Saab US Sales Data – June 2011

Update from Jeff

June 2011

.                    Sales                           YTD                            Stock

9-3                 216                             2,821                            2,008

9-5                 107                             650                               1,659

Total             323 (+50%)              3,471 (+155%)            3,667


June 2010

.                   Sales                              YTD                              Stock

9-3              204                                1,084                             2,253

9-5               5                                     175                                 21

9-7X            7                                      87                                  11

Total            216                                1,346                             2,285


June 2011 323 (216 in June 2010) +50%
YTD 2011 3438 (1346 YTD 2010) +155%

Year Total 2010: 5445

9-4X sales will be counted for July, since it hasn’t even been delivered to a single dealer yet. They are in port however (confirmed by dealer sources) and as I drove over the NJ Turnpike last night looking down into the parking areas I saw amongst the thousands of cars a pretty large pool of what looked to be 9-4Xs by themselves with white hood protectors. I’ll try to take a picture next time I go over it next weekend.

56 thoughts on “Saab US Sales Data – June 2011”

  1. I think Saab needs to look at it’s pricing structure in the US. They should lower the prices for a few years to get more cars into the hands of consumers then slowly build up over a 5 year period. Would it be better to sell three 9-5s at $35000 rather than one at between $40-50K? The North American market is a lot different to Europe but I still expect to get flamed by some of my European colleagues. Cars are only expensive in Europe because your greedy governments have outrageous carbon and sales taxes.

    I do, however, think the 9-4X will help with brand awareness as will the new boss at SCNA.

    • Happy Canada Day !!!!
      Here is my flame:
      Have you read some hints from Jeff on the 9-5 SC price? I don’t think they will leave the 9-5 Sedan price untouched if they want to sell it side by side with the SC 😉

    • You’re right about the Sales taxes.
      But there are a few points that makes the NA market a little annoying:

      There is no Gas Tax, which means that there is no incentive for NA customers to buy economic cars, which turns interest on to larger or more powerfull cars.
      The rest of the world is downsizing, meaning that you almost need to have cars for NA only.
      Not something that I think Saab can afford.
      When NA get to the european price of 8,5 USD a Gallon the interests might be better matched

      Take the prices from the latest China sale..approx EUR22.000 per car.
      Probably with a hefty rebate.
      Thats about USD 33.000 per car..
      How low should the price of the average Saab be at the dealer?

      • There are gasoline/diesel taxes in the US, they just don’t have the price effect they have here in Europe. Federal tax is 18.4 cents per gallon of gas and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel. State taxes exist too and of course vary from state to state. 😉

    • Lowering prices is a tricky proposition. If you overdue it: you risk sending the wrong signals. But, on the other hand, you want to make people feel like they are getting a great value.

      Adding more standard-equipment is a good compromise, in my mind. I would argue that slight price cuts + making highly appealing options standard, combined with heavy advertising would do the trick.

      • Lowering the price can be tricky. Going out of business because you don’t sell anything on the other hand is frighteningly easy. They have to get the cars on the roads. When people see them, it generates interest. Interest just might generate a purchase.

        How about they lower the price some, but also mail a big old coupon out to existing Saab owners and people who have signed up for information. Coupons to the interested people. The public sees a premium vehicle at a respectable price (good for brand image) while those most likely to buy one get to take their coupon and get the fire-sale price. When things improve, the coupons go away. No big bright and embarrassing “$29,800” signs need to be stuck on the windshields of cars beside the road to draw in those most likely to buy one. (That is not a made-up number. I was looking at one last night on the web at that price. A 2011 model.)

        • I like the idea. I was supposed to get a loyalty coupon for $1000 which I did not get. Apparently even my salesperson did not get his. A $1000 is way to little. It needs to be $4000 or $5000.

          I was on a Caddilac board the other day and one of the people was saying that Cadillac’s CTS(?) premium sedan is selling for less than the 9-5.

          Don’t know how Saab can compete with that.

          It is not only the fact that European cars have much higher taxes but also the fact that these cars can be made cheaper in North America. I say let the 9-5 be made in Kansas City and Ottawa along side the LaCrosse. Then the 9-5 would be price competitive.

          On a more positive note, my neighbor who owns an S class ( a couple of years old) asked me yesterday when he saw my new 9-5 if I bought a new car. I told him yes. He commented about how much he liked the style. When I looked over at his S Class, I could see what he meant. In comparison to the 9-5 , his S Class looked very outdated.

        • On the topic of getting the cars on the road, perhaps Saab could partner with a major rental car company and rent the 9-5 out as a “premium” vehicle (next to Buicks & Cadillacs). It would get the right demographic (businessmen, professionals) behind the wheel of a 9-5. People who never considered owning a Saab could have their opinion of the brand changed.

          • I realize that some (maybe all?) of the SU managment consists of Saab insiders but I hope that folks in charge of marketting at Saab are taking note of the ideas being tossed around here because I am seeing a lot of seriously nuanced suggestions being posted.

  2. The US sales data is actually pretty encouraging. That’s a big percentage jump, even in the face of a lot of bad press and financial troubles. Those are clear indications that there is pent up demand for Saab vehicles that will turn into actual sales very shortly.

    • It is great that there’s a 50% increase in June 2011 over June 2010. The US did better than Sweden, which probably isn’t too surprising since Saab isn’t in the news everyday here. With any luck there will be massive improvements in June 2012, with the Griffin 9-3s, 9-5s, and 9-4xs. In my desire to support the company, I was at one of my nearby Saab dealers today and the new cars are absolutely gorgeous, no question about it. I was debating about trading in my 2007 9-3 for a 2011 former loaner without too many miles. But it doesn’t yet make financial sense. And I remembered that I don’t care for nocturne blue in person, which is just as well. I was surprised, though, that they don’t have any Fourth of July sales going on, unfortunately. But the cars are amazing.

      • It´s easy to increase sales in the US with that stock – We have nearly no real stock at the dealers in europe as it is a order market and only delivered cars were counted

  3. The problem with the 50K price tag n a new 9-5 Aero in the US is that it’s too close to BMW and Audi without the preceived same quality. I know this seems cheap compared to other countries but it’s very expensive in the US. We’ve had this discussion a month ago or so and the bottom line was that Saab needs to increase the spec of the model (include navigation as standard), reduce the price around 5% and institue a no haggle policy. There are currently dealers going out of business due to a lack of sales. Saab cannot sustain itself at the current rate of sales. After all of the recent bad news, Saab also needs to push a big marketing campain to announce that they are still alive and well.

  4. Can a dealer comment on the US rebates for 2010 dealer stock and or demos? What is the cash being offered to incentivize the sales.

    The marketing proposition is to show value to the consumer. Value doesn’t mean rock bottom pricing for luxury, but what you get for what you pay. For the US market I believe that The technology package, that Nav, HUD, and the panorama sunroof should be “standard.” That type of content on a base $38k turbo4 to a $49,999 totally loaded awd aero 9-5 hits the sweet spot. That’s about $6k in sticker value options. Then as demand grows you raise the price to elevate the Brand. Once you cut sticker pricing it’s harder to move back up.

    It may seem like semantics but it’s better to show the Nav, HUD and Sunroof on the MSRP. add a line item for “SAAB 2011 first year independence gift to consumer” and credit back the value of the Nav, technology package and Sunroof. The consumer sees the value and you are not moving your product down market by cutting base price or possible tarnishing the US luxury status by having decontented /low optioned products. I think we’ve had numerous comments and threads about the standard radio head in the 9-5 having a less than premium screen/interface for the consumer.

    Just my two cents

    • I almost got one of the “stripped” lease cars under the June lease incentive plan. One or two on the lot didn’t have a sunroof and none had nav or HUD or premium sound or a host of other options. I ended up getting a loaner with 6500 miles instead for $75 month more that was loaded to the gills. With all the loaner’s options, the car is a much more delightful car than the 9-5 stripped lease cars. All of the omitted options on the “stripped” cars made the car kinda boring. When far cheaper cars come with all of these things, it seemed like a very outdated car. In some ways these stripped models seemed more outdated than my 9-5’s 7 years old.

      • Congratulations. Kelly Saab in Lancaster PA has the owners 2010 9-5 demo (7500 miles and optioned at 54k) for $48k, I’m a convertible guy but the 9-5 speaks louder and louder to me each time I see it.
        I agree with you, I’d rather have all the toys with bells and whistles to play with.

        • I bought the owner’s demo and it was something like $51K list. This is my fifteenth Saab and the only configuration of 9-3 and 9-5 I haven’t owned is a convertible. I very much want one but in the end practicality wins out every time.

          • LOL. But a Saab 9-3 convertible is for the practical minded. We bought mine after driving the 3series and A4 back to back with the Saab. What color combination did you get? I like the Fjord blue but the blacked out a pillars and chrome trim are nicely accented by arctic white.

    • I don’t think there are any incentives to purchase 2010 stock other than the dealer lowering the price. I bought a 2010 model in April and tried to lease it but there were no leases available. The only discount was $1,000 Saab loyalty rebate. The dealer did give me a sweet deal on it but there was nothing from the factory to move it.

  5. Before you start making the “lower the prices” point, please take a 9-5 Aero for a testdrive, and drive it to the BMW dealer to compare it to an equally equipped 5. You will find that: the 9-5 drives just as good, looks way better, has much more legroom and has a intuitive touchscreen instead of a complicated one button interface. Interior is a matter of taste, I personally found the 5 interior disappointing (boring). If you like the 5 interior better, think again if you know the 5 (comparably equiped) cost $10,000 extra. The Saab is a great deal.

    Saab’s problem is not the price, it’s lack of visibility, especially of the 9-5.

    • About visibility, every magazine and newspaper has published positive tests and reviews of the car. What more can we ask for…. Saab has enjoyed parity with BMW and others in terms of media. Yet there is a 16 month supply of 9-5s sitting on dealer lots. The Saab is around $8-10k overpriced. I’m not saying the 9-5 can make money at the lower price. I’m just saying the market determines value, not us. One can either choose to sell to the market… or not to sell. Just like house prices or anything else. If Saab wants to keep owning those 9-5s then perhaps the price is OK.

      Later, when they sell many beautiful cars that enchant the general public, Saab can raise prices… as Lexus and Audi did in the 2000s.

      • There are lots of houses in the US that are selling for twenty percent less or more than they were bought for not long ago.

        So you are right that the market determines the price — not us or the manufacturer.

        Assuming that the 9-5 is equal to a 5 series, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it should sell for the same or nearly the same. BMW has a very good dealer network in the US and elsewhere and BMW is very sound financially as a company. Saab is no match for BMW in these two aspects even if the 9-5 is as good a car as a five series. These two failures of Saab have done much to hurt the resale value of Saabs so therefore the MSRP has to suffer accordingly.

  6. I’m sure I’m going to burst into flames after this comment.

    I think the US customers are spoiled, spoiled with cheap gas, spoiled with cheap prices; and what do they want? More. Leather, satnav, premium this, premium that, camera, all extra deluxe, and for nothing; cheaper than the previous model, or else … they wont buy it. Fine, those that think status is everything, can go and buy themselves a little BMW or something similar, since it somehow, don’t ask me why, is perceived as that. They are not worthy a Saab. If everything is about perceived status, and nothing else matters, then we can just forget about the whole thing; as soon as you get close to the price tag of a German car, it seems people forget everything else about the car.

    /rant off

    • Well…They are.
      The problem is that they are used to it, so there’s not much to do about it.
      It’s their market.
      I suspect that the real sellers in NA will be the 9-3(X) and the 9-4X.
      The 9-5 appeals to another segment.
      Which I suspect in NA is looking at other things than the joys of a perfect all-round car

      Saab is still the Victorinox of Cars.

      • After having had my new 9-5 for a week, I don’t think that’s true. Americans like “large” cars. The 9-5 is the first Saab ever to be categorized as “large.”

        My 9-5 is getting lots of kudos from everyone who sees it, rides in it or drives it. My independent mechanics took it for a test drive and were really impressed with it (one is a degreed engineer and the other is his son who is a genuine car nut). My neighbor who has an S class really liked its style.

        As yet, there is just not enough of them on the road to reach critical mass. And actually, I think the 9-4X will face far more competition than the 9-5 and will suffer from being made in Mexico and will be seen as a Cadillac SRX clone much more than the 9-5 will be seen as a LaCrosse clone. SUV’s of every type are everywhere so I think the 9-4X will face the same fate as the 9-7.

        • Also my sister in law made the comment (she has ridden in it a lot) that it reminds her of a commercial she saw years ago about someone going to sit in his/her car to just get away from the house and family. She said the car is a great place to go and sit to get away from it all.

        • Actually, when launched in 1986, the 9000 was classified as a ‘large’ car by the US agencies, based in its interior volume.

          • Yeah, I think it’s time for Saab to get back to their roots. The 9-5 is one mightily fine automobile, it has the looks and presence to hold its own even against the bunker-like S-Klasse, and I do love it, but when you think of it, the current 9-3 is almost the same size as the old 9000, and it benefits from the same transverse engine placement, but it isn’t as roomy as the 9000 – it’s actually hardly improved in that area compared to the old YS3D (900 NG/9-3).

            I do hope the new 9-3 will again be the best package around in terms of both performance, handling, features and SPACE.

    • Absolutely we are spoiled. And Hyundai is leading the charge of driving the market down by adding content/ features to grow market share that’s going to have a profound impact.

      I agree thebrand and models need to have a higher awareness. I’ve said before that SCNA should just write off one off these 9-5s for marketing and do a blitz campaign where every 9-5 test drive per dealership (one per driver) gets the person an entry for the give away. Without brand awareness there is no product demand. Plus for the past several years SAAB has moved models with $5,000 to $8000 incentives. It’s hard to get the consumer mindset off of expecting a deep discount. But I guess it’s all easy for us to second guess strategy. It’s frustrating since we want to see the brand flourish.

      I agree thatthe 9-5 has a strong value proposition versus the German makes in the US market, but the A6 sells at what 600 units a month? The 5series and Eclass have a lock on the class- anda13 year life span of the previous model already has removed it from the radar/ conciousness of many buyers. The platform mate Buick LaCrosse is 2000 units? If it’s conquest buyers that are needed I’d give Saab dealers $1000 for conquest cash. There are how many dual branded Cadillac Saab locations? The front drive DTS is discontinued and the XTS ( a 9-5 awd aero competitor and sibling) is at least 6 months off- these arethe buyers who already have a dealer rapport and are vested to stay w the dealer.

    • Maybe it is because we just have far more brands of quality cars over here to provide competition. If Europe let in American and Asian cars at rock bottom prices, then the cost of European cars would be much less in Europe. The US, much to the chagrin of many, does not put high tariffs on imported goods. If Europe want cheap goods, all it has to do is drop the high tariffs on imported goods.

      Of course if you did that, you would quickly find that your manufacturing jobs would be lost just like ours are. Spoiled we may be, but the cost of being spoiled means no manufacturing jobs.

  7. Perhaps Saab should offer an amount of free test drive for people. It´s right, the cars must be seen on the road. One dealer in my hometown once offered the test drive to me launching the new 9-5. I registered but never get an invitation. Selling the cars in Germany seems to be still uninteresting. 🙁

  8. The biggest “problem” at the moment in the US is the huge amount of unsold cars that dealers have in stock. They have something like 1.800 brand new 9-5’s that need to be sold and they only sell 50-100 units on average per month.

    You can say: Change the equipment level, stuff them with options. But that is only an option for the new cars. The old stock first has to be sold. They can only sell that stock with huge discounts and they have to do it quickly.

    When most of the current inventory is gone they can think of some new strategy (more standard equipment etc). At the moment they are stuck and the only aspect that can be changed is the price.

    Is the current daily sales rate of the 9-5 continues like this the current stock of 9-5’s is big enough for the coming 2 years. And that is if no new cars arrive. Every new 9-5 that arrives now will mean that it takes longer to sell the inventory.

  9. Notice a “strange” thing regarding the stock numbers.

    31 May 2011: 1,776
    30 June 2011: 1,659
    Difference: 117 cars

    But only 107 cars were sold in June. What happend to the other 10 cars?

    And it is good to see that another 46 new 9-3’s entered the US in June 2011.

    2,178-2,008 = 170

    216-170 = 46 cars

  10. @ Khrisdk – I don’t think 10 cars were returned; and if they were exported back out (as in sold), they would appear as sales. A statistical inaccuracy is more likely to me: someone inputted the wrong figure somewhere…

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