Press release: New sales directors for USA and Germany

In Germany Jan-Philipp Schuhmacher has been appointed as new Country Director for Saab Germany. He comes from Land Rover Germany where he was National Sales Manager over the past two years.

Is this the vengeance for Hallmark ??? 😉

And in the USofA Mr. James Sweeting has also been appointed as new executive national sales director. He comes from Honda USA. I don’t know how Honda is performing in the states, so lets wait what he can do to get the sales figures high.

Both press releases after the jump.

Thanks to TedY and rodmylon for the hints.

Jan-Philipp Schuhmacher New Country Director Saab Germany

Joins Saab Automobile from Land Rover
Succeeds interim Country Director Kjell-Åke Eriksson

Trollhättan, Sweden: Saab Automobile today announced the appointment of Jan-Philipp Schuhmacher as new Country Director for Saab Germany, effective April 1. Schuhmacher takes over from Kjell-Åke Eriksson, who acted as interim Country Director following the departure of Hans-Jörg Hänggi on December 31, 2010. Going forward, Eriksson will fully focus again on his position as head of Saab Automobile’s Purchasing department.

Schuhmacher, 38, brings a wealth of experience in the German market to Saab Automobile. Apart from being a German native, he acted as National Sales Manager for Land Rover Germany over the past two years. Before that, he filled several management positions within Jaguar and Land Rover’s German and UK organizations.

Jonathan Nash, Regional Director Europe for Saab Automobile, commented: “We are delighted that with Jan-Philipp, we can welcome a very qualified and experienced automotive manager to the Saab Automobile family. Germany is a key market for us in Europe and I am sure that Jan-Philipp will prove to be a valuable addition to our management team in Germany.”


Saab Cars North America Announces New Executive National Sales Director

Royal Oak, Mich: Saab Cars North America today announced the introduction of a new executive national sales director, Mr. James Sweeting. The announcement comes as Saab embarks on its biggest-ever product offensive with four all-new products since 2010.

Effective March 15, Mr. Sweeting will lead sales efforts in Saab’s largest market, North America. He will report directly to Saab Automobile AB Executive Director Global Sales & Aftersales and interim COO SCNA, Matthias Seidl. Over the course of the next few months SCNA aims to announce a permanent COO.

James joins SCNA with 27 years of automobile industry experience in the United States. Beginning his automotive career with Chrysler Corporation, he has spent the past 24 years with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. in various sales and marketing rolls. Most recently he held the Zone Sales Manager position in Honda’s South Central Zone responsible for all sales and market representation activities in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.

“We are honored to have Jim join our North American team in a very pivotal year for Saab Cars North America,” said Matthias Seidl, Executive Director Global Sales and Aftermarket and interim COO SCNA. “Jim’s extensive automotive sales experience will help rebuild Saab’s presence in the North American market, ultimately increasing volume opportunities with our new product portfolio – the all-new 9-5 sedan, Saab’s first crossover, the 9-4X, the 9-5 SportCombi and highly anticipated all-new 9-3.”

Saab Automobile also recently announced a new global sales organization with four regions, each led by a regional director located in Trollhättan, Sweden, responsible for market development, sales and aftersales. The regions identified in the new structure are: Americas, Nordic, Europe, and Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa.

The Americas region includes the United States, and will be led by Alan Ludwell, recently responsible for importer markets at Saab Automobile AB. Magnus Hansson will continue as regional director for the Nordics, where Sweden is the largest market. The Europe region will be led by Jonathan Nash, who leaves his position as managing director of Saab Great Britain. Saab Automobile AB aims to announce a regional director for Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, where China will become the main focus.

18 thoughts on “Press release: New sales directors for USA and Germany”

  1. I welcome both to the Saab team. They are much needed as both markets in Germany and USA needs a fresh boost.

    • In fact, when I bought my first Saab back in 2000 (the 9-3 hatchback), I had previously owned an Acura Integra hatchback (Honda product) and while the Integra was a great car, the 9-3 felt like a step up in quality. If Mr. Sweeting can understand and help sales communicate what makes Saab cars special, he certainly has the experience of managing sales for a successful brand in the US.

  2. I would speculate that about 50% of American Saab owners were loyal GM based buyers. This includes GM employees and family members buying Saabs on the GM extended family member program and using the GM credit card rebates. I would expect some of these Saab owners will be staying with GM products. Saab needs to retain as many these owners as possible. A Saab base rebate credit card would help.

    Just a thought.

    • Interesting post. I have never actually thought of it in that way. Thanks for a new perspective on it!

      • I was concidering a Chevy Malibu but wanted a six speed manual, which Chevy wasn’t offering at the time. Then I read an article in Car and Driver making fun of the 9-3 for being built on the same platform as the Malibu (which was an award winning car, so i didn’t and don’t understand why that was a bad thing nor do I understand why that magazine is so critical of everything GM builds- let the 70’s and 80’s, they are over) anyway I bought a new 2007 9-3 in 2008 and then in 2009 traded it in with 30,000 flawless miles for a new 2008 Pepper Green Metallic Aero, XWD because 280 hp sounded fun and I liked the new body better. So there are two sales from one guy because of the GM connection… and I will buy the 9-4x next spring too. It is safe to say my business is safe with Saab.

    • Saab wasn’t eligible for the GM card rebates when I bought in 2005.

      Did they change this policy later?

  3. Here’s hoping for some stability and continuity. A small firm like Saab pays a price when senior people continue to leave.

    Continuity = confidence and comfort.

  4. Good news on both appointments. I feel as if the Geneva show, model intros and PhoeniX concept are finally building momentum for our favorite brand. Also I am seeing more advertisements on TV, on billboard and magazines. Things are looking up. Still a long way to go, but it is in the right direction.

  5. Honda is a very popular vanilla car brand in the USA. Very well marketed for a mediocre vehicle (something I take very personally due to a family death involving a Honda automobile with inadequate safety features). If he can sell Hondas, he is a good pick for Saab in the USA market, where he can market truly outstanding motor vehicles.

  6. Before purchasing my 2009 SAAB 9.3 XWD…I owned a 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid and a 2007 Honda Civic….I love Honda….seriously. A drunk driver hit me broadside and almost T-boned my 2007 Civic…all airbags deployed and I walked away from the crash unharmed except for a few scratches and being shook up. Honda is an excellent car. So is SAAB….SAAB/Honda are the only cars I would consider after owning both….

  7. Including Acura, its so-called luxury car, Honda sold 1.23 million vehicles in the US during 2010, up from 1.15 million in 2009.

  8. Not sure about how well Hondas fare in the region that Mr. Sweeting is from, but Honda in general are a perennial star in the US auto market. Their Civics and Accords are benchmarks for their segments and in upstate NY, where I am, the Pilots abound.

    I believe that Saabs are a step up from Honda in style, safety, performance and design ethos. Having said that, Honda has done well primarily due to their excellent reliability record and their resale values. In my mind, they are more like appliances, but you can not argue with success, as there are many out there who are really only interested in getting from A to B with the minimum of fuss.

    Hopefully the indoctrination and learning curve for the Saab target market and prime prospects will be absorbed quickly so that they foot traffic into the showrooms increases as the new and refreshed models come on line.

  9. I think both Mr’s are well familiar with their respective countries as their former networks are well established. This means a lot of contacts out in the field. And IMHO this is a vital key to success with Saab. The cars are good as long as the people starts to believe in them. And with people I mean the ones who are selling them. You don’t need to be especially active in selling a German car to a German. The Media is doing most of the selling in form of advertising and Press coverage. Saab doesn’t have that much power. So it is up to the sales force to fill in the Media gap and make people look in a broader (independent) view.

    Welcome to the Team…!

  10. Red-J;
    Nice to see you posting. Good work. Well, what can we say about Honda in the US? It’s big, and has a lot of money to spend. I remember during the Holidays the ran a special TV USA ad for the Accord hatch, with a special jingle. In Phoenix at least they ran this ad, 2000 times during the 12 days of
    Christmas. On the local Fox channel they would run it in prime time 3, 4 times an hour for days.You knew it was on even of you weren’t looking at it due to the special jingle. It was like being forced to listen to the worst song in the world. I remember thinking these guys have so much money to spend it’s amazing. Could be a culture shock for Mr. Sweeting

  11. At least Sweeting has experience selling massive amounts of cars. He knows that advertising, leasing helps. And pricing. It is crucial to get pricing correct to maximize profits, and here I believe Saab needs professional help. So that’s good.

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