Some perspective on Saab’s Swedish sales figures

There has been a lot of talk about sales numbers this week, especially in relation to the Swedish sales and US sales – and all of this through the prism of the reduced sales target for 2010.

I’ve had a chat with a few people, including people at Saab in Sweden, and figured it might be worthwhile bringing a few of the conclusions to the front page here at SU.

The first thing you have to bear in mind is the timeline of events.

2009 – OK at the beginning as potential sale of Saab was announced. Got worse as year drew on due to uncertainty.

2010 – Started with Saab in virtual shutdown. Had to refill a worldwide pipeline as things got started again in second quarter. No new 9-5 on sale until after mid-year.

I think the following graph showing monthly sales totals for January to October should bear this trend out for you…..

Sweden Sales Monthly 09-10

There’s a definite downward trend in the red line and a definite upward trend in the blue line. Thankfully the blue line is the one we’re dealing with now. Whether it’s high enough is a point of conjecture, but the fact that it’s heading the right way is what’s of primary importance here.

A few pointers drawn out from conversation with Saab reps in Sweden:

  • As was pointed out by “Me” in comments, the Saab 9-5 – offered in sedan form only – came in with 224 sales in October. The Volvo S80 came in with 92 sales. The Audi A6 – in sedan and the preferred wagon – came in with 196 sales, which is less than the 9-5 sedan-only offering.
  • September is a natural highpoint for monthly sales in Sweden and whilst they expect continued growth compared to last year, September will likely be the highest total for a month in 2010. November and December are not traditional fast-selling months as winter (and Christmas) draw closer, but Saab will be doing their utmost to set up a great entry into 2011.
  • The 9-5 is not selling in massive numbers, but it is drawing in significant showroom traffic. Not all people coming to see it can buy it, but there is a definite trickle-down effect in terms of increased interest in the 9-3. This is one positive effect from having new stock to show.
  • The new low emissions TTiD Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan are just starting to trickle out to dealers now. Their effect hasn’t really been felt in sales numbers as yet but the reviews have been fantastic and customer interest is already quite high. These models should provide a kick to November and December figures.

Things are going the right way. They’re probably never going to get to the desired destination fast enough for the enthusiast crowd, but Saab are heading in the right direction and the additional models they’ll be offering in the next 6-8 months are only going to boost their ability to build on this modest but solid, early success.

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