US Saab sales – November 2007

I have about 2 minutes to write here, so I’ll just ask “where is it all going wrong?”

ctm’s shot through the US figures as well as the Swedish figures last night, which were great.

Obviously there’s problems elsewhere in the market as the downward trend seems to be across the board. But with the 2008 model now well and truly ‘out there’ I’d have expected a bounce in 9-3 sales at least.

Due to time constraints (travel day today) I’ll just cut and paste his email here. Thanks ctm!


GM passenger cars
Nov: -4.5%
Jan-Nov: -8.2%

Passenger Cars – Nov (Jan-Nov)
Buick: -27% (-24%)
Hummer: -30% (-22%)
Pontiac: ±0% (-13%)
Saab: -20% (-9%)
Chevrolet: -11% (-6%)
Cadillac: -1% (-5%)
Saturn: -17% (+8%)

Nov: 1693 (2100), -19.4%
Jan-Nov: 25298 (27661), -8.5%

Nov: 0 vehicles (65)
Jan-Nov: 118 (1358), -91.3%

Nov: 1432 (1623), -11.8%
Jan-Nov: 21206 (21999), -3.6%

Nov: 261 (412), -36.7%
Jan-Nov: 3974 (4304), -7.7%

9-7X (truck)
Nov: 310 (397), -21.9%
Jan-Nov: 4665 (5153), -9.5%

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  1. Swade what matters to GM is the Cadillac is doing well! 😉
    Note that the lag time for North America MY08 sales is behind Europe because of the boat transpo, we just got the new model at dealers 1 month ago. Also bad timing for new model delivery as Christmas hits, 2007 on sell out deals and the US/Cdn parity thing not a good issue right now. The sales of MY08 9-3 will show up in the end of Q1 and start of Q2. I do not hink that BioPower will help Canadian East market sales based on limited pumps, 3 in Ontario the largest most populated province!

  2. There are three things americans look for in cars now. I should actually say, “expected.”

    Bluetooth. Gas Mileage. Price.

    Saab got one of the three right. You can decide which one it is.

    I’m not surprised at all by these numbers (sad to say).

  3. I would be scared, but this is directly related to GM not giving Saab enough ad money. Bluetooth has nothing to do with this.

  4. The new C-Class is doing well, sales jumped 56 percent to 6,920 compared to November 2006. It would be interesting to see the numbers from VW, Volvo and BMW in a few days.

  5. Oh, wait, I forgot to say something:

    Neither of my parents nor my stepdad looked for Bluetooth when they bought their new premium cars. It doesn’t have as much to do with sales as some might think.

  6. It’s not Bluetooth.

    Partly it’s the underlying economic issues in the country.

    Partly it’s the lack of advertising for Saab (especially the fact that ’08s *really are* new and improved) — I wonder if SaabUSA is waiting for XWD to be available to unleash its marketing on the public, though.

    And partly it’s that the ramp up to the ’08s is taking awhile, inventory-wise

    Those would be my guesses. Plus that fact that no one pays attention to anything Saab does, as a general proposition.

  7. Personally, I think it is inventory-or the lack thereof. I live in Houston and had to fly to Denver and drive back my new MY2008 2.0T because by the end of October there were only _two_ MY2008 9-3’s in all of Texas.

    Secondly, yes, Saab needs more-and better quality-advertising. Many of my coworkers buy cars in the segment that Saab plays in and I feel the Saab brand just isn’t in their minds when they’re car shopping. Saab needs a huge marketing push like the one that is turning Cadillac around as we speak. A few more models wouldn’t hurt either…

    Finally, I think Bluetooth has a minor impact on most buyers’ purchasing decisions. Yes, I work with a few guys who are gadget happy and have to have satnav, bluetooth, etc, but for most people (including myself) it is a “nice-to-have” but definitely not a deal breaker. After all, I bought the Saab didn’t I?

  8. when viewed in light of other gm brands, saab’s numbers don’t seem out of line, considering:

    1. the first money gm spends goes to cadillac, which is down 5% for the year in sales. with all the new stuff cadillac gets (“kate [yawn] walsh,” 80gigabyte hard drives, sapelli wood accents, etc.), how can one blame saab for low sales when it has nothing new to sell? what’s cadillac’s excuse? and

    2. saturn, which is up 8% for the year, got new products.

    consumers wanted fresh products, not just minor changes (saab); or better materials or added “features” (cadillac).

    it’s amazing, the wasting of resources, especially to make an aero trailblazer. and to develop xwd (instead of basic awd) is a time luxury that’s ill afforded.

  9. I am not sure that Cadillac sales are good at all. Down 5% vs. Saab 9% YTD. Look at the money invested in new models and advertising for Cadillac in the US, vs. Saab. Certainly sales in Sweden have taken off for Saab because of Diesel and Ethanol. I am not sure of the down side of introducing in the States. It could generate added sales to the 9-5 as we await the new model.

  10. Within several miles of where I live there are a variety of GM dealers. I have to go to the next state over, Vermont, or even occasionally, Ontario, the closest dealers, for sales and servicing. Not everyone would be as happy as I am to do so. Saab dealers are sparse—and that likely has more to do with low sales than any other issue.

  11. I haven’t seen a single Saab TV or print ad since the new MY08 car year began. I’ve only seen web ads for Saab at car sites like Edmunds.

    I think inventory is scarce and as mentioned earlier, they are still discounting MY07’s in most regions.

    Has Saab released new US TV ads for the MY08’s?

    Finally, I don’t think too many resources were used creating the 97X Aero– Saab just placed a manufacturing order for some 97X’s with the Trailblazer SS 6.1L V8 Corvette engine dropped in. The SS already has the Saab engineered suspension and this engine. I’m just surprised Saab still bothered to offer the 5.3L V8. Why sell a vehicle that will only do about 5000 units per year with 3 difference engines? The 4.2L I6 and 6.1L V8 Aero would be plenty of options for this vehicle.

  12. The reason I don’t think it’s advertising is because it’s all over the place, but I do live in the Northeast. I see the new 9-3 commercial all the time, and during primetime, sportscenter, football…all the big shows.

    When I said bluetooth I was speculating. Heck, I bought an 07 without it, but then again, that’s part of the reason I DIDN’t buy a MY08.

    I do think the lack of bluetooth can be a deal breaker, especially amongst younger buyers. Sure people’s parents might not care, but why would they? Mine barely know how to use their cell phones.

  13. Low inventory is definitely a huge part of the dismal sales figures – heck, my local Saab dealer only had a MY08 Aero for display in mid-November.

    But the major issue is the lack of models… I am happy to buy a new 9-3 Turbo X after having owned a 9-3 sport sedan already, but what is there for other buyers? The 9-5 is, in all honesty, dated and (post-facelift) ugly. The 9-7X looks unappealing, even when you know it’s powered by a Corvette engine. Saab cannot ride on the 9-3 alone, this is suicidal.

    Thankfully, the boneheads over at GM seem to have finally realized that the brand needs new products, so I am generally optimistic about years to come.

  14. Someone email this idea to Saab! Hold on, whay the heck dont I do it!

    We all know that the XWD is coming with eLSD so why not do a little controversial advertising to gain a little notoriety by having an ad showing said car carving up a windy road and flashing “Saab eLSD, its even more addictive than the real thing!” on the screen at the end of the ad! A little ‘negative’ press could be good for Saab.

  15. PS….. Saab9x, I wholeheartedly disagree with you on the XWD front as XWD is going to kick some serious butt when the car gets compared with , uh-hum, those Teutonic cars.

  16. Inventory has been slow arriving here in Las Vegas. The dealership finally got some ’08s in November, but selection has been very limited…

  17. I don’t think it has anything to do with bluetooth or not, advertising or not. Lets face it. They had the 9-2X which everybody remotely interested in cars knew was a Subaru. And now it’s gone, and they are down to 3 cars. The 9-7X that the same people know is not a real Saab, and it’s trying to compete in their own favorite game – trucks. Then there is the 6 year old 9-3 that is trying to go premium with a face-lift, and the 10 year old 9-5. What other brand (domestic or foreign) on the US market could still be on that market with a model lineup like that?

    Maybe is it just that people don’t like the cars? Plain and simple?

    In Sweden, with 9 million people, there are probably over 100 dealers that sell the Cadillac BLS. It got a huge amount of free press due to the fact it’s developed and built in Trollhättan. It’s available with a diesel and as a wagon. It’s based on a car that for years has been in the top 4 on list of sold cars. Still, it doesn’t sell.

    Sometimes, a product just isn’t right for a market.

  18. One opinion from the trenches(Saab Salesman).WAKE THE F… UP SAAB!
    The lack of Bluetooth issue is an on-going deal breaker… say nothing of the potential buyers we never see who cross the car off their audition list before we ever see them!The Euro spec. car having Bluetooth for two years now only makes the force feed Onstar personal calling motive that much more obvious!Second Point…..9-3 lease’s for returning lessees are averaging $75-$100 more than their 3 or even 2 year old current leases.I consider myself a pretty good salesman but thats a significant bump to sell.Third point…..It’s hard to sell a virtually non-existant product!9-5 inventory on the east coast is on average 2-3 vehicles per dealership and 9-5 Sport-combis barely qualify as a”rumor”.Fourth and last:Why do we have to wait until Spring before we see the X-Wheel drive 9-3’s that Europe already has on sale.Here in the NorthEast U.S. Spring traditionally follows Winter… know..the season when we have stuff like snow and sleet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. wpbond69: the MY08 9³ television commercial was quite ubiquitous a short time ago. It was the one we discussed here at TS where the CGI fighter plane burnt-off the old 2007 body and revealed the 2008 body underneath. They were even buying some expensive prime time ad slots during some of the highest-rated shows on television, such as The Office.

    As for the prospect of 9⁷X Aero sales, talk about a vehicle that’s not getting enough promotion! If it weren’t for TS I wouldn’t even know this model exists! Speaking with a Saab USA rep I’ve learned that they don’t really expect a great deal of volume sales out of the 9⁷X Aero, so they probably don’t deem it worthy of spending any promotional funding.

    You’d think the decision not to lease 2007 models would result in greater 2007 sales, but I guess that’s not the case. 9⁵ sales seem to find a way to drop below rock bottom. I didn’t think their measly sales could get worse, but I’ve been proven wrong. Just from last November (not exactly a boom month for 9⁵ sales in the first place) sales are off 36.7%! When do they start giving them away? I’m first in line! 😉

    zippy: I don’t think most potential Saab buyers would know or care what eLSD is. And the “it’s more addictive than the real thing” had me confused for quite some time before I figured-out what you were alluding to. When I read “the real thing” I was thinking of Coca-Cola’s old slogan (“it’s the real thing”).

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