age and compete comfortably against the establish well optioned European competitors. I recently went to a grand trip to the US and Mexico where the Cadillac & Hummer combination has been the norm with all dealers for some time. Quite frankly so long as GM does not invest and bring Saab to the likes of (and hate to type it again) Volvo as a minimum the dealer network will have no other option than to carry the inferior GM brands too, have other brands to sell in parallel to Saab or close its doors completely. GM is clearly responsible for this and should be hit with some compensation payouts as some dealers are not making it by being dedicated only to Saab. GM needs to get off their asses and do some constructive promotions to sell more Saab vehicles and help the dealers accordingly as well as expanding the brand to compete adequately. If you keep on doing the same activities you will get the same results. Is it that hard to comprehend this very basic principle of business (or any activity to that matter) ???

  4. Yet more evidence of Saab going to the dogs! Obviously GM are intent on destroying the Saab brand altogether. What Dickheads!

    Drew B

  5. You are not wrong, they need a full lobotomy as they don’t seem to have any brains when it comes to Saab. If we look at what Holden is allowed to do in our own backyard and the billions of $$$ they get from Detroit to produce good stuff, why do they neglect Saab ??? Bunch of DHs !!!

  6. It’s an absolute fuggin tragedy that Citry Saab shut!

    Also, WTF is going on at Saab Australia… they can’t even get their marketing right… no mention of the 60 years of Saab AT ALL at the Melbourne Motor Show. Shame!

    I just checked the Alan Mance website too… they still use the Saab Scania Logo! Err… that was changed to just the Saab logo many years ago. If they can’t get that right how can they possible sell Saabs to the correct market!

    I am deeply concerned for Saab in Australia… and am extremely pissed off at how General Motors handles Saab. It seems to me they just could not be bothered supporting the brand and it is more of a hindernace than anything.

    sab

  7. Hmm,

    It saddens me that the people that have posted above seem like they are Saab enthusiasts. I have been to the Melbourne Motor show and visited the Saab stand, and in no way was i made aware that it was Saab’s 60 anniversary this year, i new it was Ferraris because of the parade in Carlton.

    Maybe i should re considering buying 9-3 Sports Combi (Aero Edition) if this is what its going to turn out like.

    Seems like Saab in Australia really really need to lift their game.

    potential saab driver (but re-considering now)

  8. Swade, I can tell you that here in the USA there are very few stand alone SAAB dealerships. The profitable dealership groups sell multiple brands. Not necessarily all GM brands. Where I bought my SAAB they also sell Nissans and Mitsubishi’s for example.

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