Whilst I’ve had email dealing with Kurt Schirm for some time now, we first met in person just a few months ago at the LA Auto Show. Like all the dealers I met there, Kurt’s passion for the brand was obvious and he was a wonderful guy to talk to about Saab and the future.
Automotive News have just published an interview with Kurt and I think you’ll see that passion come out in his heartfelt descriptions of life under GM, the sale process, and the outlook for the future. Kurt gives some sage words of wisdom about how it feels at the coalface when it comes to selling Saabs and the message that needs to be promoted in 2011.
What can Saab do to help dealers sell more cars?
I think it’s really just staying focused on creating the brand, relaunching and re-educating. In a lot of instances, educating for the first time the U.S. consumer base about the brand, really digging into the history and heritage.
I think that’s one of the things that makes European cars special and makes them worth the premium. You know, there is a heritage and history to each of the brands that makes them worth more than the sum of the sheet metal and components.
Saab has a very rich history, especially for a company as small as Saab, [such as] the level of engineering, the number of innovations that they’ve brought to the industry, the number of patents, the number of industry firsts. It’s really an impressive story. And the way they think about engineering, it’s always to bring things to the simplest common denominator so they don’t overcomplicate design when it doesn’t need to be.
We need to pound that message as to what Saab is, what the brand means, and what products we have in our current portfolio that are the embodiment of that heritage. We need a very well thought out efficient method of communicating that.
I think Kurt’s right on the money here. I’ve always been a solid believer in Saab’s heritage playing a part in building their future. The first thing that got me interested in Saab was my first ride in a Saab 9000. The second thing that got me interested in Saab was the incredibly engaging story of where they came from and why they did things differently to other car companies.
Saab need to promote their product first and foremost, but they’ve got a lot of other great stories to tell, as well, and I hope they dig deep and bring them all to the proverbial table.
Thanks to Gerhard for the tip!