European Delivery canned for 2008

Saab USA’s European Delivery Program has been canned for 2008.

I got an email about this yesterday but didn’t have time to post it prior to my early start on the 9-3 drive here in Australia. The email read as follows:

I heard this news today from my Saab dealer here in XXXXX……….He said that the European Delivery Program will be restarted in summer of 2008 for MY09 Saabs.

Which is a bummer, because it’ll be the deal breaker, I think, between the MY08 9-3 and the BMW 328xi.

Thought you might like to know.

And DenverNewbie has just emailed me a link to confirmation on Saab’s own website in the US:

Euro Delivery

——

So to the %#$@ing beancounters at GM that successfully pulled this off, congratu%@$#inglations.

There’s one sale above that you can put on your internal scoreboard as being lost. This program is a relationship builder and one that places Saab somewhere near their European competition in the US market.

Rediculous.

It’s noted that the notice above states that it will return in 2009. We’ll be watching for this ‘strengthened’ program and waiting to hear of the new elements.

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35 Comments

  1. I have days when I think Saab REALLY doesn’t want me to buy their product. These usually involve cuts and delays caused by said bean counters.

    Considering I was planning on buying a Saab next spring and looking forward to European Delivery, Saab and GM may have very well lost themselves another customer.

  2. The money saved from suspending the program for a year will most likely go towards advertising the new 9-3. Frankly, I think it’s a good choice, as long as the program really does return.

  3. No more EDP, no more Aero Academy included for Aero buyers, -22% drop in sales, large price increases for the 9-3. I am no expert in running a car company but it can’t be good for business.

  4. I feel like a victim of bad timing – I started looking at the EDP for a 9-3 Combi last fall and finally got into a financial position to order one in May (when the 08’s were imminent). I doubt that dealers will have the model I want in stock so I’d have to wait months for delivery anyway, and I’ve been itching for an excuse to travel to Europe.

    Other than Saab – Volvo isn’t offering the V70 for European delivery either (the 08 V70 isn’t available in the US yet). I’m not very fond of the V50, nor the Audi/VW variants.

    For me, that leaves Subaru as the remaining choice for wagons (without a European delivery option, of course, but already priced a bit lower than the 9-3). Either that or pray that Saab’s EDP discounts next year are worth more than the depreciation in my current car as I keep racking up miles (currently at 50K) 🙁

  5. This may actually work out good for me as I pushed my 93 purchase until the 09 model. That is if the program is really restarted (EDP).

  6. TimJ – I probably get yelled at for even suggesting this but how about a BMW 328I Wagon with EDP for $31,805? You’ll be pretty close to the 9-3 SC (29,360) but for $2000 more, you’ll get your European pickup plus a V6 engine, sunroof ($1200 option on the 9-3), iPod capabilities, better trade-in value and 4 year/50K miles free maintenance.

    On a side note.. I have been pretty negative about Saab lately but it seems they are making it very hard for people to like the brand and cars..

  7. Did the bean counters kill this? I’m not so sure given that they are definite about a return. I wonder why they would suspend it otherwise?

    Oh well. I’ve got my EDP: Buy a used 9-5 and use the difference to go to Europe!! Tee hee!!

  8. Maybe the GM bean counters figure that since they lose money on the EDP on top of the money they lose every time they sell a Saab for less than it costs to build, and they have to start charging Aero customers to attend the Aero Academy, so they figure that the best course of action is to not sell any Saabs! No sales has got to be better than losing money, right? 8)

    Conspiracy Theory: maybe GM will start an American Delivery Program for European buyers of Cadillacs. Come to Detroit and pick up your car! We’ll provide you a rental firearm. 🙂

  9. I’m curious to see what the new stuff is for EDP in ’09. Canning it for ’08 was a mistake though; why not continue to offer the old program while they work on strengthening the ’09 program?

    And the “no free Aero Academy” does tick me off. Gives you less incentive to go to the V6 Aero, and it was a good and unique selling point of the Aero- we’ll send you to driving school for free. I don’t think any other automaker offers that for free on any car.

    Free Aero Academy and EDP better be coming back for ’09…

  10. If Jeff’s theory is correct, I have to say I’ve seen that latest 9³ ad on television practically every commercial break. It’s on all the time.

    We’ll see on December 1 if it translated into real sales or not. I think there’s no more excuses. We can claim that the ’08 9³ was still just hitting dealerships during October, but they definitely should be at dealers by now if they started coming in September.

    I guess if sales are still down we can hope that people are holding-out for the Aero or the possibility of getting a Turbo-X, but it seems there’s always an excuse. Remember earlier this year when sales were down and we were speculating people weren’t buying ’07s because they were holding-out for ’08s?

    BTW, on that note we can add another thing to the list of seemingly disappointing Saab moves: the decision to not lease the remaining ’07s.

    I really hope they’re saving up a war chest for some master plan later in the model year we just don’t foresee.

  11. Beancounters or not, it is Saab’s fault at the end of the day – by being slow to react to market trends and the competition, they put themselves in a position to be bought out by a large multinational corporation, where all that matters are numbers.

    Saab’s legendary engineers are unfortunately offset by incapable managers. Forget Audi, just look at BMW and Porsche – they have become mighty conglomerates in their own right. Saab had no competitive disadvantage over these two companies 30 years ago.

  12. My guess for the hiatus would be the “priorities” alluded to in the Hirsch post. There are more important things to take care of, like getting the word out on this fantastic new car.

    Like Gripen, I’ve seen that new commercial about 52,000 times already. I hope hope hope it helps.

    My local SoCal dealer only has 3 or 4 ’08s on their lot at this time. I have yet to see one on the road here, but my friend sees ’08s in the wild almost daily in New Jersey.

  13. I hope they really mean it when they say they are “strengthening” it.

    What this feels like to me is that Saab wanted to make some changes to EDP, which caused the GM beancounters to interfere/intervene, and the bureaucratic turf war is not over.

    In the absence of a clear decision, they had to punt on ’08 (the program has to be in place by a certain date, in order to schedule the production).

    I had been thinking about European Delivery in conjunction with the Saab Festival in June ’09, but obviously we shall see what develops.

  14. Had I been in the position to actually buy a 2008 Saab 9-3 SportCombi *soon*, I would have gone with the EDP…and the cancellation of the EDP would then have meant No Sale as far as I’m concerned. Fortunately (perhaps), I’m not quite ready yet (financially) to pull the trigger. Maybe I just need to wait. Wait for the new 9-5, and wait for the EDP to come back. I hope Saab makes my wait worthwhile…

  15. When is manufacturing planned to be moved to Russelsheim? Isn’t the 9³ being phased-out at Trollhattan first, to be followed by the 9⁵ later? If the next-gen 9⁵ is to be released first how is that going to work? How many more years of EDP can one expect to take delivery of a car from Trollhattan? I’m thinking ’09 might be one of the last years of it.

    Unless they’re planning to have you go to Trollhattan to tour the Saab plant and watch production of Opels and they’ll deliver your new Saab from Germany to Trollhattan so it’s waiting for you to drive to a port for shipment to the U.S. That seems silly and a roundabout way to deliver your car. How does it work now if you take delivery of a ‘vert? Do they send it from Graz, Austria up to Trollhattan only for you to then drive it to a port for shipment to the U.S.? How can that be cheaper for them?

  16. A sad and stupid decision. I bought my ’06 9-5 Aero SportCombi through the Trollhattan delivery program and, based on my experience, it was a jewel that could scarcely have been improved upon. I had picked up two previous SAABs in Sweden–’80 and ’93–when the program operated from Goteborg. Both were good experiences but not in the same league as the last Trollhattan delivery, the highlight of which was being housed and fed at Ronnum Manor. I’ve been telling everyone I know that they should not only buy a SAAB, but also that they should do it through the European delivery plan. Guess I won’t do that anymore. I can’t believe that the program’s cancellation won’t cost SAAB more sales.

    I wonder if it’s just North American models that aren’t being delivered or if this decision affects SAABs for all markets?

  17. Gripen, in previous EDPs you could pick up your car in multiple cities as well as drop it off in multiple cities. Naturally most people choose to pick it up in Trollhattan.

    Lee, North America, the US specifically, is the only country that has the EDP, so it won’t effect any other markets.

  18. Thanks for the suggestion Wulf – I usually associate BMW with conspicuous consumption and I really don’t need six cylinders, but the 328i does compare favorably to the 9-3 Combi in terms of EPA Green Vehicles.

    Grip and Bejron – click on Wulf’s name to link to SaabMedia. The European Delivery program brochures are under the “SAAB” section. Besides Trollhattan, there were 17 other pick up location options in 2007. And at Trollhattan the delivery center is independent of the factory, plus you got a pass for the Saab Museum.

  19. I thought one of the points of picking up your car in Europe was to get the tour of the factory and museum. I know that there are various dropoff points all over Europe, but I thought there was only one pickup point (Trollhattan). I guess I was wrong. But who would go to Europe to pick up their Saab and forgo the factory and museum tours?

    TimJ: it’s a dirty little secret that Saab’s fuel efficiency lead over their “competition” (solidified 30 years ago after the adoption of a turbocharger to keep a smaller displacement and fewer cylinders, which also led to less engine weight) has almost entirely eroded to the point where the 2.0T 4-cylinder in the Saab 9³ is barely more frugal than the 3.0-liter inline-6 in the Bimmer (a difference of 1 mpg in city driving and combined). I guess all that money they put into engine R&D over at BM has paid-off while GM just gives Saab whatever global engines it has conveniently available for them to try to eek the most efficiency out of. Saab desperately needs more modern engines from GM. It’s ridiculous that they don’t have direct injection yet, IMHO. Also it’s ridiculous that SVC hasn’t been made to be commercially-viable seven years after the prototype won all those engineering awards.

  20. Grip, re the SVC. There was an article in Car this month on this. The principle is called Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI). Mercedes have developed something similar to SVC but they move the crankshaft. GM were quoted in the article as saying “its all about auto igniting the fuel mixture…you can do this by mixing exhaust gas and fresh gas…or compressing it harder by changing the compression ratio…variable compression was too complex”. In short a very good idea but they can replicate the effect more cheaply by being smart and to be fair I think it is Saab style thinking.Mercedes describe the system as “complex” so the mind boggles as to what can go wrong. No figure from GM but Merc are getting 238bhp from a 1.8 but no stats on MPG or CO2.

    As for EDP, yes ok bean counters, lcack of vision etc. but someone, somewhere is paying for it and looking at the scheme, it cannot be cheap. Any hard figures as to how many use it and how big a deal breaker it is? Cherry on top programmes are great when you are making bucket loads of cash but not so good if you are laying off people with mortgages to pay and kids to feed. Also is there any relationship between the exchange rate and the decision to drop it?

  21. To put the EDP’s relevance in perspective with customers here in US (of course this is limited to those people I have met), the conversation goes like this:

    “So, I hear I can save money if I pick up my Saab in Europe.” Once the realization sets in that by doing do, the customer gives up any available US incentive money in lieu of
    the EDP discount, which relative to the huge incentives that were / are available on MY07’s, the EDP savings are much less, the conversation usually comes to a screeching halt.

    “Give up incentive money? Guess I’ll travel to Europe some other time. : )”

    Enough said about that. Put the money into advertising.

  22. Hey everyone, let’s just see what happens. If you can believe it, me of all people defending Saab!

    If they bring it back next year and it’s better, then great, good move – isn’t that what we ask Saab to do every year – improve the product? Why they can’t do this while running the program I don’t know.

    The problem is with the US dollar so low, there has to be some monetary reasons behind this.

    The Saab museum is hardly the draw for this program. A good vehicle at a good price, now that is.

  23. I’m usually a poor speller, but it seems that you misspelled %@$#. The proper spelling is %#$@. At least you got it right the first time.

  24. Jon: I believe that Saab Variable Compression and HCCI are two different things. SVC was developed in the late 90s by Saab and HCCI is being developed by GM now. HCCI as I understand is like a diesel engine that runs on gasoline. Problem is, they haven’t yet made one that works above 50 mph or something like that. The SVC had a prototype running in a 9⁵ back in 2000. Around 2006 Saab acquired a new patent on the technology where they were doing it a completely different way (moving the crankshaft up and down). In late 2006 it was reported here at TS that while not a priority, Saab is still working on SVC.

    My point being, even if SVC doesn’t pan-out GM needs to provide Saab with more technologically-advanced competitive engines or give Saab the R&D money to do it themselves. Audi is getting very good fuel economy through use of direct injection engines and dual clutch transmissions. BMW is getting similar fuel economy to I4 Saabs using I6 engines and NO TURBO. Further, they’re starting to make some of their cars into “mild hybrids” with start/stop systems and regenerative braking and such. What has Saab got on the horizon? A hope that the next engine GM gives them has the same direct injection Audis have had for a few years now? It went so far as to Saab openly hoping for a D.I. engine in the press release for the BioPower100. Go back and read it!

  25. That is unfortunate. I have always been a Pontiac fan, EDP and the new ’08 9-3 is what really gained my interest in Saab. So much so I priced out tickets, put my current vehicle up for sale and started planning my trip.

    Saab may have lost another sale, at least in ’08. I might have to give the new Pontiac G8 a look in January ’08. I guess either way my $$$ go to GM.

  26. Wasn’t it mentioned previously that the EDP was going to be internally ugraded? Meaning, their logistics, tracking systems, etc?

  27. Gripen HCCI is what GM and Mercedes are both trying to achieve. GM dropped SVC due to compleity and cost, Mercedes is giong doing the (very) expensive and complex moving crankshaft route. Looking at the Car article SVC is dead but mixing the engine gasses will achive HCCI just as well as SVC could.

    Believe me I totally agree about the VAG and BMW systems for improving power and economy but I believe GM is using Saabs knowlege to improve its powertrains. Just a bit too slowly.

  28. I was skeptical when they first talked about enhancing the program for MY08. It seemed like corporate-speak for just the opposite, but I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Now we have the truth: no more EDP.

    It seems a stretch that EDP will be coming back, no matter what the web site says. After all, MY09 is the last for the 9-3 (by far the No. 1 model) to be produced in Trollhattan, right?

    So they’re going to bring back EDP for one year of the 9-3? Or just offer 9-5s for the 2010 EDP? Or let you pick up your Swedish car at the American corporation’s factory in Germany?

    It doesn’t make sense to bring back EDP in 2009. There’s just no good reason.

    For me, the EDP would’ve offered a good excuse to spend more on a car than I have before — a once in a lifetime experience. I still love the 9-3 Aero and the 2008 changes, but at this point, might as well wait for sure until next summer when huge discounts kick in.

  29. I sell Saabs for a living and have seen GM slowly erode the little things that make Saab unique…the most aggravating/dissapointing so far was the loss of real performance brakes on the 9-5 Aero when the car destyled two model years ago. The standard setup on the MY04 and MY05 was one of the best systems that I’ve ever experienced. What next, no cooled glovebox???

  30. These things like EDP really make the brand different from say a Chevy or a Honda. Like Woodman, I also wouldn’t have a bought a new Saab it it wasn’t for the unique experience of the EDP. It is something I always wanted to do and got me hooked to the brand in the first place. Maybe GM thinks they will loose a few sales but one sale lost could be a lost customer for life who could buy many more Saabs in the future.

  31. Swade- You really should start emailing me when you post about the EDP so I can tell you what I know.

    It will be back the second quarter of 2008.

    Im glad no one thinks I was “jumping the gun” earlier when I posted the program was dead. 🙂

    -K

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