You’re a little Swedish car company and you need to sell cars. Desparately.
You’ve tweaked an existing model to make a ‘new’ model that sits nicely in a growing niche. With the costs of running a large vehicle getting prohibitive, you’ve got a great midsized hauler with a proven engine and a fantastic new AWD system. You’ve got a formidable reputation for safety (that you haven’t much enough noise about) and brilliantly comfortable seats. You’re different.
You’ve made the car. Now make some noise!!!
The Saab 9-3x is now out of the bag. It’s probably six months or so before you’ll be able to buy one (for reasons only known to Saab and GM) but Saab have started to do the groundwork now.
The press release is out and this car is – officially speaking – for the rugged, outdoorsy types who like to do it rough occasionally, but don’t necessarily want to do it rough all the time. That’s the line that the press are taking, largely because it’s the line that Saab have fed them in the press release.
I’d suggest there’s more to be made from this, however and if it takes the gay uncle writing for a Mom-blog to tell us, then so be it:
I’m often asked to field questions like: “What kind of car is good for a mom with two kids?” I usually start by boomeranging. “What are you thinking of?” And the answer I often get is “…A Crossover, or SUV?”…..
So what do I recommend? Station Wagons! A Subaru Forester or Outback will do, but if you want to be even the least bit creative, head elsewhere. Audi and BMW make gorgeous, sporty wagons in two sizes (A4 and A6, and 3 and 5 Series, respectively) and Certified Pre-Owned ones are surprisingly affordable. Cadillac is getting ready to release one (CTS) and it’s hot as hell. Volvo is famous for its full-sized wagons like the V70, but the smaller V50 is adorable. VW makes wagons in Jetta and Passat variants. The Toyota Venza is butt-ugly, but is essentially a Camry wagon. The Chevy HHR is wagon-ish in a ’40s delivery van kind of way. The Saab SportCombi is a fantastic wagon.
And the Saab SportCombi just got more versatile.
The budget-conscious buyer will head for Subaru because they’re rugged and reliable, but like any market, there’s someone looking at one of those who’ll want something a bit better. A bit more comfortable. A bit more zippy. A bit more capable.
Many of the news services are using the Audi Allroad as a prompt in their Saab 9-3x stories. This is great for Saab as the Allroad only comes as an A6, which means it’s way, way above the Subarus in terms of price. The Saab can sit quite nicely in that space if Saab manage to spec and price it just right (a big if, I know).
The Volvo equivalents are going to be the benchmark and the competition, and I hope Saab can price and equip the 9-3x accordingly. US$37K is the entry point for the XC60 and XC70 and Saab are going to have to bring the 9-3x under that amount.
The key, of course, is as simple (and as hard) as getting the word out. Saab barely have a presence any more in the minds of many. This ‘x’ edition of the 9-3 SportCombi has given it more of a raison detre and I just hope Saab milk it for all its worth.
The market is out there. The product is coming.
Make some noise.