Q&A with Mike Colleran, President of Saab Cars North America

As I mentioned earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to speak with Saab Cars North America President and Chief Operating Officer, Mike Colleran, on Wednesday morning. He is kind to make himself available for us at SaabsUnited, and I hope that this is a conversation that flows pretty freely as the newly independent Saab “follows its own road” to success here in North America.
I’ve not attempted to edit Mr. Colleran’s words much; they don’t particularly need editing anyway. My hope was to convey his message to you dear readers as they were given to me. That won’t always be the case, but for now I think that transparency is of value because we’ve heard so little from the American Saab organization while the battles were raging in Europe and in the GM boardroom.
Finally, I’ll categorize some of Mr. Colleran’s answers as very general. At this point in Saab’s re-organization, that is expected. There is simply too much work to be done before the details come into focus. I understand that, and I hope that you give him that understanding as well.

What are you working on right now?
Colleran: Dealers have been assigned to the company. Now we’ve got to get them product. The second step is to finalize our relationship with GMAC and re-introduce leasing. If you look back historically at the sales loss back to August of 2008, probably 60% of the sales loss is directly attributable to just not having a lease available. This segment, European luxury, penetrates very deeply on leasing as a retail tool. Saab dealers have not had that available, nor have Saab customers, in a year and a half now. High, high priority on getting a lease in place.
A second priority is establishing Saab as a European brand, a Swedish brand, in the market, or should I say re-establishing Saab as a European brand. We’ve transitioned to the global the tag line, “Move Your Mind” which is now out on the website and in the mail campaigns which definitely ties us back to our parent company and our roots.
What’s changed now that you are independent?
Colleran: One, Saab now has the freedom to express itself as an import brand and as a Scandinavian brand. Looking back into our past there were a lot of ties into the General Motors advertising efforts. Along the way, Saab, probably more accidently than purposely, became more identified as a domestic brand. We don’t have to do that anymore. We are free to express ourselves as we would like to.
Another thing being independent allows us to do: we are free to offer retail tools that are built more for Saab and the European luxury segment than for the volume portions of the market. You probably won’t see us involved with the traditional General Motors events that Saab was participating in. You saw those many times. There would be six or seven divisions across the bottom, it would be a “Red Tag Sale” or a “Hot Button” or something like that. It worked well for General Motors, quite frankly, but it made Saab appear more domestic and, too, it didn’t really address the Saab customer’s specific needs. So, we can be more targeted in messaging and retail offers.

Read moreQ&A with Mike Colleran, President of Saab Cars North America

Saab and Spyker together at Tynan’s Saab, CO

I got some great images in today from Sean Tynan at Tynan’s Saab in Fort Collins, CO.
It seems their foresight – read below – has given them a little marketing jump. Here’s the story on how they came to have the rolling stock in place to take these images:

We have a 2008 Spyker C8 Laviolette finished in Champion Silver Exterior with Full Quilted Tropicana Leather Interior, Brushed & Turned Aluminum Dash, and Full Options sitting on our Saab Showroom Floor.
This particular unit was used by Mr. Victor Muller and Spyker Cars North America as their National Press Car for 2008/2009. This car had an original MSRP of almost $240,000.00 dollars US, and it is a rolling piece of artwork! We were very fortunate to aquire this car about 60 days ago just prior to Victor Muller and Spyker Cars pursuit of the Saab Brand!
I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Muller and spend several hours with him in Denver back in early October of last year. He was on his way to a wedding in Aspen and he was kind enough to carve out some time for me. After our meeting I came away very impressed with Victor, Spyker and their incredible bespoke automobiles.
We then decided to aquire a Spyker to offer for sale in the Rocky Mountain area since currently there is no Spyker dealer in Colorado, and I am pleased to say we were able to obtain this very unique and special automobile!

And here are the images – a classic Black Turbo along with it’s new stablemate, a Silver Spyker C8 Laviolette.

GM up to their old tricks – plan possible re-badge of Saab 9-5

Some things never change.
I can tell you quite positively that GM are negotiating a sale of Saab, but it seems their plan B is to just take the 9-5, shove a different badge on it and sell it as something else.
The story is at DN.se and here’s a snippety Googletrans:

According to Dagens Industri’s sources, GM is planning to use the new Saab 9-5: an own model program, including a future Buick in the U.S.. GM is also in a letter to Saab’s sub-contractors have estimated the time of closure of Saab to five years.
There are sources in Saab Automobile in the Dagens Industri – DI – indicates that GM now see positive opportunities to closure of Saab. By making use of Saab’s technology, tools and production equipment for GM use the new 9-5: an – that would be launched in the spring – to a future Buick in the U.S..
In the GM is also talk of exploiting Saab technology for the production of a new premium car for Opel, “says DI’s sources. It would then be about the reopening of the closed trial with an Opel Senator in Europe.

Shakespeare couldn’t even document the full bastardry these beancounters are capable of.

New Saab Television commercial released!

While Swade’s snoozing the day away (at least from the Western Hemisphere point of view), this little jewel dropped into my text inbox via Twitter. You could do worse than to follow SaabNewsroom on the world’s most ubiquitous social network.

The official Saab website has this description:

Saab TV Ad – Changing perspective
We proudly present our latest TV commercial. Part of the Changing perspective campaign that launches the new Saab 9-3X. Great soundtrack from the Swedish singer Asha Ali called Time is now!

I like it on first glance. I still wish for a stronger technology edge, but I’ll admit my engineering orientation biases my opinions about such things.
It appears that Saab is continuing the use of white and images of the creative process as an advertising “language” if such a thing exists. I am pleased with that.
Comments are open and welcome. Swade: Opine, dear sir.

Saab vs Audi vs BMW

Here’s a chart. An interesting chart.
Buy the Audi for badge value only. No other reason stacks up, if you ask me (with the possible exception where the car’s interior is the only thing in the world that matters to you – and even that’s subjective)
Saab Audi BMW

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