Saab US sales data – November 2010

Sales numbers for the United States were circulated while I was sleeping and as forewarned (before I started sleeping), a mountainous workload remains for the people at Saab Cars North America.

There were 1,127 vehicles delivered in September 2010 in the US.

There were 741 vehicles delivered in October 2010 in the US.

November 2010 saw 397 vehicles delivered in the United States. I mentioned the numbers from September and October just in case SCNA were tempted to rest on the fact that 397 vehicles actually represents a rise on the 371 vehicles sold in the same month last year.

While it’s a year-on-year rise, the fall over the last few months is clearly evident. One now has to wonder how many service loaners were ‘delivered’ into dealer carparks a few months ago.

——

Something needs to happen in the US.

I don’t know exactly which part of the operation/strategy is playing the part of the boat anchor right now, but whatever it is, they need to blow it up and get some real-world awareness out there.

Saab have genuinely good offerings for sale at the moment but they’re just not getting the interest they need. I’ve heard from one dealer who’s not getting bites on 2010 Saab 9-5s despite having almost five-figure incentives on the vehicle.

A 2010 Saab 9-5 V6 Aero for around $40K does not represent a value problem. This is one cracker of a vehicle. There is a visibility and perception problem out there and there’s a massive challenge ahead to change it.

We’re getting to a point where “in progress” and “we’re aware” just aren’t cutting it anymore. Hugh W reported in comments today that Manhattan is now without a centrally close Saab dealer because Parkfield Saab just closed its doors. How long can stuff like this keep happening?

Sweden need to make sure they offer good vehicle configurations (no green-screen radios) and the US guys need to price and market them effectively.

What was one of Bob Sinclair’s rules? Make people believe they’re getting a car that’s worth more than what they paid? Equip it, price it and market it.

Sorry. Had to vent. I’ve met too many great dealers in the US who are still hurting.

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baas900i
Guest
baas900i

I’m a long way from Royal Oak but for me the proximity to GM is uncomfortable, the approach from SCNA apppear’s cluttered, vague and lacking focus.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN

Exactly! I didn’t want to say anything at the time, but the news of Saab HQ staying in Michigan just gave me a very, very bad feeling. It would have been much better to start with a new slate in New England somewhere. Now they’re still stuck in the same old GM culture.

Joe
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Joe

I’m impatiently relying on that VM and JAJ will tolerate no imperfections in the U.S., given somewhat challenging circumstances, since their backs are against the wall and any GM let go attitude wouldn’t cut it. Any information from inside would be very relieving – about why things are like they are and what’s in the planning. Information is key.

Will
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Will

I’m not a sales expert by any means, so I can’t make much comment on what SCNA can do as an organization to improve sales. But I do have one small anecdote about the local SW Ontario dealer I recently visited. I found a 2007 9-5 which I thought promising online, and drove by to have a closer look/go for a test drive. I had communicated by email with a salesman who had previously sold me a Saab. Upon arrival, I was met by a different salesman (understandable… whoever gets out first get’s the customer). I asked to speak with… Read more »

michaelb
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michaelb

As a European, it is interesting to read the comments here, and I think it is worth thinking about them profoundly. I cannot judge about the marketing aspects from distance. Here are a number of additional other points / questions: – I really cannot understand why Saab offers the new 9-5 with 220 hp only with FWD for the US market. They offer it with XWD elsewhere in the world. This period, from September to November is the period to buy 4WD cars, because they are much better on snow/ice. It should be at least an option available for the… Read more »

RS
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RS

I couldn’t agree with you more this time Michael. It all begins with the product, then marketing and finally sales. If ANY of these miss their targets you’re asking for trouble. Sounds like the basic sales and dealer operations are on such a shaky ground it’s a miracle any new Saabs found their way to customers. Dealers not even bothered to sell visiting customers these cars, horrible main web site, come on. Usually the problem is to have customers become interested of your product. Talking about shooting yourself in the nuts. The danger with an expensive marketing campaign right now… Read more »

Rune
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Rune

This period, from September to November is the period to buy 4WD cars, because they are much better on snow/ice I still believe this to be false. In certain corner cases, the right AWD setup _may_ prove better than FWD. If your AWD is RWD-biased, in many cases it will be much worse than FWD (at least Saab FWD). I am aware that most of the market share your perception. I have yet to see any shred of evidence that AWD actually delivers on the promise of superior road handling. After driving about 70000 km in three different Saabs, I… Read more »

michaelb
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michaelb

Cannot share your view from experience. I have had 5 different Saabs over the last 15 years. In snow conditions, they are good, but no chance against a good AWD such as a Subaru, an Audi, an E-class 4+matic, even a VW with Haldex 3, or … a Saab.

Jake
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Jake

Rune-
You’re correct. In New England, the issue is that people want AWD, because of the things they heard about AWD doing better.

The customer is always right. 🙁

North Toronto Punter
Guest

I’ll give a good reason for AWD /XWD (vs. FWD): Torque Steer (and I’m talking regular 9-3, not a Viggen). As a matter of fact, an FWD Maptuned to stage 1 is at the limits as far as I’m concerned. I’ll go on a limb and say there is not a single Mercedes or BMW driver — nor Audi (beyond base) who finds torque steer such that is present in a Saab acceptable. Saab had the presence of mind to know the writing was on the wall once horsepower ratings broke 200 and Audi’s Quattro broke on to the scene.… Read more »

Lars
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Lars

hej! Some one know what is going in GB? Same as the US Market? Or better?

Carl-Henrik
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Carl-Henrik

UK numbers are most often presented about after one week into the new month.

lars
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lars

thx 🙂

Carl-Henrik
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Carl-Henrik

Several persons here comment on the homepage of http://www.saabusa.com.

For me.. this is very bad handled by Saab, even if the Saab NA is a sub-company within Saab. My suggestion providing the person doing this has the right information regarding prices and versions available for each car, it can take about one to two full days to adabt the Saab GB homepage for Saab USA.

I mean.. how hard can it be? Even I can do it for them – for free. Just provide me with the right information and I get it done this weekend.

Jason Petho
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Jason Petho

+1

This should be the number one priority.

Jason Petho

max
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max

If you keep doing the same things over and over only a crazy person would expect different results. Saab needs to get away from the GM mentality, make a clean BREAK. In the US Saab needs to spend some serious money on advertising and buy some deals with strong incentives. In the US the new 9-5 is an unknown commodity and was introduced at the highest trim level at $50k, (which nobody in the US believes Saab has earned the rights to be at that price point) without a moonroof which is a basic level of equipment for anyone in… Read more »

hughw
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hughw

Does anyone have a reliable email or snail mail address for the people in Royal Oak? If you use the comment section from the website, it flows to clueless GM functionaries. Can they be that clueless and stupid? Perhaps, but maybe its one of those little things that’s under their radar.

Paddan
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Paddan

I keep wondering if there is some contractual obligation that VM had to employ a GM person at the top of SNCA in order to close the deal this past February.

Pierre
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SCNA clearly has a lot of hurdles to clear. Those have all been stated keenly by SU followers. From my view on the “inside,” I would like to point out that once you get beyond Mr. Colleran, the current SCNA staff is predominantly made up of former SCUSA staff who have been with Saab for years or decades. Yes, they were employees of GM for a time, but Saab is in their DNA. One could argue whether that alone makes them worthy and capable of making Saab a success in North America. The dealer body is a huge concern, and… Read more »

ivo 71
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ivo 71

So, Pierre, can’t you take over the failed Parkfield Saab and establish an excellent Saab dealer presence in NYC once more? With all those new Saab models coming up, it could prove to be a goldmine.

Hudson River Saab?

Ivo

Pierre
Guest

Me? I’m just a working stiff service manager. Besides, commuting from New Hampshire to Boston is my limit. If I had the $$$$, though….I might be tempted to try something down there.

Tom
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Tom

Saab of Milford, which is just east of Fairfield County, remains viable because of their enthusiatic adoption of used cards when there were few new ones to sell. However, they are a long way from Greenwich where the dealer seems to be solely Cadi oriented despite having been a Saab store originally. Service has been kept at a superior level despite the Service Manager’s departure. Anybody know why Jim Little left?

GerritN
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GerritN

Pierre, although yous sales suggestion seems to make sense at first glance, I have some personal doubts that would make it easy for me to convince friends to buy a new Saab. First of all, there is no guarantee that they will keep their value since Saab is still not out of the woods. Second, on paper the new 9-5 is just too expensive for a brand that is still on the brink of extinction. Third, the 9-3 is a very old model, not withstanding that it is a reasonable car that got a face lift recently. For example, the… Read more »

Rune
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Rune

Gerrit, I am a bit curious about why you mention the 9-3x? It is only a marginal facelift of a 9-3 SportCombi, so surely it too is in the “too old” bin? (and thus would not be helped by a lower price point) How do you date a car model anyway? If I took apart a new German car, would I not find core parts older than, say, 10 years? And Pierre wasn’t asking you to tell your friends to buy one. The request was to get them to test drive one. If you can get a better product at… Read more »

GerritN
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GerritN

Rune, yes you’re right, I didn’t read Pierre’s mail carefully enough. My only excuse is that this thread is just too long to be able to give each comment the attention it deserves. On the other hand all the comments did prompt me to do some soul searching and figure out why, as a Saab fan, I’m not immediately running out to buy a new Saab. Part of it is what I itemized in my comment, part of it is that the current line-up doesn’t really fit my taste. After driving a Viggen for a couple of years, it is… Read more »

GerritN
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GerritN

Little bit more food for thought. From Kelley Blue Book 2011 car review:
Subaru was cited as the brand with the best resale value for 2011 and BMW was cited as the luxury brand with the best resale value.

Saab is competing in both segments, but with cars that (maybe) will not hold their value very well. This makes both the new 9-5 and the old 9-3 a tough sell, except when the official purchase price takes the depreciation into account.

Rune
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Rune

Gerrit, Viggen is a tough cookie to follow. I often compare my 9-5 with my 9000. It is not always obvious who ‘wins’. In my (often narrow) mind, the 9000 does many things right and compares well against many newer cars. But is Viggen the most appropriate type of vehicle for your friends? Looking at what type of vehicles my friends and family buy, I believe most of them would be happier with a Saab. Visibility is important, but giving away your product just to increase visiblity is not a strategy without certain risks…? It certainly will not help the… Read more »

Realist
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Realist

Why are we SAAB enthusiasts? Because we are attracted to goods filling a “premium” niche? No. Because we are attracted to goods filling a “clever, innovative, efficient, and assertively independent” niche. That’s why we are, or have been, SAAB enthusiasts. In naming and emulating its “aspirational peers” and in re-purposing its efforts to compete for scraps at a boring table, SAAB has bid to fail. The 9-5, which I have seen and in which I have sat, and the 9-4X, which is high and cannot haul, are both off-target, aimed by the The General in a final ballistic flurry. Their… Read more »

Seb C
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Seb C

Good points and well put, if perhaps a bit harsh for not having driven either of the new models. Let’s hope SCNA has an elephant up its sleeve.

jchan2
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jchan2

From personal experience, I will have to say there are some issues.

I sent a brochure request a few weeks ago for a ’10 9-5 brochure but never got it, so I sent a request for a ’11 9-5 brochure as well as more info on the 9-4X…

Waiting on those…

John Schroeder
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John Schroeder

Simply go to saabusa.com and download them.

hughw
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hughw

sure it’s possible to download a brochure, but if you asked for one, it should be sent. The issue here is that, aside from advertising, SCNA should be doing EVERYTHING they can to make it easy for people with the remotest interest in Saab to find out more. Included within this category would be availability of brochures, accurate dealer lists, a clean informative website, personalized answers from SAAB people (not GM) when an inquiry is made through the “contact” section of the website. As I said before, this is not exactly high tech stuff, and in the scheme of things… Read more »

Jking
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Jking

Saab TV Marketing is non-existent. I still have yet to see a commcerical for the new 9-5 and I live in NJ which is one of their biggest market areas. The Saab lease deals are still a joke compared to the competition and their website is an embarrassment. If they want to be premium they have alot of work to do because they don’t come close to Audi and BMW. Most people research cars via the internet and the website is their first impression…SAAB North America gets an F on that. Why can’t they get it right like the UK… Read more »

Kikaluka
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Kikaluka

I see quite some advertising here in the US, but it is not daring enough, nothing to talk about. Same for the ad’s in our competition, I’m sorry. Make a statement like: Saab is for lovers (a lot of potential there), or make an intelligent fairytale about the small brand fighting the giants. Something you can relate to. Use the indepence, everybody likes the underdog if it shows it is worth the sympathy. Combine brandstory and product placement in one integrated campaign. 9-5 has some great usp’s: distinguished design, 5 inches of extra cabinspace over competitors, competitive features like XWD,… Read more »

Manlius
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Manlius

Dealers in the US are really dropping the ball, I am sorry to say. I just checked out the websites of several dealers in the Philadelphia area to see what new 9-5s they had in inventory. A couple of dealerships’ sites showed only one unit. Other dealerships had several units. One such dealership had only a single stock photo for each car; no photos of the actual cars being sold. Another dealership had 60-plus photos for each car, but when you clicked on them it turned out they were stock photos OF THE OLD 9-5. That is really, really lame.… Read more »

Manlius
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Manlius

I should add that I do think a decently-equipped 9-5 priced in the high 30s and sold with attractive financing (less than 3%) would sell very well in the US. Right now, SAAB has the car and is very close on the pricing, so all it really needs is a good financing offer and to get the word out.

Alex
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Alex

If they could sell the base for around 38k with standard Nav (get rid of that cheap green screen) they would do much better, financing is a must. Additionally load up the 9-3, sell it for around 25k and bring the 9-3x pricing to match a subaru outback. I saw my first and only 9-3x at the SF autoshow, it was very attractive but no one is going to pay 38k for that car when they can get a Subaru for less or a much larger Volvo XC70 for the same.

KEJ
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KEJ

The Seinfeld tv series had a couple of saabs. We need that kind of marketing again.

alex
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alex

There is 3 big issues today; 1. The majority of the people in US dont know that SAAB still exists 2. The people who want the new 9-5 may feel 52k for the 9-5 is way to much 3. They still feel that the company is unsafe in the long-term I belevie that Saab need a totally new marketing plan. For example; start a road show with across the US, show people that the brand exist and is ALIVE! Send also letters to everyone who had a Saab in the past. Also, segment the market and find the typical Saab… Read more »

North Toronto Punter
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Oh, what the hell: My Manifesto –maybe it is another rant cum catharsis, after all —with the slightest Canadian bias. [As an [email protected] Realist–if I hear the expression “Saab Saabs” one more time, I’m going to reach for a gun…. Michaelb, RS, Saabheart…because I’m fresh off reading those — you’ve translated my thoughts on the car side– we need a Range and a HALO car (@ Alex — of however many cylinders–even Volvo is now realising this…otherwise, you’re playing exclusively in a very crowded middle ground., which Mercedes and BMW play in too anyways…and the people who buy those average… Read more »

eadams
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eadams

I hate uber long posts but dig this one!

North Toronto Punter
Guest

I forgot to add in my post a link to the Children’s Wish Foundation (Canada). A very worthy cause by the way. I think each country has it’s equivalent.

I made my donation at: http://www.makeawish.ca

Curvin O'Rielly
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Curvin O'Rielly

It’s not that I’m opposed to billboards. It’s just that I don’t think it’s possible to build brand value by running billboards and billboards only. They’re a “reminder” medium. Something that complements more substantive, longer term brand messaging that’s running elsewhere (magazines, newspapers, the Internet, possibly even TV). As far as the work from the 70’s and 80’s goes, I’m not suggesting that it’s the be-all and end-all, only that it be looked at as a model for what could and possibly should be done today. It was aggressive and comparative. It pushed its way into the European premium car… Read more »

Alex
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Alex

@ North Toronto Punter, yes a range and a halo but at this point that’s putting the cart before the horse. What Saab needs is a statement car like the 9-2 that sets the tone and identity for the brand but is accessible and will sell. As the brand grows then a halo car is appropriate with a large engine and very low sales numbers. Audi didn’t start with the R8, they started with the TT. That car was a design statement yet still realitively affordable and it set the design language for the brand. Then years after they had… Read more »

North Toronto Punter
Guest

Alex- I think you’re misinterpreting my notion of ‘Halo’. It’s not about Saab bringing out a R8 Spyder fighting 2 seater (Spyker can occupy that niche). On the contrary. I’m one who doesn’t see the 9-2 as being the saving grace– it’s years away…and a very crowded space indeed. Of course I’m speculating wildly as I have no idea what it will look like, where built etc. .I think for Saab to bring out yet another new plaftorm (i.e. 9-2) is spreading it’s engineering excellence paper thin. We need to consolidate what we have first. I’m actually very bullish on… Read more »

Curvin O'Rielly
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Curvin O'Rielly

Sounds great, NTP. At this point, the art of the possible has to come into play.

North Toronto Punter
Guest

I hope your concurring with ‘then some’ too :).

Alex
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Alex

Ah, okay, yeah, that’s an idea I can get behind as well, I misunderstood what you were saying. A car such as a viggen I think is a fantastic idea and working with an existing model would cut costs considerably. In the case of Volvo the R which while low in sales numbers brought some enthusiast credibility to the brand and I’m sure it attracted others to the brand. I still say the V8 isn’t right for Saab but twin turbo 6 seems more fitting. I will still respectfully disagree on the 9-2, it’s a ways away for sure but… Read more »

RS
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RS

Alex, that V8 isn’t a match for Saab is just a perception made by the lack of one on the market, thanks to GM canceling that engines just as it was ready to be launched in US some twenty years ago. Right after they bought the company.
Maybe they taught SAAB would become just too competitive against their cr*p?

J Fan
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J Fan

What a thoroughly entertaining series of comments 🙂 It almost feels as if car dealer employees need to be literally running out on to the street flagging down motorists shouting “come and try a Saab!!!!!!!!” Handing out flyers too with a base price on it “Leather, Sunroof, Turbo – all standard!” If I owned a dealer, I’d do that. I know some might be ‘too sophisticated’ however – maybe that’s just around here, I don’t know. I can understand the comments about the product, maybe it does simply have a narrow appeal? Like the 9-3, it’s a lovely car for… Read more »

Manlius
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Manlius

Some really interesting ideas in here NTP, but as an attorney who does some work in the manufactuer-dealer relationship field (and specifically in the auto/truck dealership area), I want to point out some practical limitations SAAB would face to the plan you propose. All US states have auto dealer protection laws that largely prohibit manufacturer-owned automobile dealerships. There are some limited circumstances where manufacturer ownership is permitted, but as a general model pure vertical integration is not an option for an auto manufacturer in the US. What is more, termination of auto distributor agreements without cause is generally forbidden by… Read more »

Rune
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Rune

…and it would not be good business practice to start directly competing with your dealers.

But, if the dealers in a given state see a value in Saab setting up shops to cover the blind spots, would it be OK in that case?

I see a lot of harping concerning the price of the 9-5. What about the 9-3? Should Saab lower the price on the 9-3 as well? The 9-3 is supposedly where the volume is, no?

Manlius
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Manlius

Even if all Saab dealers in the state were on board (and that would really surprise me), the state dealer association might try to take action against manufacturer-owned locations in order to protect the general interests of dealers of other makes from similar incursions by other manufacturers in the future. A “blind spot” system might potentially be okay in certain states, but probably not with never-ending manufacturer ownership of the newly-established (or rescued) dealerships.

74stingray
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74stingray

NTP-, Very well said, you asked some hard hitting questions that do need to be addressed. I dont see one thing I disagree with.

SAAB_andee
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SAAB_andee

working as an architect i made my own thoughts to improve the brands image. get some traffic to dealers and make some unique comparing to other brands. so i had the idea for an really unique dealership witch generates it´s own traffic, and strengthens the brand identity. it would be really a different way thinking a dealership. and if i had some lottery €millions i would spent it on an prototype 🙂 a dealership is for me the face of the company to the client. spending money in print ads is lost money. spending money in buildings you can see… Read more »

Curvin O'Rielly
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Curvin O'Rielly

You’re right. Beautifully designed dealerships could do a world of good. But here’s a question: Would Apple’s iconic stores be as successful as they are if they hadn’t spent millions (billions!) building their brand image and brand value with advertising? 🙂

SAAB_andee
Guest
SAAB_andee

thats a good question curvin. but i made my thoughts about my home market (austria) a small market with nearly no advertising (only some print and billboard ads in the last month) . deep VW country. but people love their cars and their is also enough money for ” premium cars”. so my question was – what would i do if i want to sell saabs . so i had the idea of an really extraordinary dealership witch make some money without selling cars. 🙂 but generates traffic (in the showroom) and helps building the brand identity (so that you… Read more »

SAAB_andee
Guest
SAAB_andee

Sorry really tired – forgot most i had to say 🙂 main think of my idea was a dealership witch is profitable without selling a car -and helps building the brand identity.
i don´t know if it would be ideal for other regions . but for my hometown it would be great. there is a possibility to sell 2 or 3 cars (new) a month in shortterm and about 10 to 15 in longer term witch is compared to the sales figures in austria really good.
selling cars must be the bonus of this dealership.

Mike C
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Mike C

Some US dealers are on the ball and most are not, in my opinion. In upper Westchester County NY, we are for the most part, out of luck. One mabe 2 dealers. I would kill to have a dealer like Daryl next to me. However, the dealer I use, as stripped down as they are, at least has a good Master Tek. that takes care of me time and time again. So what the problem you may ask? No tv spots and the main sales department is one guy, that’s it. I hope that Saab can get on the ball… Read more »

SAABLANCE
Guest

Gentlemen and Lady……..many different thoughts and ideas have been expressed in the last 160 posts.I’ll preface this observation as I always do by listing my bonafides,Saab Owner/lessee of a ’03 9-3 Aero,’06 9-5,’08 9-3 Aero…prior to that 10 years of driving roughly 30 different models of Saab as a dealer demo.15 years selling Saabs. The most pertinent and relevant point regarding Saabs future in the U.S. was this: PARKFIELD SAAB HAS CLOSED IT’S DOORS!

SAABLANCE
Guest

That mistakenly posted before I completed my point.Why is this so worrisome and a huge negative indicator. My dealership was in the same region as Parkfield Saab.I knew the managers there through the dealer trade network.They were consistently one of the top 5 units delivered dealers in the N.E. Region for years! They put Millions of dollars into a beautiful stand-alone Saab Store no more than 5 years ago! They were well managed,kept their web site up to date and were always enthusiastic about the brand. AND NOW THEY HAVE GIVEN UP! I am sure many things went into this… Read more »

SAAB_andee
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SAAB_andee

I think it is not the confidence in the sucess of the brand, it´s the last 1,5 years without cars to sell, and demolishing the brand.

Saabusa hast to react and keep such “maindealerships” in business. closing dealerships are no good sign. So there must be some help from sweden to keep relevant dealers in business

Börjesson
Guest
Börjesson

Maybe Swade, or perhaps Eggs who is more local, could get in touch with the Parkfield Saab guy and find out exactly why he decided to close up shop just when things were starting to turn around for Saab? It could perhaps give a few useful clues about how to save the remaining good dealerships.

dmk
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dmk

Saablance, I don’t know how 1 dealer can mean anything or make a difference. I lived in NJ several years ago and don’t recall how many Saab dealers were there but I’m sure enough. As I posted earlier in the Chicago area we have 8, down from 10. If the largest, best dealership, the The Saab Exchange, closed it wouldn’t be a big deal at all. Actually if 3-4 shut down, such as in your area, that wouldn’t be a big deal. We would still have 4 dealers which would be ok but not great. SCNA just has to get… Read more »

SAABLANCE
Guest

The reason I place so much gravity on this news is because this is a dealer in business for 41 years,one of the top 10 volume dealers in the U.S. I don’t know for certain but I suspect this was not a dealer”going out of business” in the financial failure sense, but a financial decision to not pursue what they believe to be a forgone conclusion as to the ultimate outcome.

Paddan
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Paddan

@ SaabLance – I understand the reason Parkfield went out of business has little to nothing to do with its conclusion that Saab will ultimately fail.

Börjesson
Guest
Börjesson

OK, so the general consensus about the US situation seems to be that Saab does have good enough products with some unique selling points, that prices are probably a bit too high, but that the main problem is a lousy sales organization and poor marketing. Let’s look at the marketing side of it. Saab seems to be fairly unknown in the US these days, and what little is known is probably more harmful than good: the GM connection which gives off a taint of poor quality, and the being shut down rumour. So basically, Saab has to start creating a… Read more »

Manlius
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Manlius

“don’t think any of them really nailed it” — agree. Saab needs a marketing campaign premised on a message that is short and punchy, that differentiates SAAB, that highlights the product’s good features and that is memorable. To me, what differentiates Saab most from the US perspective is that it is Swedish. That is a good association generally in the US, I believe. So play it up. I would propose a series with the tag line(s): “SAAB: Swedish Beauty; Swedish Brains; Swedish Brawn” It could include ads with the full three-piece line or just one of the three messages alone.… Read more »

Curvin O'Rielly
Guest
Curvin O'Rielly

To repeat a paragraph from a previous comment… “As far as the work from the 70′s and 80′s goes, I’m not suggesting that it’s the be-all and end-all, only that it be looked at as a model for what could and possibly should be done today. It was aggressive and comparative. It pushed its way into the European premium car segment, even, in its own way, altered the segment a bit, and it got people into dealerships for test drives. Bottom line, it told the truth about Saabs, without any fluff, so the natural result was success. (It’d be easy… Read more »

hughw
Guest
hughw

curvin, I just went back and looked at some of your old ads, and gosh, did they bring back some memories. I bought my first Saab in 1982, a black 900 Turbo, based completely on seeing a 900 turbo once at a filling station and the strength of your ads. I walked into a showroom in Yonkers and placed an order for a new Saab. I don’t remember the dealer’s name (prior to Becks): they were a terrible dealer and I shortly found my way to Zumbach and never looked back. I may be living in the dark ages, but… Read more »

Curvin O'Rielly
Guest
Curvin O'Rielly

@HughW…
Thanks. I’ve always felt that if you have something to say, which Saab does, you should say it. Too many ads today consist of graphic gymnastics only. So while they may momentarily grab your attention, they don’t really deliver an enduring brand message. (Short-term sales at the expense of long-term gains are shortsighted. Vice versa, too, of course.)

Joe
Guest
Joe

I’m watching Swedish commercial television. Hyundais, Skoda Superbs and BMW 5er’s swooshing by on curvy mountain roads. Volvo S60’s and Mini Countrymen fleeing along narrow city streets. Saab post GM TV advertising ended a while ago. Never got the opportunity to see the good looking 9-5 in motion. Mostly persons sitting in a white office. Sob. In terms of advertising – I think that billboards and hands on specs/offers in newspapers’ car sections helped – in Sweden.

Stuart
Guest
Stuart

What’s hard to take is the fact that as I look outside at traffic, I do not see a new 9-5 driving, but tons of Audi’s, BMW’s, VW CC’s, Cadillac’s etc. I am a Saab US dealer in a very wealthy area on Long Island. A dedicated, stand alone dealer, where down the street is an Aston Martin, Mercedes, Porsche dealer and a mall the houses, Gucci, Tiffany’s, Burberry, and 50 or more high line shops. Our customers still walk in asking “What’s happening with you guys? Now, twice a month I do a quarter page in the NY Times.… Read more »

SAAB_andee
Guest
SAAB_andee

Stuart – what i really cannot understand for an normal european – If you as a dealer have a showroom in a street with other dealers,with new cars standing on the lot.
How can anyone say SAAB is out of business. Your still here with new models – are those guys silly. Why does the american need someone who tells him in the media he is alive.

Stuart
Guest
Stuart

Baffling, isn’t it? When GM decided to liquidate Saab, the american media blasted it all over the airwaves and print media. We were getting calls about what was happening. But, when Spyker came to our rescue, not one single word about Saab being rescued. So, nobody knows. Even at our service center, we put up signs acknowledging our survival. I just can’t figure out what to do next.

SAAB_andee
Guest
SAAB_andee

I can´t understand this – But VM and JAJ made a real media tour – in spring, telling they are here to stay. you also have to fill up inventorys if you make an big ad splash . so i hope they have a plan at SCNA

But main thing is they have to get saab guys at the hotline-service center – and get their webpage sorted.

Stuart
Guest
Stuart

Yes, they were here on a media tour, but TV didn’t cover it as far as airing it. Print didn’t have it on the papers, so in essence, what did it do. I really think that the budget is thin and it is hard to place TV ads with a limited budget.

SAAB_andee
Guest
SAAB_andee

Maybe it is really a good plan airing a focused TV spot at a main event like superbowl or oskars.

Stuart
Guest
Stuart

Last year, I believe, a 30 second ad at the Superbowl was $2.3 million dollars. I don’t know what can be said in 30 seconds!

GerritN
Guest
GerritN

You’re probably in Roslyn, apparently you don’t want to have your dealership mentioned here, so I won’t. I don’t know how much you did to make Long Island aware that Saab is still alive and kicking, but other dealers here have done a pathetic job. The only thing I saw was a little flyer, no 9-5 launch parties, practically no inventory, etc. The dealers are perfectly able to figure out who already has a Saab or who recently owned one. Contacting all these people and inviting them to some sort of an official event should be relatively easy. As it… Read more »

Stuart
Guest
Stuart

I am in the NY Times every other Sunday. We have sent out e-mails to our customers, have been in Newsday, have a full lot of cars front and center. At our service center we have a 9-5 right by the service door and offer test drives to anyone who wants one. We are open 7 days a week and my sales staff have been working their off-lease lists like crazy. But, since there was so much uncertainty as to whether Saab would be around since GM notified the public that they were first selling Saab, then liquidating Saab, till… Read more »

dmk
Guest
dmk

Stuart I’m glad you are doing what you are doing and am sorry it’s not paying off too well.
I wish more dealers would do what your are doing.

And good luck.

turbin
Guest
turbin

Hi Stuart, that’s a tough reality that I and others have probably overlooked. Having your core SAABists commited elsewhere for 2-4 years is a real problem as it means 4-8 years between drinks for you. I started my lease on a 08 combi at the end of 2008 when things were looking dire for SAAB (and incentives were awesome) so while I am a hard-core SAABist, I will not be ready to re-lease until 2011-12 which is a long enough cycle.

Joe
Guest
Joe

What about trying Google ads pin pointing the geographical area of Long Island? It’s dense population wise and there could be some people wanting something else than a me-too car? Easy to switch on/off and to alter messages/keywords while it’s up. Pays by the click. Stop by for a nice cup of coffee and a test drive. 2011’s in stock. For a Swedish Christmas touch the coffee can be accompanied by saffron buns and gingerbread. Possibly available at IKEA. Good luck!

SAABLANCE
Guest

Swade…thank you for the clarification,vague though it was,on the Parkfield situation.I would like to hear something,anything from some one who owns,manages or works at a Saab dealership that feels truly positive about the future prospects of Saab NA based on what we’ve seen in the last 6 months.The window of opportunity was small to begin with and has closed even more.The word is NOT getting out.Decisions that were made to promote the product that were questioned at inception have proven to have failed. Promotion of new Auto model’s is costly and done in many types of media.Saab had to succeed… Read more »

Chris Hansel
Guest
Chris Hansel

I agree with the above. What a lot of folks don’t understand is the cost of prime time TV in the big metro areas, mainly in the Saab stronghold of the northeast. To be honest Saab cannot afford to do TV in these markets, but at the same time, these are the markets that must work for new American sales. Out here in the west ( Phoenix) I have not seen a single TV ad for Saab at anytime, or any channel since the sale by GM. GM ran it’s last ads in this market about 15 months ago. This… Read more »

Curvin O'Rielly
Guest
Curvin O'Rielly

Cars in Ikea stores isn’t a bad idea. But you’d have to say something in advertising, probably regional editions of national magazines and newspapers, to deliver the brand message to a broad yet nonetheless targeted audience segment. This isn’t a task any of us can handle; there are plenty of good media planning experts/companies out there.

Jason Powell
Guest

SAABLANCE, I am a sales manager at a Saab dealership in Langley, BC, Canada and I can truely tell you that I and the staff around me are excited and feel positive about Saab’s future. Saab is going to be fine in my opinion. We just received three 2011 Saab’s today as our first new product in over a year. Things take time to get re started and it makes no sense to advertise heavily when you have no product. If I advertised heavily last month, I would have just lost people because the’d get here and I’d have no… Read more »

zippy
Guest
zippy

Mmmmm, I think its time to take a drive out to Langley!! 🙂

Ron
Guest
Ron

It is now December…where in the US do consumers spend the most time? Christmas shopping in Malls. If Saab USA cannot afford TV ad buys, then place Saabs in the busiest malls in target US markets between now and the first week of the New Year. At the new Santa Monica Mall, GM has positioned the new SRX and the all new CTS Coupe in the middle of walking traffic areas (visible from the 3rd Street Promenade). After Christmas, focus on billboards at key traffic bottleneck points in key target markets. We all want Saab to succeed.

Bravada from GMI
Guest

Hey everybody! While there were some valuable and many interesting points made in the discussion (and the usual “Saab absolutely needs to somehow get three billion dollars and an all-new lineup like yesterday”), what we can do now to help Saab and all the hard-working people at the main organization and the dedicated dealerships is to SPREAD THE WORD regarding the Make-A-Wish campaign Out of all the stuff SCNA did recently, this is the most right and praiseworthy. Let’s make it success. If you’re in North America, plaster it all over your FB wall, email to friends, and rave about… Read more »

Jim
Guest
Jim

Just to point out a factoid…. Lowering the MSRP on Saabs would have the effect of improving their residual value retention. This would allow cheaper leasing. That is all.

TJB
Guest
TJB

I am someone who has deen around SAAB for decades!! i know for a fact that the employees at Parkfield did NOT give up…the owners did!! The one owner screwed the other owner so he could get Saab back up to one of his stores and just collect rent! That was the “bully’s” plan the whole time. if any one goes up there i proimse you this they will get “screwed” period. I do not understand how SAAB expects to maintain loyalty with dealers that historically mistreated the customer relationship. A zebra’s stripes do not change when they move to… Read more »

dude
Guest
dude

1. Make navigation standard equipment on the 9-5. The stock stereo makes a terrible first impression on buyers in that space.

2. No incentives, period. Get a good headline sticker that has great shock value, and put that on a big billboard.

100%Saab
Guest
100%Saab

On the otherhand, Saab sales did better last month than the US economy. At least Saab sales are up, because US unemployment is up also. People who don’t have jobs have trouble getting car loans.

Just a thought.

Curvin O'Rielly
Guest
Curvin O'Rielly

You can’t blame the economy. The New York Times reports strong car sales. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/business/02auto.html

Other sales figures of possible interest:
BMW US: November 2010 monthly sales (20,097) up 30% from November 2009.
Total 2010 sales to date: 196,833.
Audi US: November 2010 monthly sales (9,365) up 37.5% from November 2009.
Total 2010 sales to date: 73,686 (an increase of 20% versus year-to-date total in 2009).
(Said to be on track to beat all-time US sales record of 93,506 set in 2007.)
Mercedes-Benz US: November 2010 monthly sales (18,208) up 8.4% from November 2009. Total 2010 sales to date: 196,288.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN

+1 The unemployment didn’t go up dramatically, I think this is mostly seasonal. The unemployment numbers have been hovering around 10% for a while now, which is quite a high number for the US by the way. On the other hand there are a whole bunch of people making a huge amount of money and getting their Xmas bonuses again. But let’s not go there on this forum. The bottom line is that there is enough confidence to start buying cars again, i.e. people being able to put down a large sum of money or people being able to have… Read more »

Stuart
Guest
Stuart

Surprisingly, I have found that people are sizing down more now. So, if a child goes off to college, they just absorb that car and when the lease on another expires, they don’t replace it. We are doing more 72 month financing then ever, and more 39/48 month leasing. People are staying with their cars longer.

Curvin O'Rielly
Guest
Curvin O'Rielly

It’s not just fat cats that are back in market for cars. Overall car sales jumped 17% in November. It was the 11th gain in 12 months. Maybe a recovery is on its way. Hope so.

RS
Guest
RS

Can’t help thinking that if the US sales and brand awareness is really that bad, maybe Saab just should pull the trigger and go for a Superbowl ad, what do we have to lose? (except 4-5 million bucks 😉 ) BUT it would also do wonders to that somewhat lost SAAB pride all over the world (broadcasted in what 50 countries). The only ‘problem’ is that the ad just has to nail it, the Saab US site must be amazing and dealers ready. In 30 seconds they could go for something like this: [VM sitting in a Spyker driving somewhere… Read more »

hughw
Guest
hughw

I’m also curious about Curvin’s reponse. But a one time shot at the Super Bowl (and your story-line ain’t at all bad) will not have staying power. One of my thoughts, as we discussed Parkfield’s closing and the dearth of dealers in some areas, is that there just isn’t a tangible Saab presence in the United States other than legacy Saabs already on the roads. New 9-5s are extremely rare birds, and as many have mentioned, they have yet to have seen in the wild. And dealers, Americans are car drivers; they drive to work, to malls, to entertainment. And… Read more »

Curvin O'Rielly
Guest
Curvin O'Rielly

A good ol’ boy client at Carl Ally’s agency once looked at some ads we were presenting. He liked the work a lot. But then he sat back, smiled and said, “Boys, you gotta slow down… you’re gonna flush the birds before I’ve got the shotgun loaded.” So we slowed down. Working with the client, we made sure that the marketing, sales and distribution arms of his operation were completely up to speed. So that when the ads finally hit, they’d stand a chance of being a big success rather than a total failure. If Saab can get everything locked… Read more »

Curvin O'Rielly
Guest
Curvin O'Rielly

I don’t know what to say about your commercial idea, RS, except to tell you that it fits the strategic thought in one of the AdLob (ad-like object) headlines I presented at this year’s SOC: “The company that bought Saab didn’t buy it to make boring cars.”

A general comment I’d make, though it may not apply to scenes of VM driving a Spyker and then hot dogging around in a Saab, is that “talking head” commercials, especially ones starring company CEOs, usually aren’t big winners.

Talladegan
Guest
Talladegan

“Hi, I’m Victor Muller

Since I was a small boy growing up in Holland I’ve always loved Saabs.

Now I love them so much I bought the company”

[in the style of Victor Kiam’s Remington shaver ads]

North Toronto Punter
Guest

Note to Self: Do not bring RS to Vegas…

[:)]

RS
Guest
RS

I’d call it a calculated risk 😉 1/10 of them marketing budget. Peanuts in the grand scheme of thinks. Maybe Trollhättan could pitch in as well? What if that awareness sold 10.000 new Saabs worldwide. A pretty good investment.

Curvin, I trust you if you say talking heads don’t work, but VM is no ordinary CEO. Would that work for the potential Saab customer in US, I don’t know? Saabers seem to connect to a guy like that and the message should be quite clear.
Saab is alive.

Bromma
Guest
Bromma

One reason that I think the sales might have been so low is that despite the launch of the new 9-5 my local dealer, Schumacher in Palm Beach Florida, has only this week sent me the first of any communication about Saab product since the purchase by Spyker. If you don’t reach out to your loyal customers (I have purchased or leased two Saab 9-3s from the dealership) then you will not sell. It seems pretty easy to me and frankly I was disappointed by the lack of contact. I have yet to see a new 9-5 in the flesh.… Read more »

skn
Guest
skn

Did my part. Wasn’t the perfect car – missing sunroof, missing the new auto dimming headlights, missing keyless access, missing remote starter – all of which are in the 2011. Still bought my 9-5 – and LOVE IT. Here’s the problem – haven’t seen a single other one on the road in the greater Boston area – Saab’s heartland in the US. I understand that it takes time to restart a brand. Patience, everyone. We need to keep asking the questions we’re asking, keep all of us on our toes, not miss opportunities, and especially not make the blunders that… Read more »

Darryl - New Salem Saab
Guest

I have watched, waited and read this post several times. Each time I get another thought idea or perspective. My dealership and I have been mentioned (Thanks Mike) and with over 225 comments this post is serious (not that any other are not). Lastly, someone asked if a Saab dealer could jump in and shed light on our thoughts of what the future holds for Saab. Well as you’ve come to know me, I’m that guy and I will respond to those questions, but I’m one dealer with one voice (opinion) and I will not suggest that my opinion is… Read more »

Me
Guest
Me

+1Bn

It is so easy to say what has to be done if you look at it only from outside.

Thanks for the insight !!!!

Henrik
Guest
Henrik

phu, all I can say is keep up the good work, you really seem to be the finest of Saab-ambassadors!

aeroottawa
Guest
aeroottawa

What a great post! So full of practical wisdom and passion for Saab. Daryl is one of the guys on the front line. We should all listen carefully and reflect on what he says.

Rune
Guest
Rune

Show of hands please: Who here prefer a ride in a classic 99 to a stuffy new van? 🙂

Good post.

Will
Guest
Will

Ugh. Why can’t you be the local dealer??? *Smacks head against wall repeatedly*

Seriously, your dedication is admirable, nay, absolutely incredible.

Bravada from GMI
Guest

Thanks a lot for the insight, Darryl! I wouldn’t like to slam multi-brand dealers (the hardest-working and by far the best and most committed dealer around here is a full-line GM store, and I love them and their commitment), but I do believe the future might be in selecting a narrow base of committed dealers, quite many of them dealing only with Saab. Right now Saab sells the least vehicles per dealer of all the major brands. This is a disaster. An average dealer cannot sustain the Saab business, and either has to be extremely committed, or stuff will happen… Read more »

ivo 71
Guest
ivo 71

Absolutely agreed on the need to focus on regional sales push. Forget about ambitious nationwide advertising. There simply is no adequate sales and service network in place in many parts of the country and Saab cannot afford to start advertising on a nationwide basis and then not be able to deliver cars and acceptable after-sales service in many places. That would be truly lethal since, as the age-old marketing adage goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So my two cents: concentrate the ad budget on those regions where the dealer and service density is… Read more »

RS
Guest
RS

Agree. No nationwide campaign but one big “announcement” would put the record straight ones and for all so that the local advertising could have a credible foundation. Saabers are still all over the place and what better way than reach most of them with an impressive Super Bowl ad? A company can’t be dead or dying if the new owner of SAAB is presented nationwide.
About reaching people around the globe, my bad. I believe ads are just shown in the US. Not included in the international broadcast of course.

Darryl - New Salem Saab
Guest

Bravada – unfortunately, you’re right, there is no IKEA here in Albany. And too bad. Did you know Albany is one of the top test areas for franchising stores and advertising? Thats due to our high penetration in schools, medical centers and state jobs. This market would one of the perfect spots to test ad campaigns as well as other stratagies. Having a car in the shopping mall is an awesome venue. But not without a support person there to speak to people. I have looked into this several times and done it a couple times. Unfortunately, it didn’t sell… Read more »

Bravada from GMI
Guest

You sure are, I just “liked” you 😀 You’re a small dealer, I would be surprised if you had more than one 9-5 in service as a tester/loaner/shuttle, that’s absolutely OK. I certainly wouldn’t demand a loaner for regular maintenance done over a few hours, but I could appreciate the opportunity to drive myself from and then back to the dealership in a new 9-5. Or even a new 9-3X – do you have a 9-3X tester/loaner? ANYHOW, I really do see you’re doing everything you can. The key phrase being “you can”. You’re a small dealer, you’re in the… Read more »

SNJ
Guest
SNJ

Simple statement. The average person looking for a new car does not know that Saab is still in busines. Small ads in the auto section of the newspaper is not cutting it. An ad campaign is necessary. It seems like they may be waiting until the 9-4X is fully stocked in the US or something but an awareness blitz must be undertaken. I know the plan was to appeal to the current and former Saab owners, but even some of them are not aware of the re-emergence of the brand. People on this site are obviously not your typical shop… Read more »

dude
Guest
dude

Saab needs a super bowl ad — a comical one that pounds all of those 60 inch high-def screens with big stark white/black S – A – A – B logo, searing that image into the retina like those apple commercials do. Here’s a place to start for an idea: KEVIN BUTLER. He’s the fictional CEO of SONY in their comical play station ads. Those ads move fast, have slapstick stuff happening in the background, and exude a hyper-obsessive energy about the product. That hyper obsessive energy is balanced by the light tone and hyper-stylization of everything else happening in… Read more »

ivo 71
Guest
ivo 71

A couple of mega-expensive commercials around the Superbowl is imho the last thing Saab needs. The timing is all wrong and the ad budget gets drained with no desirable results at all. For one, it’s the wrong audience (masses instead of ‘people of discerning taste’). And even if it would work response-wise, it would probably also damage or kill the chances of Saab in many parts of the USA. Because if you, based on this Superbowl commercial, actually decide to go and check out these wonderful new models and then discover that there is no Saab dealer and service presence… Read more »

RS
Guest
RS

Ivo, what I like about Saabers is that we can argue without getting into bickering. The ‘only’ question I have is, what is worse people noticing a big time Saab ad, going to the site (a much improved, real Saab site I may add ) and founding out there are no dealers close to you. Okay tough luck. Or, no ad, no interest and the notion that Saab is dead remains. First impression imho is long gone. GM took care of that. The impression is that Saab is dead. My fear is that one more year and the brand is… Read more »

ivo 71
Guest
ivo 71

One or two or three commercials won’t cut it, however great the number of potential watchers. Half of them will go have a leak or get a beer or whatever, most of the others will not finish watching a 30-second commercial. ‘Oh, another car commercial…?’. Not enough retention value in it at too high a cost. To restore brand awareness by means of advertising you need a long multi-medial saturation campaign. If you can’t do that then you need a bombshell. Like getting President and mrs. Obama and mr. Putin and wife to ride a convoy of Saabs in public.… Read more »

Curvin O'Rielly
Guest
Curvin O'Rielly

Ivo…
Wonderful idea. Thanks for the laugh! 🙂

ivo 71
Guest
ivo 71

Thnx, Curvin. So what about the content? Agree or disagree? Try to formulate your response in a non-pro way. I would comprehend it -since I believe you and I do exactly the same for the buck- but the majority of the SU readership is, after all, not in that kind of business.

Ivo

Henrik
Guest
Henrik

I guess most Saab-owners in the US are so because they made an active choice, perhaps they would agree to put a bumper-sticker on their cars with the relevant message? Or under the registration number? Saabs back, 2011 Saabs now in stock etc etc? Not only would it bring the news, it would also show the passion for the brand. Of course SCNA would have to do a thing like this, it has to be the same in the whole country.

David
Guest
David

When I saw the US sales numbers I went through a range of emotions. First I was sad, then the anger started, I was getting more and more annoyed, and now I am back to just being very pissed off, but calm. I want to see blood, there is no doubt about that though. With numbers like this there needs to be consequences. Of course there are 10000 excuses and reasons etc. to why the numbers look like they do. The website is extremely poor, the sales are poor,prices are either too high or lease rates are not competitive, and… Read more »

Jason Powell
Guest

As I write this, there have been 260 comments left already, so forgive if anyone has already had this kind of an idea to help. My thinking is that with Saab having a small budget for advertising and marketing, how can we all help? When Saab was almost done, Saabsunited and Saab groups of owners came together and put pressure on everyone to get something done to save the brand, which was incredible. Why can’t we get together and do the same thing with auto journalist and print media types to write about what Saab is doing right, about this… Read more »

Bravada from GMI
Guest

Hey Jason, I absolutely agree, you’re so right! For now, what we can do is make sure everybody and their grandma get the message about the absolutely brilliant Make-A-Wish tie-up. Those living in the US – plaster it over your wall, “share” with friends, mention in your early season’s greetings, talk about incessantly during parties or just call up your dealer, book a time slot and arrive with a Saabload of your BMW/Mercedes/Audi/Volvo-driving friends for a little Saab party (I am sure between the dealer, yourself and your local Saab Club you will be able to organize some gingerbread and… Read more »

Steve C.
Guest
Steve C.

Soon after the the deal to buy Saab was official in February, I worked with a media contact and my dealer to generate a Saab story in NJ’s largest circulation paper that eventually appeared on May 23 on the front-page of the Business section. The story, N.J. auto dealers persevere to salvage businesses, can be read on-line. To get directly to the Saab story, scroll to the TASMANIAN BLOG heading.

Dippen
Guest
Dippen

+1

Another idea is : “if customer does not come to the dealer…then let the dealer come to the customer”

Why not let the dealer show up with NG9-5s and 9-3s at sport events or any gatherings, i think direct contact with people is important.

Jason Powell
Guest

Dippen, Totally agree with taking the cars to the customer. Sporting events might be tough because teams and venues make you pay to be there or just not allow you. We do plan to be in malls when mall shows come up. We don’t seem to have it as bad as the US as far as customers coming back, there is a lot of excitement in Canada about Saab’s return and the customers are on all the sites tracking things. Direct contact is very important and that is why a lot of dealers are working with Saab Clubs to have… Read more »

Leeloo
Guest
Leeloo

I told you.. didn’t I;) Merry Christmas!

//Leeloo

SAABLANCE
Guest

Heres a simple queston and it presumes the obvious:all of the posters are aware of the 9-5’s availability and Saab’s continued existence.All of you who have purchased or leased a Saab product in the last three years,raise your hands ……figuratively, of course.Post what,.where and when.

Bromma
Guest
Bromma

March 2009, purchased a new 2008 model 9-3 Aero v6 saloon, Schumacher in Palm Beach, Florida.

Steve C.
Guest
Steve C.

A 2010 9-3 SC, also from Reinertsen Motors, Denville, NJ (just five miles from the site of SOC11 in Parsippany, NJ), purchased on the last day of September 2010. And, I had the opportunity to share the news and show the car to Victor a week later!

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