Jane Eyre premiere hosted by Saab

Sorry, but I had to find something that wasn’t related to Mr. Antonov.

On Wednesday the première of the movie Jane Eyre was celebrated at NYC’s Tribeca Grand Hotel. The event was sponsored by W magazine, Saab and Focus Features.

Mia Wasikowska, the leading actress, did wear a Elie Saab dress. I hope some of the public assisting to the event did know that there are other companies using SAAB as brand name. 😉

Press release: New sales directors for USA and Germany

In Germany Jan-Philipp Schuhmacher has been appointed as new Country Director for Saab Germany. He comes from Land Rover Germany where he was National Sales Manager over the past two years.

Is this the vengeance for Hallmark ??? 😉

And in the USofA Mr. James Sweeting has also been appointed as new executive national sales director. He comes from Honda USA. I don’t know how Honda is performing in the states, so lets wait what he can do to get the sales figures high.

Both press releases after the jump.

Thanks to TedY and rodmylon for the hints.

Read morePress release: New sales directors for USA and Germany

Is Saab’s future in the USofA bright?

I can’t see the future, thus I don’t know how dark or bright the future of Saab in the states will be, but reading a report from www.goodcarbadcar.net about the Luxury SUV sales in America & Canada I get good vibes about the effect of the 9-4x in the the North American sales figures.

And what makes me feel so good about it? The Saab is the stepsister of the Cadillac SRX, and the Cadillac did sell quite well in the States, leaving everybody behind by far.

Yes, the Caddy is this big yellow pie piece.

In Canada the SRX did only reach the fourth place with 2.918 units behind the Mercedes GLK, Aqura RDX and Audi Q5.

This makes a total of 54.012 units, which is quite a lot. Even comparing the SRX with the Mid-Size SUV, which fits better the size of the SRX, the Caddy would stay in second place behind the Lexus RX in the US.

I’m not saying that Saab will be able to sell even half as much 9-4X as Cadillac has been able to sell SRX, but the figures that are floating in the net indicate that GM will only produce about 9.000 units of the 9-4X in the first year. And if 54.000 North-Americans think that the SRX is worth while buying, why shouldn’t Saab find 9.000 buyers for the 9-4x?

BTW, Saab seems to know how to market the 9-4X. This is Saab’s full Ad in the March US issue of the Glamour Magazine.

The first page of this multi-page Ad has already been discussed here.

Thanks to AJM !!

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

A final so long to Jan-Willem Vester

It is with a heavy heart that I report that long-time friend of SaabsUnited, Jan-Willem Vester, has passed away from a rather lengthy illness. Thanks to Peter Backstrom from the Saab Museum for passing the information along via Twitter.
Jan-Willem was a very outgoing, gracious Dutchman that had a true affinity for Saabs. In fact, he drove a Saab 900 convertible nearly identical to the one that I now own. It was fitting that he made his living as a public relations and marketing professional in the Saab USA headquarters in Detroit. Mr. Vester left Saab USA as part of the cuts that were being made right across GM as the crisis in the car industry gathered momentum. Unfortunately, he discovered his illness near that time and spent most of his efforts from then on fighting to beat it.
He will be missed, for he was one of the good guys in the fight to keep Saab what it should be.
Swade’s post at Mr. Vester’s departure from Saab USA is re-printed after the jump.

Read moreA final so long to Jan-Willem Vester

US Saab sales – August 2009

These have been out for a few days now so people might already be aware, but I thought I’d still post them here both for those who haven’t seen them yet, and also to keep the archives complete.
Saab vehicle sales in the US continued on the two-thirds major market trend in August 2009. Sales of Saab vehicles in total were down from 1,503 vehicle in August last year to 484 vehicles in August this year. That’s a fall of 67.8%, just over two-thirds down.
Saab 9-3 – There were 352 unis of the Saab 9-3 range sold. This down 68% on the 1,100 units sold in the same month last year. So far in 2009, there have been 3,953 units of the Saab 9-3 sold, down 64.5%.
Saab 9-5 – Whooo! There were just 52 units of the Saab 9-5 sold in August, which is 73.7% down on the 198 sold in the same month last year. There have been 785 units of the Saab 9-5 sold this year, down by almost 60%.
Saab 9-7x – The Saab 9-7x has now moved down into double-digit territory, too, with just 80 units sold in August (61% down on 205). Stocks must be running pretty low by now as they stopped making them some time ago. There have been 1,706 units of the 9-7x sold so far this year.
——
It’s a continuation of bad news, but once this deal gets done and Saab can start marketing properly, selling the new 9-5 and eventually, the 9-4x alongside the 9-3, well, Mike Colleran and his Saab Cars North America team are going to have some positive-news sales releases to write and probably for a long time.
Hey, I’m just trying to make some lemonade, OK?
The formation of a new Saab sales team in the US really is very positive news. I hope they can get the team out of Detroit, get back into some Saab territory and build some positivity and optimism in the team.
They really do have a long road to travel, but at least they’ll have some great vehicles to get there.

Mike Colleran named as future Saab USA chief

The following was received by Saab dealers in the US this morning….

Today, I would like to announce the next step forward in anticipation of a renewed Saab presence in North America with the appointment of Michael “Mike” Colleran as President and Chief Operating Officer of Saab Cars North America.
Mike has been a member of the Saab USA team since 2005 and most recently served as Sales Director for the General Motors Premium brands which include Saab, Cadillac, and HUMMER. Mike started his career with General Motors in 1989 after serving in the U.S. Military and has served in various sales, service and marketing roles during his twenty-year automotive career.
As we ready to finalize the sale to Koenigsegg group AB in the next months, Mike will be forming a new Saab team with the responsibility of preparing Saab and its partners for independent operations in North American markets. Those appointments will be announced at a later date.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for all for your unwavering support during the last months and I would ask you to remain focused as we move into the next exciting chapter of Saab Automobile’s history.
Best regards,
Jan Åke Jonsson

I don’t know anything about Mike Colleran, but this is good news, especially given the recent perceived instability in North America.
People are wondering how Saab’s distribution channels are going to work in the future. We don’t know the answer to that question, but at least now we know that the guys in charge are working on it.
My best wishes to Mike Colleran and the team he puts together at the new Saab Cars North America (which incidentally, covers Canada, wouldn’t you think?)
——
Thanks to Djup Strupe

Saab USA sales data – June 2009

US sales figures are out and whilst it’s more of the same in terms of sales falls, it’s also a little different in some respects.
To the numbers first:
Saab 9-3: There were 503 units of the 9-3 sold in June 2009, which is a 66.5% fall on the 1,442 sold in the same month last year (based on sales days). There have been 3,180 vehicles sold this year, which is a 63.2% fall compared with the number of 9-3s sold in the first 6 months of last year (8,631).
Saab 9-5: There were 99 units of the 9-5 sold this June, compared with 266 last year (down -64.3%). There have been 671 units of the 9-5 sold so far this year, down 55.8% from the 1,518 sold in the first 6 months of last year.
Saab 9-7x: There were 177 units of the 9-7x sold in June, up from the 162 sold in the same month last year. There have been 1,535 units of the 9-7x sold this year, which is down 20% from the first 6 months of last year (1,916).
All models combined:
June Total: 779 sales. Down by 60% for the month (1,872 for all models in June 2008)
2009 Total: 5,386 sales, down 55.4% from Jan-Jun 2008 (12,068)
——
A couple of dot points

  • If you think that comparing sales with 2008 is scary, try comparing them with 2007, when the brand had 4,361 sales for the month.
  • Looking back, June 2008 was the first month when just about all brands had a significant fall in sales. The GFC was biting. GM, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Ford all had double digit losses for the month.
  • Whilst Saab sales were down this month, remember that they’re getting almost zero promotion in the US right now.
  • Also, I received an inside look at a GM Premium internal video and I can tell you that Saab actually made their internal sales target for the month.

Hang in there, Saab dealers.

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