Earlier this week I covered some preliminary news about Saab’s near-term distribution in Australia. That bulletin was a via a dealer message penned by Jan-Ake Jonsson and circulated via email.
That message indicated that in the near term, Saabs would continue to be sold via GM outlets and ordering systems would soon be in place to allow customers to order the 9-3 range of vehicles, including the new Saab 9-3x.
Go Auto has a story about Saab distribution today, covering the hunt for a non-GM importer and distributor. You’ll note that the previous story included nothing about importation or ordering of the Saab 9-5, which seems to be one of the reasons Go Auto have been asking questions about the future (i.e. when can people in Oz order a new 9-5).
The leading candidate to take on the role of Australian distributor seems to be Ateco. Go Auto justify this lead status by process of elimination. I’m not up with the importer situation here in Oz, but there seem to only be two other possibilities: Inchcape (who just do Subaru distribution and seemingly have little interest in expanding) and Sime Darby, for whom taking on Saab distribution would seemingly require a major reorganisation of their business.
Ateco currently do distribution for Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Fiat Commercial, Maserati and Ferrari and have a dealership network in place via Alfa and Citroen that would seemingly fit in with a Saaby clientele here in Oz.
The deal isn’t done yet, however, and in the meantime GM dealerships will continue to sell and service Saabs.
“Saab still intends to operate in Australia and New Zealand and is looking for a new distributor,” said Holden external communications director Emily Perry. “However, in the meantime, Holden is helping to facilitate this process to support the dealers and Saab customers manage the transition. The ongoing commitment from the dealers and our customers show the strength of Saab brand and the new products on the way.”
And isn’t it fantastic to see Emily back on the ground here in Australia?
If a new distributor is going to be signed up, it’s still forecast to be some time before the full transition is made to that group. Possibly as long as six months away, according to Go Auto.
Looks like we probably won’t be seeing any new 9-5s on Australian roads for some time yet.