Report: Saab to launch ad blitz, trim dealers

Bloomberg BusinessWeek have come out with a report today (no link yet, received via email) stating that Saab will soon launch an ad blitz to promote the new lease of life for the company and more prolifically, the new Saab 9-5.

“There’s a huge wave of media and communication” that will start in Sweden when the 9-5 goes on sale June 19, Adrian Hallmark, executive director of sales, said in a phone interview. Saab will spend more than $150 million on marketing in the second half of 2010 after spending “nothing” on promotions since the sale by GM, he said….

…..The Swedish carmaker will release the 9-5 in Belgium next week, the Netherlands the following week, and then other markets. U.S. dealers will start selling the car in early August, Hallmark said yesterday from the company’s North American headquarters outside Detroit…..

…..The marketing will feature “all media platforms” and include applications for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad, Hallmark said. Saab dealers will arrange “hundreds of test drives” for potential customers in each market. “It’s coming in waves, market by market, as the cars are imminent and start to get launched,” said Hallmark

The same report also speaks of dealer cutbacks, in what could be an interesting and controversial move.

The spending on promotion comes as Saab plans to reduce the number of dealers by 50 to 100, from about 1,000, by the end of 2011, Hallmark said. The move will reduce expenses such as manager visits to dealers, shipping, training and support, he said.

“If we have 10 percent less dealers and the same volume, those dealers make more money and we have less cost,” the sales chief said.

Note that that proposed cut of up to 100 dealerships is a global figure, so there’s plenty of geographical scope there.

There was significant criticism in 2009 when a proposal was put forward to cut one third of Saab’s US dealers. This was whilst Saab were under potential ownership of the Koenigsegg Group.

This is a much smaller cut in percentage terms and spread much wider in geographical terms, but it’ll be interesting to see who is cut and why.

More good work by Ola Kinnander at BBW.

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With regards to the advertising angle in that story, it’s good to see that print ads are already starting to appear in various markets.

This ad was in the Daily Telegraph on the weekend, sent in via email by IVR007:

I’ve also got it on very good authority that select US TV markets will soon see the following clip edited slightly and used as an advertisement:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hc0buYIZXI

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