Independence Day – Australia

No photos – it was a meeting and a dinner. But it was a good one.

Today I had the pleasure of meeting up with Saab’s Australian team, as well as the dealer principals from the dealerships that will make up the beginning of the Australian Saab network.

It’s small beginnings at Saab Australia, for sure, but it’s an incredibly dedicated and enthusiastic team. I was really, really impressed with their industry experience and knowledge, but moreso by their excitement at the prospect of doing a ground-up rebuild of the Saab brand here in Australia.

And yes, they really are starting from the ground up. Right now, the offices are so new that they don’t even have a fridge!

But this is one keen team and the dealers seem pretty excited as well. Some of the original planned dealers have not been able to come on board straight away due to logistic concerns expressed by other brands they hold. Basically, at GM’s request, a Saab dealer has to have a separated building and keep their Saab stuff away from GM stuff (all are carry-over dealers from pre-sale days). Not all dealers have that facility, but those that do are on board and all have taken a share of Saab’s first stock shipment.

The other good news for Aussies is that the 9-5 launch will be held in April. Press events will be held in the first third of the month, so cars should hopefully be available for distribution in the near term, following that program.

I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to make a presentation to the dealer group, talking about Saabs United and the role the website was fortunate enough to play covering the sale. Of course, a huge part of that was the Saab Support Convoys and I got to share just how big an impact you, the community, had on keeping Saab’s fate in the public eye.

We had a great time here. I hope you’re having a great time wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

14 thoughts on “Independence Day – Australia”

  1. Great work Swade. Do understand that you have to stop with SU when you go in and start working for Saab Australia.. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ (I still wish for that to happen – like responsible for marketing or something like that.. πŸ˜‰ )

    A totally other thing.. a small question: Is the Australian car market as in the US – you buy a car straight from the floor, or is it as in Sweden – you order a car and wait for it?

    • Usually straight from the floor, otherwise it’s a 3-4 month wait for your custom order. Also like the US if you want a manual you are then going to be waiting 3-4 months.

      • Thanks for the information. πŸ™‚

        So.. is it so common with a manual transmission? Or rather.. is it so rare with a manual stick on cars on the dealers floor?

        • Manual take up is low – my experience is that it is females (?) that mostly request a manual car. Manuals are not currently available on the Australian market.

          • Saab Australia need to attract a younger demographic asap, pricing has not taken into account the strength of the Australian dollar, i visited a Saab dealer last week and found the MY2011 9-3ss aero and linear models to be overpriced and under cooked, i went in all excited and left dejected, i’m glad my c900 was built to last, unfortunately high k’s mean the 9-5 has to go, looking like Honda or Subaru as a replacement as the Saab economics don’t add up

  2. Good to see they have the right people in place. Would be incredible to see Saab take off in Australia from these humble beginnings. Hope you can have more of an official role in the future as you scale back your operations here Steve.

    Happy Independence Day!

  3. I notice that ( in Melbourne) they are pricing the 9-3X at $70,000 ( drive away) . I think they will struggle to sell them at that price- MJB

  4. “…a Saab dealer has to have a separated building and keep their Saab stuff away from GM stuff…”
    I guess that means our old Hobart dealer is out for now. I’m not in a position to buy but it’d be nice to see a Saab presence here and some new Saabs on the road.

  5. Swade, great work.
    Hey sorry I didn’t think of this earlier. Since they have to have a seperate area for SAABs and they may have some supply issues (so some spare floorspace) or even desire a differnt sort of teaser, you could ask the dealers if they are interested in “hosting” some great examples of SAAB History. I’m sure we coudl put a collection together.
    For me I am more than willing to loan the Adelaide Dealer (I assume Metro) my Sonett for a coule of months. From photos you have shown before its really effective in overseas dealers. A Black 99 Turbo or red Bullnose would look great next to the new 9-5!

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