NYIAS: Two views

Maybe this is why people sometimes make unreliable witnesses. One man sees someone drowning and another sees someone waving. It’s all about perception, correct?

So, we have two views in the Saab stand from the New York Auto Show, both from people I haven’t met before. One happy, and one not so happy.

It does go to show that you can’t please all the people all of the time, but some darn good cars always help…

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First, a word from Rene:

I went to the NY Auto Show last weekend and the Saab stand was very nice (you can feel very Scandinavian in the middle of that chaos). They have two concepts: the 9-7X from the SEMA and the beautiful 9-5 white wagon (Ethanol). It looks amazing and those white leather seats are very chic! This year (this is my third year visiting this event) they also have a little section with some white tables and white stools, that way the visitors can have a seat and a little break while they were illuminated by the thousands of little lights surrounding the stand. I really like it. They also have the new color (top) for the 9-3, a white car with a camel color top. It looked very nice.

Let me tell you one thing that I’m very disappointed in, and the same time kind of sad. The new 9-5 exterior is terrific. I really like it, the car does not look aged. However the new plastics from the interior are very GM (cheapest of the cheapeast). If you compare with my 1999 Saab 9-5 there is no comparison. The materials that Saab used before were 100 times better than the new ones. I really hope the quality of materials in the new Saab 9-5 will be an important part to consider by Saab designers and executives.

SaabBioP100NYIAS.jpg

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And a contrary point of view, from “Peace Frog”

Just thought I would share my observations after attending the New York Auto Show yesterday with my nine year old son.

Overall, the show was very well done with the highlight being the interactive off-road driving course that Jeep had set up in front of the Javits center. Now that’s how you sell cars. Most of the drivers had smiles on their faces as they conquered the course in a new Jeep. Once inside, the premium brands like Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, Acura and Volvo all had great representation of their product line with some having exciting displays of their new technology. The majority of these brands had a reasonably good flow of traffic interacting with the merchandise.

As for SAAB, thank heavens we printed a map of the floor layout as we needed that and a pair of binoculars to find the Saab booth. Way beyond the enormous GM display, tucked way back in the corner we found SAAB. The first thing my son asked the girl at the booth was if the Aero X was there. Sorry, not at this show she replied. Wouldn’t make much sense to have the highest profile creation Saab has ever generated, displayed at an auto show being held in the money capital of the world, right? Someone may actually get excited about the brand. Wouldn’t want that now. Instead, we had the “Pimp My Ride” version of the 97x, complete with the built-in boom box. Now that is marketing genius. I wonder how many professionals I saw that day had their eye on that lovely piece of work. From the amount of folks that just walked past it without a second look I would say the chances are zero to none.

Disappointed from the no-show of the Aero X, my son ran over to the 9-3 Aero Convertible with the top down and seemed again excited until he looked inside and asked “Dad, why is the cup holder broken and the shift knob missing”? Followed by “Dad, can we go over and see the Kia’s? Those cars look cool.” Before leaving, he begrudgingly followed me over to the 9-5 Sport-Combi Bio-Powered car on display. Wait, someone was actually sitting inside and seemed interested. Then his buddy walked over and looked inside saying “That interior looks worse than my 99 Saab. Not much has changed, huh?” I think they followed us over to the Kia booth.

Yes, the Kia display put us to shame. The cup holders were not broken and the shift knobs were still intact. That and the neon lighting combined with the rotating platform Kia used held my son’s attention for quite some time. I momentarily lifted my head to see many others around me, mostly adults, who seemed just as excited.

I was left with the thought that we in no way can compare ourselves to “other” premium brands as we are so far behind in design, technology (bluetooth?) and presentation. Sure, we compare well next to a Chevy. Side by side with a BMW or Audi? Sorry guys…no comparison.

Anyone know where the Aero X was? In for repairs maybe?

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The Aero-X was at another show in Europe. It stormed the New York show last year.

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11 Comments

  1. Hi,

    The Aero X is in Leipzig Germany, there is another Car Show too..

    I was there yesterday… The show is from 14.-22 of April, but the Car will leave the show on Tuesday, for another presentation in central asia

  2. Oh no, it sounds like someone went into the convertible and decided to break the cup holder and shift knob. Only in America would someone vandalize a beautiful car! I am glad Saab didn’t have anything new or exiting to offer, people in this country don’t appreciate automobiles like they do in Europe. I woke up this morning to the local news in Manchester NH and two people were shot as they left a night club. As for the Aero X Eastern Europeans can appreciate the type of thing without vandalizing it.

  3. Saabboy1,
    I hit the “comment” button to make my thoughts known, but you beat me to it. So, I’ll just say “ditto”.

  4. I also attended the NY show, (my 15th consecutive year). I thought the SAAB display was very well down. It had a definite Scandinavian feel. GM was introducing the “triplets” from Chevrolet. 3 “A” segment cars that may be sold in the USA. This is a very big deal as there are no “A” cars currently for sale in the USA. The Smart is due here next year. These cars received the prominent position in the center of the floor. To my knowledge GM has never featured small cars this way at a US auto show, so I give them full credit for this. SAAB did not have anything new to showcase so they were not front and center. However their display was right next to the Italian exotics so they did get a lot of traffic. The Aero X was at last years NY show so I did not expect it again this year. SAAB also had the BIO-Power 9-5 there and it was open which I thought was very nice. You could get up close and personal, and yes the tail lights are very cool. The Jeep display again this year was by far the best. They set-up an impressive off-road course and gave rides in there products, a great way to promote your brand. I can’t say I was disappointed in the SAAB display other than they did not have anything new to display. Hopefully next year’s show will have the new 9-3 and 9-4X.

  5. Youd think theyd come up with an auto-show proof version(aluminum?) of what may be the best cupholder ever. It seems it is only easily broken by the under 12yo crowd.

  6. You’d think they’d at least call someone to fix the cupholder and shifter during off-hours so the car shows better . . . I’m sorry to hear about the downgrade in materials in the 9-5. Further beancounting by GM on the flagship model does not bode well. It’s a vicious cycle. GM continues to cut costs to cut losses, but I think that the more meat they cut from SAAB the more chance people will walk away from the cars when comparing them to other luxury Euro brands… I sure hope the new models show a confident investment in the quality of the brand rather than a “just better than Pontiac” mentality.

  7. Shifters: 90% of the cars I sit in, in auto shows, have shifters missing. The cupholder: it happens… It’s an auto show…

  8. I went to a local car and truck show here in Jacksonville, Fl, about a month ago, and 50% of the cars were missing shifters. I thought it maybe was a way to keep kids from playing with them.

  9. To Clarify my “perspective” on the NYIAS, I attended the show as a sort of “fly on the wall” observation of the general public and how they perceive our brand. Sort of a self-assigned homework project. I have a vested interest in Saab’s success and do my part on a daily basis to promote the brand. I also hear on any given day, the discontent of previous 9-5 owners when they look to replace their 3-4 year old vehicle with the “new” 9-5. “Not much to get excited about, huh?” is the usual response. Why change? Internal studies tell us that Saab buyers are logical individuals who are less apt to make emotional decisions when purchasing a new vehicle. GM brass seems to believe that the 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty now available on the 07 Saabs should be more than plenty to get any potential buyers with a pulse excited and in the drivers’ seat of a new Saab. These folks are not emotional, right? So how come they seem bored out of their minds when they sit in a new 9-5 or a base 9-3 sedan? Is that a “logical” or emotional response? Conversley, when I get people to sit in the new 60th Anniversary Editions, which in my opinion, Saab actually got right, do they express an emotion one might confuse with excitement and enthusiasm? Non-emotional buyers? No such thing. Whether or not the Aero X appeared at last years show is irrelevant. It worked. People were excited about the car and the future prospects of the brand. Why not show it again? Born from Jets? What in the world does that mean to the average consumer? I ask every prospective customer that sits across from me what that message actually means to them. 99% of the responses I receive are summed up in one word: “Nothing”. Yes, we have a great heritage. So did many others who now count themselves as extinct. Build an exciting car and maybe advertise the fact when you get it right. We are not looking for pilots. We are looking for people like you and me who do in fact get excited about a new car purchase. Give them something to get excited about. Bio-Power and the 5/100,000 just isn’t cutting it.

  10. Getting real sick of the Generals ways right now. Why stick with Saab if there not willing to market the brand? Ford sticks up for Volvo. Why can´t GM do the same thing for Saab? Well, it´s not as big as Volvo and does not generate as much money… Well duuuuhhh. As I said. Getting sick and tired. Well let´s try to make Caddy bigger than Saab in europe… Duuuhhhh…

  11. “We are not looking for pilots.”

    Actually… Saab had ad couple months ago saying something like ‘ pilots wanted’ or something?

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