Steve Shannon interview – part 2

Here’s part 2 of the interview I conducted with Steve Shannon last week.

I’ve broken the interview into bit-size pieces rather than one huge file, which Google was having trouble serving.

Part 1 of the interview is here.

In this instalment Steve talks about the year so far for Saab in the US, and share his thoughts on the US currency and any effects it might have on future pricing for Saab in the US.

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  1. Why would the dollar affect Saab prices when Saab is just a European division of GM, and GM sells plenty of American made cars in Europe (most notably Hummers), so it all evens out in the end?

  2. saablooser: I’m no economist, so I don’t claim to understand it fully either, but from what I understand when the U.S. dollar is weak it costs more to purchase imported goods (such as a car manufactured in Sweden) and it costs less for people in other countries to buy American-made goods (exports).

    Because the dollar is weak Americans will have to pay “more” for a Saab, meaning sales will likely decrease.

    As for GM cars sold in Europe they’re mostly manufactured within Europe, so they’re not affected by the weak dollar. There are not enough American-made vehicles sold in Europe to even-out that balance.

  3. I really like Mr. Shannon on a personal basis, but I question when he claims that early in the year Saab sales slumped along with the rest of the industry. Well, that may be true of the automobile industry as a whole, but I remember that Saab was the only carmaker in their segment to be down in sales. You might remember that Audi, for example, saw a sales increase in the same period.

    It’s difficult to link Saab sales to an entire industry as a whole and I think it would be better to compare to manufacturers in the same segment.

    Also if, as Mr. Shannon postulates, Saab sales in September and October were down due to not enough MY2008 9-3s making their way into the country (only about 1,500 rather than the 4,500 usually on hand, I think he said) does that mean Saab immediately sold ALL of those vehicles and Saab’s sales were down because they ran out of product? They could always start selling 9-5s and 9-7Xs, oh that’s right: they gave up on trying to sell those vehicles! 😉

  4. “does that mean Saab immediately sold ALL of those vehicles and Saab’s sales were down because they ran out of product?”

    Grip, of course not, but it means, as I think he said, that there were not enough cars in certain regions. There will always be a certain percentage of dealer inventory that doesn’t move because they are in a colour or spec that doesn’t suit the buyer. It is rare for any car to be so hot that buyers lap up whatever they’re given. Most buyers, especially in this segment want a particular colour or spec. This usually means a wait of weeks or months for the right car to enter the country. More cars on hand means more likelihood of having something for most every buyer.

    Of course you knew that and were just being cynical.

  5. turbin: thanks for clearing that up. So someone screwed up and sent too many cars here and too few cars there? So there are cars sitting on dealer lots unsold while lots are empty in other areas? Wouldn’t it be worth their while to ship the cars from one region to another? I know, that seems too easy. Best that they sit there unsold. 😉

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