AutoGazette.de interview Victor Muller on the State of Saab

My thanks to Alexandros for sending through this Googletrans from Autogazette.de

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Interview with Spyker boss Victor Muller: Saab will be profitable again in 2012

The Swedish car brand Saab will be profitable again in 2012. In an interview with Auto Gazette speaks with Spyker CEO Victor Muller about the sales targets, new models and the booming Chinese market.

The fact that Saab is significantly behind sales expectations this year, on its way to profitability of the brand, is of no concern for Muller. “Although we will miss our target of 50,000 cars this year, we are more fully [engaged] in our business plan [now].” As the 51 year-old Muller said, he expects this year sales of at least 30,000 units, ideally perhaps 35,000 cars. Muller expects a boost for the brand in the coming year due to the introduction of two new models: the 9-5 SportCombi and crossover 9-4x.

“Enjoys it, that Saab is a part of Spyker»

Auto Gazette: Mr. Muller, do you regret that Spyker Cars took over the Saab brand in February this year?

Victor Muller: No, why should I? I enjoy every day that this traditional brand is now part of Spyker Cars.

Auto Gazette: To what extent can a brand owner enjoy that the sales expectations are so misguided as Saab? Originally you wanted to sell 60,000 cars this year, now it will probably only 27,000.

Muller: How did you get that number? Our business plan called for a global sale volume of 50,000 units in 2010. These numbers we could not achieve because GM stopped production in early January and we therefore could not solve problems with our suppliers to the extent as we had planned.

Auto Gazette: What numbers do you expect for 2010? In September it was around 18,000 sales.

Muller: We are expecting at least 30,000 units, ideally perhaps even 35,000 cars.

Auto Gazette: With this quantity Saab is far from reasonable profitability. How long will the financial reserves last, in order to keep Saab alive?

Muller: Do not worry. There are sufficient funds available to lead Saab again to profitability.

Auto Gazette: When will Saab be back in the black?

Muller: [The goal is] unchanged that from the year 2012 we will sell every year 120,000 units. Although we will miss our target of 50,000 cars in this year, we are more fully [engaged] in our business plan. Also, many things are already from next year for Saab much better.

Auto Gazette: Because then the new 9-5 Sport Combi, and the Crossover 9-4x will be two new products to market …

Read more

Saab Germany sales data – November 2010

Sorry I’ve not done a small market sales data post, and the inclusion of small markets in comments rather than via email makes it quite laborious to search and extract the information.

BUT, I really wanted to do an entry for this one as it’s the first time in a long time that German Saab sales have been in three figures for a month.

There were 100 Saabs sold in Germany during November 2010.

51 of them were 9-3s (23 diesels, 3 XWD, 21 Convertibles). 49 of them were 9-5s (8 diesel, 23 XWD).

Saab Germany have sold 659 vehicles in 11 months, so to sell 100 of those in just one month is an impressive turnaround.

Maybe the tide is turning, albeit slowly.

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This news comes directly on the back of the head of Saab Germany tendering his resignation, effective December 31.

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And whilst we’re in Germany….

Could this be the first public appearance of the Saab 9-5 wagon?

🙂

Or just some fun with winter snow?

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Thanks to Till and Alexandros.

Director of Saab Germany resigns

A Googletrans from a press release received overnight.

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Saab Germany: Hans-Jörg Hänggi, National Director resigns

• Hans-Jörg Hänggi, National Director of Saab Germany, is leaving the company on 31 December 2010
• Kjell-Åke Eriksson’s appointed Acting National Director
• Search for new National Director is already running

As Saab Automobile said today that Hans-Joerg has Hänggi, National Director Saab Germany, determined to Saab Automobile 31 to leave in December of the year to pursue new professional opportunities. With the resignation of Hänggi will take Kjell-Åke Eriksson limited in time, the position of National Director for the German market. The search for a new National Director has already started and Saab expects to soon be able to provide notice.

Kjell-Åke Eriksson has extensive experience in the German market. Eriksson headed from 2008 to 2009 in his role as Managing Director Saab Germany for over a year the German team. This Eriksson: “Although the reason is for my return to Germany a surprise, but I’m looking forward to another collaboration with the German merchants and the professional team from Saab Germany. I have the feeling of coming home, and I am confident that the changeover will go smoothly from Amsterdam. ”

“We will in the coming weeks, the precise transition plan and the division of tasks between Hans-Jörg Hänggi and I work out,” continued Eriksson. “The search for a new National Director has already begun and will surely soon come to a conclusion.”

Jan-Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile’s CEO, said: “Naturally we are disappointed that Hans-Jörg Hänggi is leaving Saab, but I respect his decision. I would now take this opportunity to thank him for his dedicated work over the last ten years. ”

In announcing his decision Hänggi said: “They offered me an opportunity that can not ignore. I deeply regret, however, to leave Saab. I have worked for more than ten years in various national and international positions with great joy for the Saab brand. “

Saab top Germans in ADAC brand survey

If I’ve got my understanding right, ADAC is Germany’s version of the RAC in England, or the AAA in the United States – an automobile association that provides services to members (roadside assist, Insurance, education, etc) and most likely consultation to government amongst other things.

ADAC recently released results of a brand survey, taken amongst its members.

You can see Saab ranked equal 11th (or 12th, depending on your reading of things) in the following table.

The column titles along the top of the table are as follows:

1 – # of questionaries returned
2 – “How content are you with your brand?”
3 – “How content are you with your car?”
4 – “How content are you with your dealership garage?”
5 – “Would you buy again from the same brand?”

Click.

adac_ranking 2010

Ranking system has been explained in comments:

The ranking system is explained in the footnotes. People have simply been asked to answer each question with a number from 1 to 5, where 1 is “very content” and 5 is “not at all content”. The exception is the last question, where the numbers go from 1 “I certainly would” to 5 “I certainly wouldn’t”.

Thanks Börjesson!

It seems that Saab, with five optional rankings assuming 20% each, gain approval ratings of around 70% from respondents. They seem to fare just about as good as anyone else, actually beating out all of the German premium players aside from BMW, who placed just above them.

That would indicate there’s a fair amount of market acceptance amongst the people who have Saabs in Germany (and we’ve heard before that they’re the most passionate fans in Germany). It all makes it harder to believe that Saab have so much trouble gaining sales traction in Germany. There must be more potential customers out there.

Thanks Philipp!

Saab sales data – Britain, Germany and others

More sales data is trickling in…..

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Great Britain

There were 377 Saabs registered in Great Britain in October, a rise of 12.5% over the 335 registered in the same month last year.

So far in 2010, there have been 4,554 Saabs registered in Great Britain. This number is still 34% down on the 6,991 registered Jan-Oct in 2009.

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Germany

Germany remains a problem market. Something needs to be done to get dealers on board and at the very least, get the website showing all the current models. One of my German contacts informs me as follows:

  • they advertise the 9-5 1,6T in magazines for four months now. But it can’t be found online
  • the build your Saab function for the 9-3 is not available “due to the change of the model year” – I think for at least two months now

Sorry, Saab Deutschland. Tough love. This should be such a bigger market for Saab.

Maybe one of those test-drive roadshows like they’re doing in Norway would get some bums on seats and help to overcome the reluctance of many German dealers to actually stock their showrooms.

There were 40 Saabs sold in Germany in October. I don’t have a comparative number, but there have been 557 sold this year.

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I know others have left comments scattered through other posts as to sales numbers in smaller markets.

If you could do so again here, it’d be good to have them all in the one place. I’ll update the post in the morning.

Audi Motor und Sport give the Saab 9-5 four stars!

It’d be easy to get negative about this report from Germany’s Auto Motor and Sport. They’re renowned for being nationalistic when it comes to their car business – and not without reason, too, the Germans make excellent cars. That’s why they’ve earned the nickname “Audi Motor und Sport”.

They’ve recently published a review of the Saab 9-5 online and whilst there are a number of phrases that would normally trigger a rant on my part, then end result has me smiling.

AMSde Saab 9-5 score

Go through their “plus and minus” section and there’s a handy advantage in the plus column, too.

Yes, they make the usual references to Opel in there and they’re jackassed ones at that. Stating that the engine should have an Opel badge on it completely overlooks the fact that Saab added the turbo magic that makes engine such a joy to drive.

Focusing on stuff like that – stuff you expect from AMS.de – would be a waste. The good news from this report is in the conclusion.

AMS.de drive the Saab 9-5

Auto Motor und Sport – that’s the German version – have taken the new Saab 9-5 for a drive and written up some findings in their latest online issue.

AMSde Saab 9-5 test

Given that it’s in a fancy, page-turning electronic format, I can’t run it through Googletrans and tell you anything about it.

The only thing I’ve heard so far is that it’s a pretty good review, with some incidental criticism of the traffic sign recognition system.

German readers, click here. Perhaps you could return and post some of their brief thoughts?

Thanks Alexandros!

Saab GB sales data – September 2010 (and some smaller markets, too)

Sales figures for Great Britain are out in the open and on the surface, it looks like a good month for Saab GB.

Saab sales totalled 1,212 vehicles, which was up 10.89% on the sales in the same month last year (1,093 sales).

Sales for the year to date are still down by 37% compared to last year (4,177 vs 6,656).

This looks like a great result and in many respects, it is. We’ve already been told in comments, however, that these figures included an undiclosed number of pre-registrations, which means dealers making vehicles look like they’re sold, when in fact they aren’t.

Note, the number is undisclosed. Note also, that there were most likely some pre-reg vehicles in last year’s September figures as well, so this year’s rise could well be a genuine rise as the figures suggest.

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Other markets are still struggling. Really struggling. September sales were as follows in smaller markets:

Germany: 59 vehicles (vs 70 last year)

Holland: 35 vehicles (vs 23 last year)

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