2011 New York International Auto Show Update

In less than a month, I’ll be reporting again for SaabsUnited at the New York International Auto Show. Last year, you’ll remember Saab’s stand was next to GM in the place where Hummer would have been if GM hadn’t decided to shut them down. It was squeezed way in the back, behind Acura and Hyundai, next to Scion. In other words, it looked like a forgotten brand, with barely enough room for 4 cars.

This year, it looks like they’ve received a major upgrade.

That’s right, Saab is sandwiched between Porsche, Audi, the Exotics (Lamborghini, Spyker, Lotus), Acura, and Jaguar. If you ask me, they’re in the best spot in the entire hall– with over a million visitors to the show, it’s nice to see Saab surrounded by the right company. As a side note, GM is in a completely separate hall connected by a tunnel. This year, there will be no mistaking Saab for a GM brand.

The new 9-5 Sportcombi and PhoeniX concept will both be on hand making their North American debut, as well as the regulars from past shows. Saab’s press conference is scheduled for the second press day, Thursday April 21 from 10:30-10:50 AM, and I’ll be streaming it live on UStream directly to the front page of the site. Given that the 9-4x hits US dealers very soon after the show, this is a pivotal moment for Saab Cars North America, a reboot if you will. I’ll have interviews and news, and just like we’ve been doing all this past year, the character of the site will be transformed to reflect the New York show. More details to come.

As Tim said below, please feel free to send in your own experiences from the show and we’ll be happy to share your accounts and pictures with the entire site. The show runs the last week of April, from the April 23-May 1.

Jason Powell
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

Jeff,
What an upgrade from last years spot. I agree, I cant think of a better spot for Saab to be. I hope the PhoeniX will generate a lot of buzz again as it makes its North American debut. The 9-4X will be sure to turn some heads and get some excitement going. It’s shows like this that make me wish I could be there and a part of the excitement.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 5 months ago

What would make the PhoeniX really convincing is to fire it up and drive it around. We’ve been harping a bit on it being a fullconcept including engine(s), it would be nice if we could the see the thing actually move.

Jake
Guest
Jake
5 years 5 months ago

I’d like to see the PhoeniX drive through the show to the stand, while security holds spectators aside. But, you can’t drive vehicles in buildings like the Jacob Javitz Center, so at least drive it through a popular part of the city with a large “SAAB at the NYIAS” decal on the side, revving it’s turbo head off until it makes it back to the show. Now THAT would get Saab some attention!

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 5 months ago

There is the inner roadway which is used for camp Jeep, not sure if the PhoeniX is up to that.
Anyway, it’s time to show that this is a working concept, not just a pretty face.

StefanH STHLM
Guest
StefanH STHLM
5 years 5 months ago

Or paint it in another color? Maybe glowing red! 😀

Toby
Guest
Toby
5 years 5 months ago

More stand pics please!! especially of the SC and PhoeniX!

Tomas TL1000R
Guest
Tomas TL1000R
5 years 5 months ago

Replace the rims and paint to something more nice on the PhoeniX! Then we have a new car to show, that would be great!

Beren Erchamion
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

My son and I are going – last year the stand wasn’t that bad, but it was kind of hidden. Having the Phoenix and the 94 will help quite a bit.

Haven’t decided what day we’ll be there. The dates are a bit screwy since it falls on Easter.

beren

Jake
Guest
Jake
5 years 5 months ago

And to think that I’ll be there! Fantastic news! I really can’t wait.

hughw
Guest
hughw
5 years 5 months ago

And Swade’s placement? WHen will he be at the show? Will he be the one to drive the PhoeniX through Times Square?

Pedro
Guest
Pedro
5 years 5 months ago

NY and the whole NE of the USA are a natural market (THE natural market?) for SAAB; good to see them in a spot with such interesting neighbors! 😉

hughw
Guest
hughw
5 years 5 months ago

Yes. NY is a natural market. How embarrassing that there is no dealer in Manhattan.

Alex
Guest
Alex
5 years 5 months ago

This same problem exists in other markets, I live in San Francisco and there isn’t a dealer on the peninsula, driving across the bay bridge and out to the suburbs for service is a huge inconvenience and cost. I hope SCNA takes a really close look at dealers soon.

hughw
Guest
hughw
5 years 5 months ago
yes. i do live in the city. As you say most people who live in Manhattan don’t do a lot of driving IN THE CITY. But a lot of people in the city own automobiles and use them to drive OUT OF THE CITY for work, or to country homes. There are hundreds of thousands of Saab type demographic potential owners in Manhattan. As far as the outer boroughs are concerned, there are 4 boroughs, and yes, there may be more driving with them, but only one, Brooklyn, has a dealer. And there is probably far more potential Saab buyers… Read more »
Jim
Guest
Jim
5 years 5 months ago

Having just visited NYC, it impressed me that a lot of 9-3 sedans and a good number of 9-5 wagons were being driven in some very high rent areas (expensive parking etc).

This kind of visibility in the real world is crucial to the brand.

74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 5 months ago

Im hoping to free up some time to go since it’s not too far from Philly.

CJ
Guest
CJ
5 years 5 months ago
Gerrit I don’t like to blame anyone and don’t think this the right approach. Like it or not, Saab really suffered over the last several years – it isn’t the good people – it ws GM, the sale, etc. Turnarounds are tough and messy and this one is as well. I’m pretty sure SCNA is redefining what a Saab dealer is, and what the customer experience is. I wish they could “clone” the Daryl, A.J., or Ken types – they are the soul of the brand here, no? They are out there – It may take time to find them.… Read more »
74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 5 months ago

BUT!…..SOME dealers sometimes don’t help themselves.

I have a story about what happened yesterday at a local Saab dealer that will make blood boil to most Saabers. I have forwarded to to the staff at SU for review to see if it’s worthy of a complete thread to air some dirty laundry.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 5 months ago

As long as no names are mentioned, always leave the door cracked open a bit to give the sinner a chance to repent.
Dirty laundry should go to SCNA, they should deal with it.

74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 5 months ago

@GerritN, this was their second chance…

saabdude
Guest
saabdude
5 years 5 months ago

Wasn’t Storms.

…and the SAAB/VW dealer I also worked for briefly…and let’s just say that SAAB made a huge mistake with them…and found out the hard way at the time…but couldn’t do anything after the fact.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t like to blame individuals either but I think we can expect SCNA as an organization to accept responsibility and take action, the clock is ticking.

“I’m pretty sure SCNA is redefining what a Saab dealer is, and what the customer experience is.”

That’s why I invited dealers to share their experience what they feel that SCNA is doing to improve the dealer ‘experience’, both for dealers and customers.
Until we hear those opinions I think we have pretty much exhausted this thread.

CJ
Guest
CJ
5 years 5 months ago

Stingray

Multi brand or stand alone dealer?

I agree with G, the folks at SCNA would want to know…after the owner of the dealer was informed.

74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 5 months ago

CJ, They called themselves “stand alone” but share name of a multi car conglomerate…. odd.

@ GerritN, I did mention the name of the dealership and leave it to the SU staff to decide whether or not to go with it using the name, taking name out or not using the article at all.

hughw
Guest
hughw
5 years 5 months ago
Look CJ, we all know you can’t have a new dealer unless there is someone with the finances, the knowhow, and the will, to take the risk. I’m sure you would love to have a dealer in Jackson, but although the demographics are probably good, is there enough population density to support one? I suspect not, but how is there an Audi dealer? On the other hand, there are millions of people on the San Francisco peninsula and in New York City. Why isn’t SCNA beating the bushes to find someone to set up dealerships in there and in other… Read more »
CJ
Guest
CJ
5 years 5 months ago

hughw:

That is a great post! Seriously, that shows the passion! I agree with you!

If there is a market, there should be a dealer. JH is plenty big for a dealership and the Audi dealer is an hour and a half away. San Francisco? Seriously?

Distribution and dealers. Customer experience. Name of the game.

Jason Powell
Guest
5 years 5 months ago
I’m sure there are lots of cities in the US and Canada and the world for that matter that are big enough to in our minds support a dealer. The problem as I see it, is that it costs a lot to be a dealer. You need land, which in Canada, BC specifically is very expensive, you need a building which is imaged to show you are a dealer, again, very expensive. You also need a service department, which you would hope is always busy to pay your bills and you need staff. With a lack of abundance of Saabs… Read more »
hughw
Guest
hughw
5 years 5 months ago
CJ, couldn’t agree with you more, although even though I’m Jewish, I would add one more and make it a holy trinity: “Distribution and dealers” and PRODUCT. You’ve got to have all three. Sadly, I think Saab is lacking on the first two in the US. Over the last year, there have been several threads with people offering suggestions on how to improve the dealer experience. The one that stuck in my mind was related to Apple’s strategy of flagship Apple owned stores although they actually call them “Significant stores” and they “put a premium on high-traffic locations and eye-catching… Read more »
CJ
Guest
CJ
5 years 5 months ago

hughw

Yep. The trinity – good lenten visual! The product is there. Now its the distribution, delears and the customer experience.

I love your ideas! A flagship in SF and NY would make a statement.

It can’t be hard to buy a Saab. It can’t be hard to get a Saab serviced.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, just good. The loyalists will be loyal if you treat em, and do em, good.

The David
Guest
The David
5 years 5 months ago
WOOOOOOOOOOW, begfore i even clicked i said “man would it be great to be near the hottest brand in the world right now” and then not only are they there but they’re next to one (acura) who is struggling for dear life and the 9-5 is going to be a great car for TL and RL (the remaining two living souls) buyers….Audi is going to bring SAAB maximum foot traffic. my apologies to any ladies here but if SAAB can hear me, if you want people to stay in your booth and for your booth to be talked about then… Read more »
Swade
Guest
Swade
5 years 5 months ago

Great thread and contributions, gents. Makes for great reading.

Will see you there in NY. Am planning on some sort of meeting activity. Just need to nail down the parameters with the powers that be, and find somewhere suitable. Will post details as soon as they’re available.

Saabheart
Guest
Saabheart
5 years 5 months ago

I can’t wait!

9395
Guest
9395
5 years 5 months ago

Hi Steven,

Any chance you will be in New York On April 22nd or 23rd? Would love to meet up with everyone.

Regards,
Saxel N.

Saabheart
Guest
Saabheart
5 years 5 months ago

I vote for the 30th because Easter weekend is a very poor weekend for many people when it comes to weaseling a full day for an auto show in. I’ll be there the 30th.

Dodge111
Guest
Dodge111
5 years 5 months ago
I have been in Saab sales for 32 years.One dealer for 25 years and the other dealer for 8 years ( we were sold to that dealer).I agree that dealers should be in the major cities .The problem is that we are the largest selling dealer in Pa USA and in the top 10 in the USA and at the present rate of sale unless it was a company supported store the sales would not suppot the millions of dollars needed to start and keep running a store in a large city.I love Saab have 2007 9-5 Aero WGN and… Read more »
hughw
Guest
hughw
5 years 5 months ago

Agreed. That’s why maybe we Saab flagship stores in major cities. On the other hand, as Saab Dude mentioned “Zumbach used to be a SAAB dealer…now Audi. When they were SAAB, they sold a boat load of cars in Manhattan.” I’m not a sales person or really a business person, just an architect, but it would seem to me that the following equations might be equivilant:

Saab Dealer in Small Market = lower potential sales – lower capital costs and overhead = reasonable profit

Saab Dealer in Large Market = bigger potential sales – higher capital costs and overhead = reasonable profit

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