Is Euro-Delivery under threat?

UPDATE – there is an answer to this question – posted here.

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OK, I’m not wanting to shout ‘Fire’ in a crowded theatre here, but this is important enough to warrant a posting with the promise of a follow-up to come.

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Saab USA’s European Delivery Program has been running for years. Under the program, US customers can order their Saab in the States and pick it up in one of a number of European destinations. They get to drive the car around in Europe or a while, drop it off at one of a number of ports for shipping back home.

You actually get the car cheaper doing it this way, plus you get a stipend from Saab to contribute toward your airfares etc. It’s a brilliant way of buying a new car and I’ve read a number of glowing testimonials about the program and I know of a number of people who are planning on using it to get a Saab in the future.

So it was a worry when I got a link to this post at the Saablink forum (a login may be reqd), from someone who picked up a vehicle in Sweden back in June:

the program’s dying and they may not have it at all this coming year. There were meetings in detroit with top ids people this last week trying to save the program. The fate is uncertain at this time but right now their is no program and its certain that there is no ice experience this year.

Now, first point – this is just a post on a forum at this stage. The fact that the person has recently had experience with the program lends it some credence, but other than that I don’t know the person nor their qualification to say this so definitively.

Second, the person refers to “ids”, which is usually in reference to International Diplomatic Sales, which is similar but different to the European Delivery program due to the narrow clientele of IDS. I don’t know whether the confusion is mine, the person who emailed me the link, or the person’s making the post at Saablink.

Third, at that Euro Delivery link above, it was noted that Saab budgeted for 300 Euro deliveries in 2006 and had booked 150 by the end of March 2006, so it seems the program was definitely in demand.

Finally, the Ice Experience – it’s a great marketing tool, but it must cost a bucketload of money to put on and I wonder if they recoup enough to make it worthwhile. Those who have been there certainly seem to have enjoyed it.

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So……I’ve emailed Saab USA to try and get some answers to this puzzle as I’m sure there’d be a lot of disappointed people if the European Delivery Program were threatened and personally, I’m pretty sure there’s some confusion about this and it’ll turn out to be more smoke than fire.

I’ll update this page as soon as I know what’s going on.

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17 Comments

  1. Well, I for one hope that this is just one of those Rumours on the Internets, because quite frankly, I’m not sure I’ll pull the trigger on a Saab if I can’t enjoy the $avings and the Experience of European Delivery. I know, that’s petty of me, but it’s the way I feel…

  2. craig: it’s just incentive to get us out to actually see that there’s a world outside of the U.S. Sadly it’s not more popular… 😉

    In another amazing coincidence (or not) I found that I have an EDP brochure sitting in one of the many piles here in my home office (right on top of the 2001 OnStar brochure I uploaded to Flickr a couple weeks ago!) from 2004. Now, it’s 3-years-old so the prices might have changed a bit but the program is just about the same.

    I’ve uploaded it as a “set” to my well-used Flickr page for your information, if you’re interested.

    I wonder what will happen with this program once 9³ and then subsequently 9⁵ manufacturing moves to Russelsheim, Germany in a couple of years. Can I get “Mexican Delivery Program” if I buy a 9⁴X (where they would pay me to just drive my new vehicle all the way home!!!) or “Ohio Delivery Program” if I buy a 9⁷X (where they would have to pay me to come to Ohio!?!?)? 😉

  3. I am certain that Saab does not offer an Ohio Delivery Program, and will not offer a Mexican Delivery Program.

    But I’ll wager a fair amount you’ll be able to pick up your Russelheim-made Saab in Trollhattan.

    At least that I was expect to do, when I buy a 9-5 Mark II in 2-3 years time.

  4. Germany and Sweden are not that far apart so the cost of shipping the cars to Trollhattan will not be that much. Convertibles are part of the EDP and they are built in Austria. But it definitely takes away from the whole experience when you do the factory tour in the future and see Opels instead of Saabs being built.. I did the EDP last year and it was the best experience ever. I have some more brochures and other stuff here: http://saabmedia.net/saab/edp/inthepress/saabstory/index.html

  5. I just remembered another detail from the 2008 SAAB 9³ U.S. media launch event in Washington D.C. about a month ago: when someone brought-up the subject of the European Delivery Program it was explained to us by Jan-Willem Vester of SAAB USA that many other European auto manufacturers offer a similar program, but they pay for your airfare as well. SAAB has noted that today many people would prefer to spend frequent flier miles they’ve accumulated or otherwise take care of their own airfare expenses, so SAAB offers the $2,000 stipend in lieu of paying for the round-trip airfare to Sweden from the U.S.

  6. When I was checking out the different european delivery programs last year (before I was absorbed into the Saab cult), the one from Saab was the best deal if you’re doing the EDP by yourself like me. I think air fare was only about US$700 for one person so I came out ahead $1300 compared to other programs where they just pay for your air fare.

  7. the person who made this comment, works for saab, along with a family member of theirs… that certain family member works on european delivery stuff specifically… so i think it’s safe to say this isnt bs.

    the ‘person’ might chime in here to comment :):)

  8. Thanks Saaboy. I don’t get to forums enough these days so I’m not sure who everyone is. Now that you’ve written this I have a fair idea who you might be referring to.

    Not sure if they’d appreciate you using the word person in inverted commas, though 😉 so watch your back!

    And if that person is who I think, and does want to chime in, I’d encourage you to use a pseudonym to do so, but your regular email address so that I can identify you. The comment will need to be approved as it’ll be a first time combination of name and email, but I’ll get to that as soon as I see it.

  9. i believe the ””@#&(*^$@””'””‘””person””””/$%^#(”'””‘$%^*#'”””””” has already commented on here a few times

    hopefully it wont be hard for them to do so again.

    I hope european delivery program doesn’t die.
    this ””@#&(*^$@””'””‘””person””””/$%^#(”'””‘$%^*#'””””””‘s family member gave me the whole run down on the benefits and such of everything. It’s a great deal! If I can ever afford a new Saab, i would def look forward to ordering it through this program.

  10. Mexico could be cool, I think… Lot’s of Swedes go there anyway. As long as they don’t invent something were you go to the mothership in Detroit, shake hand with Lutz and pick up your pimped 9-7X. As they said in Top Gear: Don’t go to America.

  11. This would really be a shame. Everyone who has done it appears to have loved the experience.

    I’m not sure what Saab is thinking. It can’t be costing them too much.

  12. I dont check in often to trollhattansaab.net so next time a certain #&%#*(%)#@PERSON#@&*(#$&@( should send me a text message like they do about 10,000 other things every day. 🙂 You guys are goofy.

    The emails with saab USA certainly make things look brighter but as of now no program is in place. Its no longer on saabs website, you cannot order an IDS car right now, and ive been told that their is no ice experience this year which has in past years been a HUGE HUGE thing for the european delivery program. Im hoping to see things improve and have the program “reborn” like they say it is going to be in the emails. I know what those meetings were for though and what the IDS representatives from sweden were in fact in detriot trying to do for the program. Everyone keep your fingers crossed… I know I am.

    Having gone on 5 IDS and saab dealer/IDS trips I am the last person wanting to jump the gun on saying the IDS program has gone under.

    Its always a waiting game with GM, isnt it?

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