Saab Gay Motorsports Team?

I’ve covered Saab’s standing in the gay motoring searches for some time now, not because the standings themselves are of particular importance, but because Saab has consistently rated pretty highly in them.

This is a new angle on the Saab-LBGT ‘relationship’ that I was a little more surprised to see. It’s been reported on two different sites and there’s a couple of curious parts to the story:

Racing fans are in for a surprise at this year’s first annual Fireball Run Transcontinental Rally as GLEE.com, the Gay Lesbian & Everyone Else online social-networking community announces its partnership with Saab Automobile USA and Gaywheels.com to partake in the event.

Standing out among 100 teams, Team G.L.A.M. will be the first-ever “out” gay rally team to participate in a cross-country racing event. Led by Evan Darling, an openly gay, 14-year racing veteran, and Joe LaMuraglia, Gaywheels.com founder and CEO, the team promises not only to win the race, but to do it in style while promoting a good cause.

excerpt from Gaywired.com, first of the two links noted above

Curious thing #1

Saab USA are actually partnering and sponsoring the team, according to this report. I’ll be writing to Saab shortly to get confirmation of this as they haven’t said anything and this is the only source that claims that connection.

Saab are regarded as a gay-friendly car company, which means they extend the same offerings to LGBT partners as they would to hetero couples. I’d imagine this can make a difference when it comes to obtaining employee discounts or finance through the dealer etc. Whilst Saab are happily gay-friendly, is it a positive marketing exercise and a good use of Saab’s reportedly limited budget for such things to be partnering a LBGT rally team for an event?

I really don’t know, hence the question. Despite the saying to the contrary, there really is such a thing as bad publicity. Whilst providing support to a LBGT team in a charity event isn’t bad, there’s a bunch of wowsers out there who will portray it as such, and I’m just wondering if that’s something that Saab needs as it tries to build some momentum behind the 2008 Saab 9-3.

All that’s dependant on whether or not that official relationship exists, which I’ll check out with Saab USA.

Curious thing #2

I don’t want to perpetuate a stereotype here, but this is a car-based event.

I just found it funny that the press release talks about winning the event with style and how gays can be avid motorsports people as well, all of which is totally true…..

….but they neglect mentioning what model Saab they’ll be driving.

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19 Comments

  1. I would make a smart remark about curious thing #2, but I’ll refrain. If I were to tell it in person, I cold make it sound self effacing enough.

    Read my comments on using homosexuality to segment car buyers here.

    To directly answer the question, no, I DON’T think that targeting homosexual groups and activities are a good way to market Saabs any more than it would be effective to market Saabs to a group of people that are into S&M sex or to a bunch of guys that only date Asian women. It just makes no sense to me.

  2. Well, S&M and only being into Asians are preferences, while sexual orientation is hardwired into a person (or so I’ve heard, apparently it isn’t a choice, either you are or you aren’t). It’s the same as marketing to black people or women. Frankly, I don’t give a rip what gay people do in their spare time, but if it helps sell Saabs, then I’m all for it.

  3. A representative of Gaywheels was present at the media event in San Diego for the SAAB 60th Anniversary. I for one think that it’s good that SAAB embraces the LGBT and any other community, but I understand the question of whether it’s okay to sponsor a LGBT event possibly at the detriment of some other event. I mean, if they’re going to sponsor this event why not sponsor some other small motorsports event? I can understand why they’d not want to sponsor the 24 Hours of LeMons, but perhaps a local rally team or something? Maybe they do and we just don’t hear about it? If so, that’d be a really ineffective method for PR…

    Subaru has supported the gay community for years and from what I can see it has paid-back in spades. Subaru (and SAAB on a lesser scale) seems to be the vehicle of choice for the LGBT community in California (and there’s a LOT of people in that demographic). Gays seem to be very loyal to brands who support them and their causes. For small marques like SAAB and Subaru that could earn them some serious green.

  4. I’m with Gripen. Funds are not limitless and should go towards events that have broad appeal (as many people as possible) not a small segment.

    If gays or any other group like them thats good. They can attend these events just like anyone else.

  5. I own two Saab’s a 93 (2002) and a 95 (2001) and enjoy reading this website almost everyday.

    However I am very disappointed with Saab’s obsession with the homosexual community. (a section of this comment has been edited by the administrator)

    Truth is not defined by what feels right but by what God has declared to be right through the Bible. Homosexuality is an abomination to God. I am not homophobic. I love homosexuals, that is why I share the Gospel with them. Everyone has broken God’s Law by lying, stealing, lusting, hating and blaspheming. That is why we need a saviour!
    God has provided a saviour in Jesus Christ and God commands all men everywhere to repent and trust in Christ because there is a day of judgement coming.

    If Saab do not change their marketing I will not continue to support Saab.

  6. OK, now is the time I remind everyone that this isn’t a post about sexuality, except as it relates to the story at hand.

    I’ve approved Michael’s comment in the moderation queue because on the whole, it reflects his belief and doesn’t flame anyone in particular (though I’ve edited one section that I felt was inappropriate). Similar reflections of people’s beliefs are OK, but should this turn into a flame-a-thon I will close the comments for this post quicksmart.

    Please keep things focused on the subject of the post and preferably impersonal.

  7. This is the Fireball Run website. Apparently, the cause of this transcontinental rally is to find missing children.

    Also edited as Jeff addressed the bit that was edited out of Michaels comment. SW

  8. I think we need to keep things in perspective. If the brand I have supported and thrown so much money at it for 5 solid years and am planning to support and commit for aeons to come, then they better represent the values which drawn me to the marque in the first place. I do not give a hoot who buys it – so long as the sexual orientation of the buyers is not rammed into my throat. I have a level head and I can make my own choices, I do not need someone’s sexual orientation to cloud my judgment. If I need that, I would go to their sponsored events. Swade – please keep the focus and let us enjoy Trollhattan Saab what it has represented since day one and hence the reason why I keep refreshing the page a minimum of 12 x a day. Inasmuch as I support Michael’s view, I do not think this is the place. Marketing has a lot to do with demographics, but Trollhattan Saab is not about market segmentation, but about the ethos of the Saab brand. Keep the flame Swade and you will have happy surfers even as remote as some of us are.

  9. Can i just move the subject a little. I’m having a bit of a lapse in the faith.

    I am/was dead set (Yes swade i’m an Aussie) motivated to get the new 9-3 coming here in Nov.

    However, after receiving the disappointing news that the XWD won’t be an option for some time AND biopower won’t be either i have strayed from the flock somewhat.

    I’ve been checking out info on the new BMW 1 series, partic the coupe. I’m kind of hoping BMW will do the BMW thing and grossly overprice the thing, because i like the sound of it otherwise.

    Someone bring me into line here….

  10. craig – You’d be paying way too much for something that looks like it was designed by a 5 year old and then run through a car crusher. Did that help dissuade you?

    I don’t think it would be too hard to wait 5 months for XWD, especially if the alternative is driving around in a car with design language that says, “Abuse me, I already look like I’ve been t-boned a few times!”

  11. Since I know some LBGT (mostly bi- and lesbian girls), I can say that stuff like this not always go down well with the “community” in large. At least in Sweden, they just want to be treated like the rest of the “us”. I mean, they can live their lives the same as “we” can and that is what the absolute majority want to – without everyone all the time making references to their sexuality. Things like this just make lots of people think that everything they do are affected by their sexuality and that they are some really strange creatures, and that is not true. It wont help the issue in large. Its too often just a way for a very small (but very loud) group of people to get in the media for no reason at all on behalf of a much larger community who just want to get on with their life.

  12. Michael,

    I would like to publicly disagree with you on Saabs purported ‘obsession’ with the GLBT Community. I personally have never seen any targeted advertising to this effect. This sponsorship would be the first such targeted marketing Saab have undertaken (to my limited knowledge, at least)

    Second and more importantly, while you are always welcome to your own opinion, I find your stance and homosexuals outdated, and bigoted.

    My father is gay. I am not, but I run a gay fiction wesite for him. I fond nothing wrong with his lifestyle or choices. The bible is not the only moral guide in this world.

    I apologise for the off topic post, and ignoring Swade’s specific directions not to stray from topic, but I felt this needed to be said.

  13. The AFA has successfully boycotted Ford in Texas and other conservative states for advertising to homos.. Some present owners may do this on their own. Who knows what’s happening out there.
    If Saab is to make ‘capture sales’ and expand they need to court the other set. They’ve already got their share of quirky profs, gays and other libs.
    I don’t see them advertising on Rush.

  14. The negative feels seem to arise from the fact SAAB selectively sponsored this event – if they sponsor other racing events, then this particular sponsorship will not stand out from the crowd.

    I can only presume they did this for a marketing purpose. My feeling on this issue is then nutrual.

    I agree with what ctm says. I also do not see this is as negative thing if the team approached SAAB and got the sponspoship. They need to get their cars from somewhere, if it’s not SAAB, it could have been FORD.

    Remember news men needs to make points in their stories, and this would be the easiest point for them to grasp onto. Who knows if the team really wanted to be singled out.

    And let it be noted I refrained from replying to your comment Michael.

  15. Ying,

    “Remember news men needs to make points in their stories, and this would be the easiest point for them to grasp onto.”

    Good point. Easy to forget. We ususally only see what they think is news, and then see it the way they think of it.

  16. Michael –

    You speak of “Saab’s obsession with the homosexual community.” I see it as an obsession with selling cars, pretty much like other manufacturers. They market to audiences that tend to get a good bang for the buck. Gays have a decent amount of disposable wealth, and SAABs are viewed as an independent-minded person’s car. So, there’s a connection.

    Like Ying, I will refrain from replying to Michael’s comments.

    Can, can we talk about cars, especially SAABs, again?

  17. I see no problem with SAAB sponsoring a team in this event. If I am not mistaken, SAAB also sponsors JL Racing in Canada and Per Eklund in Europe and I don’t see anyone complaining about that. I think SAAB needs to go after people that will buy their products, and I think that is called MARKETING. It is no different than them going after dog owners, women, African-Americans, people with incomes over $150,000 yr., or aliens living in Roswell New Mexico. If there is an event where a group of people in SAAB’s demographic are gathered, then they need to be there. Frankly, I would be more upset if SAAB sponsored a 9-7X to be in a monster truck event as their money would be wasted on a audience that would not know a SAAB from a Honda.
    I also find the Bible reference wholly inappropriate. The fact that this is a Gay team and has overshadowed the reason for the event, to find missing children, is shameful. As a Christian myself, I find the the fact that SAAB is sponsoring a team (ANY TEAM) in a fundraiser to help find missing children far outweighs the fact that the team is gay.

  18. Making a long story short: Simon A and Ying are pretty much spot on. No gay members in my immediate family, but I do know some. It’s caused me to change my thinking. They should be treated like everyone else and this shouldn’t be news. It should be news that Saab is supporting a worthwhile charity.