The Chicago Tribune has an article today on the culling of two-thirds of the Chicago area dealer network.
Only three Chicago-area dealers were selected, according to Saab officials. The three survivors are Downers Grove Saab, Saab Exchange in Lake Bluff and Patrick Saab in Schaumburg.
Although none would confirm termination, local dealers ostensibly left by the wayside, unless they successfully appeal, include Motor Werks in Barrington, Gartner Saab in Aurora, Flikkema Saab in Lansing, Rizza Saab in Tinley Park and Perillo Saab, the sole Chicago location.
There’s also a dealership in what must be northern Indiana that’s been cancelled – Schepel Saab in Merrillville.
They managed to get a few quotes from Mike Colleran, head of Saab Cars North America, about the process.
“It’s not like we’re really eliminating them,” said Mike Colleran, chief operating officer of Saab Cars North America. “We’re just selecting ones that make sense for the new business plan for Saab.”
Colleran said that while the decision was difficult, dealership longevity and stand-alone allegiance to the brand did not enter into the equation. In addition to sales, parts and service performance, the smaller network reflects a marketing strategy aimed at recapturing Saab’s unconventional cachet, something that dissipated during the GM years.
“It is our intent to focus more on premium positioning in the luxury segment, and to focus less on discounts and volume,” Colleran said.
In another year, I would have done a whole post lampooning that first sentence, but I’m trying to turn over a new leaf here 🙂
Taking a cue from the second paragraph there, it remains this author’s position that “dealership longevity and stand-alone allegiance to the brand” should have played a bit more into the equation. Notably, there are mentions in the article of an appeal and review process. Here’s hoping that some of those longstanding members of the Saab family can get a fair hearing.
Saab are obviously looking to the kiss-ass method to lure in some bigger spenders, but good old-fashioned personal service (where the customer is treated as a friend rather than a sugar daddy) also has its place.
Heaven help us if we and the dealers who sell to us turn into the stereotypical BMW crowd (present company excepted, PT and Richo, of course.)
To the second part of that headline……..
OK, it’s not the whole dealer network as it will be under Koenigsegg’s ownership, but it’s everything we’ve got so far, which is around 105 dealers at this point. 30 or so to go.
Here’s a few screencaps. First, the map in it’s entirety.
As you can see there’s still a definite concentration of dealerships in the top
left right corner (d’oh!). Here’s a closer look.
I’ll maintain the map page as the central record now and updates will be posted as they come to hand.