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