Saab will re-enter the Canadian market selling MY2011 vehicles later in 2010. That was the announcement made today at Budds Saab in Toronto.
Saabs United was represented at the event by one of our regular visitors and a member of the unofficial SU Board – Kroum. Joining him there was another of our regulars, North Toronto Punter, and I’ll be keen to share some of his thoughts later as well.
I’ll have some pictures and even some video from Kroum later on, but below is his initial report from the event.
My thanks to Kroum for doing an excellent job in bringing this more detailed look into today’s announcement.
About Saab in Canada
The press release is now out and it’s official: Saab will back in Canada as of this Fall. We won’t see any MY10 vehicles. Instead, sales will commence in fall 2010 with MY11 cars: the new 9-5, the 9-3 and 9-3X. We can expect to see the 9-4X is spring of 2011, followed by the 9-5 SportCombi.
Importing in Canada will be handled by International Fleet Sales. I had the pleasure of meeting James Steinhagen and James Moreen of IFS, who were both very excited about Saab’s future in Canada.
In total, we are looking at 20 dealerships across Canada in the major metropolitan areas: the Greater Toronto Area, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, etc. As Adrian Hallmark emphasized, the premium market in Canada is largely concentrated in those areas, close to the border with the U.S. Therefore, a premium brand does not need 500 dealerships to properly service Canada.
It is my understanding that the major GTA dealers will (or already have been) re-signed by Saab, incl. Budds’ Saab in Oakville, Saab on the Queensway in Etobicoke, Saab of Kitchener-Waterloo, etc. We may also see a new Saab dealership in the Midtown area (I personally think it’s a necessity).
Victor Muller was very firm on Spyker’s presence in Canada, specifically in the Toronto area. I’d go as far as saying we’ll looking at at least one or two Saab-Spyker dealerships here, with great advantages to both brands. While Saab gets to share the floor with a bunch of superexotics, Spyker will gain access to significantly more traffic coming to the Saab dealers.
The New 9-5
This was my first time seeing the new 9-5 in the flesh and all I can say is wow! It is a stunner inside and out. Like many have said, pictures don’t do this car justice. The interior is particularly impressive and it’s definitely a relief to finally see a Saab interior at par with Audi in terms of materials, fit-and-finish, execution. And this is only a preproduction vehicle.
Speaking of Audi, Mike Colleran stated we can expect the 9-5 to be priced close to the A6 in Canada, much like the rest of the world. It is an official confirmation of sorts what they are benchmarking it against.
Everyone in the GTA should go and check out the new 9-5. It’s a stunning vehicle! Today it’s on display at Budds’ Saab in Oakville, while tomorrow (Wednesday, May 12th) it will be at Saab on the Queensway (official presentation at 7 PM).
Saab in Motorsport
I brought this up during the Q&A session after the press conference and Victor Muller chose to answer himself.
First and foremost, he does not foresee Saab officially entering motorsports in the short term, as much as that’s something he would very much like to see and do. Formula 1 is – on his own words – highly unlikely and we will probably never see Saab in F1.
Rallying, on the other hand, is part of Saab’s storied past and hopefully – part of it’s glorious future. I think we can all agree with Victor on that. He specifically mentioned the smaller Saab, the 92, as the perfect Saab vehicle for reentering the rally scene.
It is fairly safe to assume that should Saab find the financial resources needed to build the 9-2 – and Jan