Checking in with US Dealers
An article from automotive news spiked my interest this morning. As GM tries to consolidate its dealership network into a tighter more integrated group, some dealers face the threat of becoming used car dealerships or worse, shutting down. These same dealers are now applying to become Saab and Volvo dealers.
Which leads me more to this question for US readers– what’s going on with your dealer? Is their stock finally replenished to where it was a few years ago? If your Saab dealer was part of a larger automotive group (especially GM brands), has your dealer segregated its showroom space to a different building? You’ll remember GM set a deadline of 3 years to achieve this goal. From Swade’s interview with Mike Colleran last September:
Second, the requirement to have separate showroom space was one that GM and Saab/Spyker agreed upon when signing the deal to sell Saab. In short, there was a three-year time period set and all selling spaces should be separated by that time (Feb 2013). Connected to that is the fact that it’s quite normal for brand management, whether it be GM, BMW or Audi, to ask dealers for separate space on their lots.
If your dealer has multiple brands, how do you feel they’re doing pushing Saab vs. other makes? Have you been contacted by your dealer recently to come in to see their new inventory (aside from the standard SCNA mailers for national service promotions).
Speaking of new dealers, last month Barrett Motor Cars in San Antonio, Texas announced it will be adding Saab in its own new showroom and Fisker to their group. They also sell Jaguar, Ferrari, and Maserati. Not bad company to be with.
Again, it’s New Salem Saab’s 50th birthday. If you live in the Albany area and are on facebook, head on over to their page and give them a “Like.” Daryl is a great friend to the site and goes out of his way to get to know his customers, those in the greater Albany area should do the same.
Truecar.com focuses on new car sales in the US and shows that Saab is improving in some ways, but still way behind in several key areas– the difference in price between retail and actual sales price (discount percentage), days in inventory, and total incentives. Clearly we’ve got a way to go. Their website’s actually a pretty good place to check out for detailed information on what prices are like in your area. For example, here’s what a loaded 9-5 Aero goes for. Compare that to a BMW 535xi with the same options (as close as I could make them). These cars are a seriously good value, something is wrong with the advertising message.
Finally, I’d like to mention one of the things I’ll be working on in the next few weeks and months for the site. Up until now, we’ve had a showroom tab that Steven set up to show press information about the new 9-5. One new function I’d like to incorporate into the site is a more user based review system, good and bad, featuring reviews from us instead of the typical sources of all new models. Think of it as the car equivalent to tripadvisor.com, a site where you can actually see what your hotel room will look like from real customers.
We’re not trying to compete with Saab’s official web presence in any way, we’re more looking to help support them in their efforts to have authentic, independent research for consumers looking to buy a new Saab. In a conversation with my dealer’s owner the other day, he mentioned how frustrating it is that he can’t send a customer to a competitive analysis table showing the value you’re getting for your money vs. BMW and Audi. We want to help him and any other dealers out by making that information easier to find.
All articles will be submitted through the writers, so don’t worry about random spam posts there, we’ll still be curating it. As part of this section, I’d like to hear from customers who looked at other brands but ended up choosing Saab. Competitive price tables that show how much better a value Saabs are will also be featured in our own virtual showroom, along with user submitted content and videos featuring newly purchased Saabs in an archive for each model. Our own Rune with his 9-5 or Till72 with his 9-3x come to mind as excellent examples. If you have any other ideas or brainstorms you might like to see as part of this functionality, sound off in comments or shoot us an email.