New Saabs coming to the Netherlands soon

“Saab is still very much appreciated in the Netherlands.” A fact Dutch Saab entrepreneur Ruud Blokhuis can happily conclude after many positive reactions following his cooperative initiative with the Dutch Driessen Autogroup importing new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan Aero’s to the Netherlands. As reported earlier here on SaabsUnited, Ruud Blokuis (Saab Utrecht, Saab Arnhem and Saab Apeldoorn) and Driessen Autogroup, both running Saab Service Centres, aim for a positive impulse to the Saab experience in the Netherlands. And they already partly succeeded in that by ordering 6 new Saabs 9-3 Sport Sedan Aero 2014 to present them in their showrooms and assist interested customers in buying one.

The initiators expect to show the new Saabs in their showrooms at the end of May at the latest. When they receive specific requests from their customers they will take action in ordering more Saabs. So far, they have not yet received any reaction from NEVS on their initiative. Based on the many positive reactions the Saab Service Centres already receive from Saab enthusiasts on a daily basis, one can expect a good beginning in bringing Saab back to the Dutch Saab market. Hopefully more former Saab dealers can follow this inspiring initiative, and by doing so, let NEVS know there certainly is an interest from these markets themselves in the return of Saab.



28 thoughts on “New Saabs coming to the Netherlands soon”

  1. Nice initiative. These people are very dedicated to the brand, which always impress’s me. I hope NEVS will pay attention.

  2. i hope they can calculate a competitive price…something similar to a BMW 320i Highline Executive. (€ 43.500), on the other hand: let’s face it: that’s quite some money for a newly sold 3year-old car.

  3. Wow thats great news from the Netherlands! I hope many cars will be sold! By the way, if any of u are interrested in how the sales in sweden has gone (BilSweden released them today), i posted the numbers today in the previous story “First cars delivered to customers” and some other interesting stuff i found in the news.

    One other thing i thought of wich is not positive, i watched a documentary about SAABS past today, history, legacy, innovations etc. They were always in the forefront. And then it just struck me, here we have Nevs, trying to rebuild the brand, and produce excellent saabs. And what do they do with the first car when they have everyones eyes on them (including media) They install a steering wheel with phone buttons u cant use, and install a separate bluetooth device that looks like any of us could have made in the garage. Far from the innovative legacy from Saab. Just because they had the old steering wheels in stock. C´mon, for the price of the new car, that most likely wont cover the expenses either, they should have choose another solution of the reasons i wrote before. Its just not good enough. But beside that, i do love the car!

    • Another reason to keep this release fairly low key. Did not know that about the steering wheel. This info and the dashboard add on, certainly do lend a sense of people running an operation out of someone’s garage, rather than a world class factory, doesn’t it?

    • FWLIW: Keep in mind that those bluetooth phone buttons were inactive on past Saabs as well. Many did not opt for the 5000 SEK (or so…) bluetooth option. The price, IMO, for that particular extra was too much.

      Changing the design is a costly process. They will remain between a rock and a hard place for similar items for a good while longer. That was inevitable given the situation.

    • Easier in Belgium than here in UK!
      As for the phone buttons etc – get the spec right NEVS. In this day and age bluetooth should not be optional on these cars. Both my 07 9-3 and 12 9-5 have / had hands-free phone as standard – surely 14 9-3 must be better.

    • Several of us have expressed the same sentiment Rufus, but we’ve been “discouraged” from expecting anything, anytime soon. Could be a good number of years, if ever. Sad state of affairs for the tens of thousands who have purchased Saabs in the U.S. and hoped to buy another new one.

        • Bradley: I live in the Washington, DC area and there are Saabs all over the place, including my suburban neighborhood. I see various models of Saab every day driving only a few miles to work. The problem is that what we’ve heard from Tim and others is that NEVS/Saab will be incapable of exporting Saabs to the U.S. at a price that is competitive with cars already being sold here from the competition. They’re saying we need to be prepared to spend 43K on the 9-3 for example—-and it’s true that there are not enough American buyers willing to spend over 40K for a car like the 9-3 because there are all sorts of cars available here, with long warranties and big dealership networks, more content than the 9-3, etc., available for $10,000 less than that number. I do think some of us are willing to spend up to $3000.00 more to “drive a Saab” even if it’s not quite as modern or well equipped as other cars we’re considering. But we’re not prepared to pay 10K more—-and if it’s true that they can’t sell a car like the 9-3 for low 30s, I agree with Tim and others that they won’t send new Saabs to our shores. 2nd: We hear that the cost to get a car approved for sale in the U.S. (Safety and Emissions) is “too high.” Never mind that even pathetic little Suzuki did if for a couple decades—apparently, it’s “too much” for NEVS to deal with at this time. We have heard something encouraging for our great friends to the North. It seems Canadian standards are more reasonable, so it’s very possible Saab will return to our continent, for sale in Canada, which is wonderful news for the Canadian Saab lovers. It would seem worth the investment for NEVS to just take the plunge and get cars approved for U.S. Sale—-like Mahindra did for their pick-up truck. But that brings up the other issue—-Mahindra backed out of setting up shop here because it was too complicated and expensive to set up a national dealership network in a large country like this. It’s why Mahindra was so interested in Saab—-to inherit fully functioning Saab dealers to have a ready-made outlet to sell not only Saabs, but their trucks too. Unfortunately, the delay in Saab returning to the U.S. means that relatively strong and valuable dealership network is now history. Sad times indeed for Saab lovers here—-though we can at least be happy for the Chinese and bits of Europe.

          • I think you make excellent points Angelo although I don’t share your optimist for Canada. It’s a very big country with a very low density of population. Not easy . Also, a neighbour of mine has a 9-3 which he is very found of but even when SAAB was still operating, he wasn’t ready to trade it in for another 9-3 which in his own words «would have been changing for the same car». I am very confident trying to sell the NEVS 9-3 in Canada would be a total failure. Even in Sweden, they must be doing it for logistic reasons.

            • Saab resale value in the U.S. has been historically mediocre at best and poor at worst. Compared to other cars in the price range, Saab has underperformed. Stolen or totaled, many people likely ended up “upside down” owing more on the car than their settlement from an insurance company. That’s another reason I don’t think it was unreasonable for American buyers to expect decent discounts off the sticker price as resale value figures in to what you should be expected to pay for a car. Interestingly, VW’s Beetle (the original and for that matter the new one) and Jeeps—-have had terrific resale value over time because the body styles remained unchanged for so long. Pity that Saab didn’t enjoy the same good fortune with their models that were around forever.

  4. I ´m sorry, but I ´ve given up hope. When NEVS would have started with the wagon instead of the sedan there would have been a chance for me buying another SAAB. This is what I did instead: I had a SAAB 9-3 wagon (1.8t Hirsch stage1), now 8 years old and 180.000 km plus a 2005 Smart ForFour with 98.000 km as a second car. Due to a change in working place, which doubled my daily driving distance from 62 to 125 km´s I needed to act. Keeping the SAAB as the car for driving to work would cost me to much (€ 20 alone on fuel) and the Smart has – for me – a bad driving position plus makes to much noise when driven over 110 km/h. So I sold the Smart, made the SAAB our second car and bought a Renault Captur diesel for the drive to and from work. In this way I can enjoy my SAAB for the 8 years it takes to get my pension. And after that we´ll sell both cars and see what the market has to offer. Maybe I´ll buy a Jaguar if the new XE will be a nice car.

    • Will the Renault last eight years? I’m sure they are a far better car than the ones exported to the U.S. decades back—cars that you’d have a serious challenge keeping for four years, much less eight. I would love to see Peugeot or Renault come back to the U.S. but maybe Citroen would stand the best chance of making it here.

        • Actually, that article says that by 2017 or 2018 they hope to be profitable enough to consider returning to the U.S. So I read it as not selling cars here by that time—-but beginning to plan to sell cars here in that period of time, which might mean 2020 or later before we’d see them on these shores????

          • That’s right indeed. Makes you wonder, if PSA are that wary of entering the US despite having a sizable fleet of models, what are the chances that NEVS will take the leap? It does seem that manufacturers will want to have healthy business elsewhere before investing in the US. Maybe it really is a tougher market out there.

            • For companies that own mammoth factories, employ thousands of people, invest hundreds of millions, sometimes more, in developing a single model—-it’s hard to fathom that they would “take a pass” on the largest car market in the world (not the fastest growing but by far the largest) because of costs associated with getting cars approved for sale. Expensive? Sure, but not compared with their other costs of doing business. Risky? Sure, but risk can equal reward. I think it boils down to something very simple: Companies that have pulled out of the U.S. or North America, generally, did so because they couldn’t compete—-and they couldn’t compete because their products weren’t good enough, or they wouldn’t invest enough in marketing their products or they charged too much for their cars compared to what their competitors offered for the same or less. It’s really that simple. Ask Toyota or Honda if they want to leave the U.S. Or if you want a “smaller volume” company example, ask Porsche if they want to give up this market. We spend more on cars than most other places around the world—-there’s a bundle of money to be made here. It takes a good product, a fair price and the right promotion. Nail that down and the profits are there for the taking. Even Suzuki, who pulled out last year—-could have made a go of it here. But they lost their original mission, which was fun, affordable vehicles to appeal to young, adventurous people. Their little Samurai did great in the States—-people associated it with Suzuki motorcycles—-youth, outdoors, excitement, etc. They should have stayed firmly on that path, both in their advertising and product line.

    • Joe: Watch—-they’ll make the same mistake they did previously and the same mistake Saab made—-they will come back as a “luxury line” and try to score big by selling their high end models here instead of having a full line. At that point, they’ll fail and blame it on the U.S. market instead of accepting responsibility for a ridiculous business plan. If Peugeot had sold their 205 in the U.S., they might still be selling cars here. Simply put—-these are not luxury car lines—-they are lines that have high end cars at the top. When they only export those cars and expect to be taken seriously as a “luxury player” they fail. Grow from the bottom up—-it makes more sense.

  5. Angelo..yes, I fully agree. I think the only bright spot in the French automobile marketing effort in the U.S. (save the pathetic French reliability and engineering) was the LeCar, by Renault. It was a bottom rung car, with unfortunate engineering, but from a marketing perspective only; it worked!
    Problem is there’s more value-added in the low volume market place with the luxury lines. As a business model, they know they’ll never get the unit sales needed, so they need to go for less (but more costly) units.

    • Joe: The Renault Fuego was a beautifully styled car for the time—-and they actually did a little advertising for that one too, but because of poor engineering and/or build quality, you’d have a better chance getting to where you were going in a rickshaw. Renault ended their stint in the USA with a couple nice looking sedans—-the Medallion and Premier. Both were mechanical nightmares. Peugeots were also unreliable and expensive to fix—-but much better than the Renaults. My Peugeot 505 GLS was the best car I ever owned—-until it hit 60,000 miles. After that, it was one major breakdown after another.

        • Doesn’t Nova mean “No Go” in Spanish? I think GM found that out the hard way when they tried selling the Chevy Nova in Latin America! Had to change the name.

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