A quick note from dealer-land

There are plenty of media outlets willing to write Saab off at the moment. I’ve contended several times on this website that the long-term future for Saab is very bright and it’s just a short-term cash crisis we have to concern ourselves with right now.

Any time you’ve got great people, a great plant, a great brand and most importantly, new product, then you’ve got something that people will be interested in.

AJ Murphy from Just Saab, Ohio (two outlets) left the following double-barrel story in comments last night and I think it speaks to the potential lying dormant in this brand. Of course, everything hinges on the production re-start, but once we get to re-launch this company again, there’s so much that we can achieve…..

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My first point:

Tonight we had a couple in looking at new Saabs. They own a new Cadillac SRX. They came to the store surprised that Saab still existed…Admittedly they fell prey to the media’s coverage of ‘GM’s shedding of brands’ ending when Saturn, Hummer, Pontiac and Saab were announced as the brands they’ll extract from their portfolio (another story).

They loved the ‘new’ Saab styling i.e. NG 9-5, 9-4x, and 9-3 sedan. They even gushed over the styling of the 9-4x. Particularly when I told them it shared architecture with their SRX. He admitted he liked Saab’s styling better…said the lines were more ‘natural’…as he pointed to his tail lights. 🙂

They left pleasantly surprised at what Saab had to offer. They were equally as baffled by why the message wasn’t being communicated (more effectively) that we’re not dead and that our product portfolio is so impressive (these folks were comparing us with the cream of the Euro crop: Merc, BMW, Audi, etc).

My second point:

We’re seeing increasing interest in the 9-4x. Sales are starting off far better than the new 9-5 did. The challenge is inventory…we have just 2 in Dayton and only one in Cincinnati. We’re having to buy from other dealers.

Despite all the forces pulling us down, people are still buying Saabs. And not just bargain-basement, giveaway-priced Saabs, either. 9-4s are selling at little discount off sticker which is a product of ‘right-pricing’, the Aero 9-5 is the best selling 9-5 in our store and the 9-5 is outselling the 9-3 combi, convertible and sedan…combined.

A good sign, right?

So, simply (<--tongue-in-cheek) get the news going in the right direction, re-start production, get us the inventory of 9-4's, and I assure you the North American dealers will get this train back on track. AJ Murphy Just Saab

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6 Comments

  1. Great to hear (read) this sort of IRL report from dealer. I have only one question that it seems no one can answer. At what pace are they producing the 9-4X in Mexico? 1, 5, 50 or 100 units a day, or what? OK, two questions. 🙂

    Besides the US what other markets are receiving the 9-4X? 
    The answers to those questions might be positive news injections to all out there in Saab land.

    1. StefanH_STHLM,
      From what I understand, the 2012 9-4X was supposed to start production on Aug 15th or there abouts and I’m not sure if that is still the plan or if that will be pushed to the 29th. The 2012 is what will hit the other markets, 2011 was a very small production year and was only for the US market. In Canada here, we have plenty of people who want a 9-4X and this is sure to be a good seller. Hopefully that answers your question the best that it can be answered right now.

        1. They were all for the US for MY 2011, how many they made I am not sure. I know some dealers had orders for 16 and have only received 4 so far, but I also know that when they release a new vehicle, they try to make sure every dealer gets 1 for release, so maybe there are still more being delivered to the dealers. I seem to remember that for 2011 they were going to produce 1000 or so 9-4X’s (Steven may know better then me) but I don’t know if that was the final number built.

  2. Just Saab is correct – the average American is unaware that Saab exists.  It must be frustrating for the dealers that there is no advertising happening.  If and when a new investor comes to Saab’s rescue, the second priority after getting the production line going is to start a media blitz to announce to the world that Saab is alive and kicking.

  3. I have spoken to AJ many times and he is definitely a dealer that does everything the right way and has been a huge help to me, I like to think we motivate each other to succeed. Just Saab is not the only dealer to still have people buying Saabs and the biggest challenge to dealers besides the lack of advertising is inventory or the right inventory. At Springman’s Saab this month we have a new 9-5, new 9-3 SC and a new 9-3 delivered so far which isn’t huge numbers but when you consider Canada as a whole delivered 20 cars, I think it’s heading in the right direction. Now we need to get production going again so that us dealers that have our 9-3 Independence models pre-sold and some 9-4X’s pre-sold can add to those numbers and we can stop talking about this funding and that funding and start to talk about “wow, did you see how many cars SAAB sold last month” it will happen, we just need to get it going again.

    Jason

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