Motorexpo, which is basically a traveling auto show aimed at the business lunch crowd near downtown cores, has already made two stops, first in LA and then in London. Now it’s moved into downtown Toronto, and our reader Yuri took some pictures and made some great observations. If you live in the greater Toronto area, the show is totally free and is open 10 AM-6 PM at Brookfield Place through Friday.
There’s not too many brands on display, GM is there though. Saab is surrounded by Jaguar, Porsche, Ferrari, Tesla, Range Rover, and Jaguar– the trend of show planners associating Saab with super high end brands like they did at the NY Auto Show continues. The Saab Cars North America team is representing the stand, which has a 9-5, 9-3 convertible, and 9-4X. Yuri reports that when he went down on his lunch break, there was a lot of interest around the Saab stand, with most of it around the 9-4X. He overheard questions like, “Who are the dealers in Toronto?” and “When will it be available?” It seems most Torontonians are unaware that the brand still exists, has such amazing new product, or even has a dealer in their area. Clearly, it’s time to change that.
23 thoughts on “Saab Stand at Motorexpo Toronto”
WOW!!! Saab is showing cars in Canada. I just sent a message to Saab to see if the 9-4X could possibly make its way out west. I’m not holding my breath, but that is truly a West Coast winner. For the people of Ontario wondering where they can buy Saabs, here is a list of Ontario dealers:
Budd’s Saab – Oakville, Ontario
Saab on the Queensway – Toronto, Ontario
Saab/Suzuki of Kitchener – Kitchener, Ontario
Ultimate Automobiles – London, Ontario
Four dealers for Ontario has got you covered. Really great to see SCNA representing Canada a little. Hopefully this continues throughout Canada and we get more exposure.
I agree! I would like to see this in downtown Calgary!
I sent an email off earlier today and got a response that they are going to try to work with SCNA to get a 9-4X to make the rounds through the dealer network in Canada. So hopefully we will be able to see one soon.
Jason: don’t forget Turpin Saab-Suzuki here in Ottawa
From what I understood, they have or are in the process of shutting down the Suzuki/Saab store. This was reported once before on SU too. Their closure is not because of Saab and from what I understand, they became a Suzuki store first when GM took their GM franchise agreement away and then added Saab to the mix. I believe they have a service center somewhere too. Still, lots of Saab dealers to deal with in Ontario.
Jason: where did you get that information? I was out there last Sunday and they were still in business and saw at least 10 new Saab’s on the lot. However, if you are right and they do close, I think that spells the end of Saab in Ottawa. No one is going to drive 4-5 hours to Toronto for servicing and warranty work.
It was on this site last month somewhere and I wasn’t sure if it were true or not. I then contacted the dealer and was told the same thing. I believe they have a service center out there somewhere as well and I’m not sure of the timing of when things will happen. Turpin as you are probably aware of was a big GM store and I believe a dealer of their size, it is hard to make it work with Saab and Suzuki when you were use to having GM sales volume from trucks, suv’s and cars.
The lack of brand recognition in Canada is also a problem here in the US. SCNA needs to aggressively market Saab (and I know this will drive Saab_Andee crazy). Sorry. I know there is no budget for advertising but some creative minds need to consider how to increase consumer knowledge about Saab.
This Motorexpo thing looks like it would be an inexpensive solution. I don’t know how this works, but the display looks like it could be like a mall display and if we have a lack of foot traffic in dealer showrooms, maybe we should bring the cars to the people. We as a dealer have done 2 mall displays ourselves this year that we paid for, but what if Saab had a global road show, hitting different malls across the globe for ride and drive events??? People would see the product and get to touch and feel it and maybe even drive it…. Seems to me that it could be inexpensive.
Mall displays of cars are rather common here. Oakridge Mall in Vancouver being the best example. It is a “west side” mall so I guess many of the luxury brands retailers have much to gain from the added exposure of their products from their target prospective clientele. It would seem like a low-cost, low-hanging fruit solution for any dealer to arrange with the mall owner for a display of 2-4 vehicles.
Jason P: maybe Springman’s could talk to Oakridge, Richmond Centre and Park Royal malls to get some ideas going !
SaabKen, or they could give us the keys so we can drive round in one each to show off the new cars. I’d pay for the gas!!! Jason? Over to you? 😉
zippy, wish I could, but you guys could always come back out and go for another drive and maybe do an updated video.
Already have talked to the company that takes care of those shows, the only problem with those areas is getting someone out there to keep the cars clean. We have done our local mall here with three cars and the one in White Rock with two. Both actually brought some people into the dealership too.
Hey if you want a volunteer at the weekend to keep the car clean I’d do it for nothing!!! I’m serious. Anything to get that gorgeous 9-5 the attention it deserves.
PS Park Royal is a great mall in a ‘rich’ area. Richmond Centre would get a lot of traffic too.
Yeah, Zippy (and a few other local keeners [looks away, whistles ….]) could help with the detailing. I’ll supervise.
The Motorexpo is a great idea. Our local dealer displayed his cars at a local auto show and the responce was great. We need more creative ideas such as this.
Going off of the idea of Saabs in malls, my idea is for modern-looking and eye catching urban dealerships. The place itself can be small, but my idea is for this sort of deal to help Saabgain attention in urban environments. I have the concept somewhat sketched in Sketchup. The cars in inventory can be held in an off-site lot. But these stores can be owned by existing dealers, new dealers, or even SCNA themselves. Now, that would get Saab some attention in places such as NYC, where there are no dealerships.
Jake– I proposed this exact same idea almost two years ago to then Sales Director Adrian Hallmark, who now is leading Jaguar’s team. He agreed it’s something worth investigating. Saab actually already had something similar to this in London, called their “city centre” but I think with the changing face of retail and pop up stores, the concept could definitely change.
I’m thinking of a few low budget Auto-Show like displays that travel around during warmer months in each particular location (for instance 3 displays in the US SoHo NYC, Newbury Boston, Yorkville Toronto in the Summer, South Beach Miami, WeHo LA, Market St San Francisco), and just rent out retail spaces in these places for a few months. Cost effective and targeted, partner with local dealers to set up follow ups/test drives, special offers, special events (concerts, etc). It could be a pretty great exercise and get the brand message out to a lot more people in high visibility areas. Imagine putting something like the Saab Auto Show display into a 30,000sqft store with all models represented.
Here’s a concrete example of one close by where I live in NYC. Wired used this space on Broadway in a highly trafficked area of NoHo last winter. They actually had a Buick Regal GT (still unreleased, but coming) and I had a chance to sit in it and marvel at the build quality. If Saab had just sponsored that, it would have been a monumental coup– they had the Buick in a busy spot in the store and there was always usually a line to sit in it.
The same space is now being used by Major League Baseball as the “Fan Cave.” Two guys are watching every single game of baseball played this year as a job, and getting paid to do it. Pretty amazing actually. As you can see it’s very cool inside, but besides that it just a great gathering spot for tourists and locals. There have been several high visibility events, celebrities dropping by. Just tons of buzz and very cool. Saab could do something very similar and even cooler if planned properly.
As you can see it’s very cool inside, but besides that it just a great gathering spot for tourists and locals. There have been several high visibility events, celebrities dropping by. Just tons of buzz and very cool. Saab could do something very similar and even cooler if planned properly.
Oh yeah, and malls are cool too 😛
Well, that was certainly detailed… I feel as though the Saab version could be a bit more expanded, too, with full sales reps, finance reps, and even a movie theater with a constant roll of Saab footage. The front of the store would be glass, and the theater would be seen through front, even though it’d be in the back of the main showroom. The main showroom would show a single car, but through either the back of the main showroom (by the theater) or through a small corridor on either side, the main showroom could branch off into two separate showrooms with two more cars in either wing. These cars could be used as test-drivers, or as transport to the inventory lot, where customers could see their cars before they bought them. Furthermore, Saab could reserve some parking in the city, and have a “valet” service, where the driver would hand the keys to someone inside, and have them drive their car off to a separate service point. Besides, with so many services off site, Saab could actually affordthe real estate! Real estate in NY, for instance, is expensive, so the smaller the location, the better.
Now, imagine if all of the Saab showrooms were like this, even in rural areas: Saab dealers wouldn’t need stock! There would be off-site lots, where there would be a nationwide truck system in place. Therefore, Saab wouldn’t waste extra resources making cars unnecessarily, and people could pick and choose with ease what cars they’d want to buy! I also believe that the idea of a theater is a biggie. When you’re getting you car serviced, you get bored. Easily. And if there aren’t loaners or a shuttle, you can’t go anywhere but the showroom. What better way to keep people informed and interested about Saabs than “trapping” people inside of your dealership, and “forcing” them to watch a couple of neat movies???
Would you perhaps like me to scan and send you my plans? 😀
Here’s the thing Jake– the whole space can’t be bigger than 20-30,000 sqft. I don’t necessarily know if you want test drives in crowded city traffic, not exactly the best place to show of the cars. The exercise is more about brand visibility than selling cars.
I like the concept of your idea, but you might want to scale it back just a little bit 😉 The idea of rural/suburban car stores with trucked in cars doesn’t exactly make sense– dealers like to have several options to get customers into just the right car immediately. For exotic one off cars, your solution definitely makes sense, but for mass produced ones like Saab, probably not. Perhaps a special edition could be ordered, absolutely– the IE is a prime example of that. But Saab’s bread and butter volume models need dealer lots.
A sensible compromise is hooking up for example is having dealer reps staff the event/showroom, each are allowed a certain day or time, that way there isn’t excess competition between representatives for a sale, but it at least allows the dealer access to more foot traffic.
On the theater idea– I get what you’re saying, and Buick took it a step further at the WIRED showroom. You actually watched an experiential movie that made it feel like you were driving the car from inside the car. It was kinda horrible to tell the truth. I think the idea of an urban space is to make it part of the experience of shopping, registering the brand in as many passerby’s mind as something high visibility, cutting edge, and premium. When my mom owned a Toyota, they put in a very high tech movie theater next to the waiting room, complete with popcorn machine and beverages– it was usually empty, sometimes parents with kids would use it, but otherwise empty. Meanwhile the waiting room with CNN was always full. I think an urban dealer wouldn’t even need the theater because the whole idea of it being urban is that there’s other services/stores surrounding it. Meanwhile, if you’re stuck at a dealer waiting for your car to be fixed, instead of watching propaganda how great the company is servicing your likely broken car is, a better plan might be to give them free wifi, coffee, basically make it as close to a first class airport lounge as possible, so they can get along with their day as uninterrupted as possible.
Definitely send in your plans, feel free to just send the Sketchup file, I can view it. I do think it’s a good idea for Saab though. The whole operation ends up costing less than a few national network ad buys.
Yeah, the Sketchup design is practically finished… The thing about the theater, is that it would be built in to the showroom, not a separate room. The idea of it is so that people see the bright colors in the glass building across the street, and therefore are drawn to it, like moths by light. I don’t expect many to be watching it religiously, but only to use it as an attention grabber.
Regarding test drives-I don’t know how any dealer in NYC does test drives, but the showroom is easily under what you suggested-it’s only 1,785 square feet. Of course, the off-site lot would have to be much larger, but the showroom can be actually quite small-the idea is for it to look like a modern boutique, so it can sprout up in all sorts of places, and therefore gain more attention in more places.
Sounds good, [email protected] works 🙂 I think the small permanent location has the risk of getting lost in the retail shuffle, I like the idea that you want to do something bold and eye catching though to get attention. I’m not sure that the expense of what you’re suggesting works right now though, long term once Saab is on stronger footing perhaps, but right now, I’m just not sure.
You’re focused on it as a permanent sales tool, I’m focused on it more as a marketing exercise. That’s why were coming at it two different ways, we see it as a different problem. I like what you’re saying though going forward for sure, brand centers could be great for Saab.
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