Checking in with US Dealers

An article from automotive news spiked my interest this morning. As GM tries to consolidate its dealership network into a tighter more integrated group, some dealers face the threat of becoming used car dealerships or worse, shutting down. These same dealers are now applying to become Saab and Volvo dealers.

Which leads me more to this question for US readers– what’s going on with your dealer? Is their stock finally replenished to where it was a few years ago? If your Saab dealer was part of a larger automotive group (especially GM brands), has your dealer segregated its showroom space to a different building? You’ll remember GM set a deadline of 3 years to achieve this goal. From Swade’s interview with Mike Colleran last September:

Second, the requirement to have separate showroom space was one that GM and Saab/Spyker agreed upon when signing the deal to sell Saab. In short, there was a three-year time period set and all selling spaces should be separated by that time (Feb 2013). Connected to that is the fact that it’s quite normal for brand management, whether it be GM, BMW or Audi, to ask dealers for separate space on their lots.

If your dealer has multiple brands, how do you feel they’re doing pushing Saab vs. other makes? Have you been contacted by your dealer recently to come in to see their new inventory (aside from the standard SCNA mailers for national service promotions).

Read moreChecking in with US Dealers

Another mini-milestone for Saabs United

From my WordPress dashboard today…..

“100%Saab” was the one who brought us to this magical all-9’s comment milestone (thanks!), which in some Saaby way feels every bit as important than the one that came after it…..

Thanks to “74Stingray” for providing the first 6-figure comment here at SU.

It’s nice to see two regulars here fill in some important milestones. I feel like I should get a set of steak knives for both of you 🙂

Thanks all for your ongoing contributions to the life of Saabs United.

The blogging effect

I’m not recovering that quickly so I’ll probably take a night off if that’s OK with you guys.

In the meantime, here’s a little assignment for some of you.

My first ride/drive in a Saab 9000 back in the early 1990’s convinced me pretty quickly that Saabs were a make of car that I’d like to explore pretty extensively. The interest was cemented when I started to find out a bit more about the company – its heritage, philosophy, etc. Saab was like few other makes that I’d encountered at that time that had such a rich backstory that you could really sink your teeth into.

It took a while, but what I learned back in the beginning stayed with me until I bought my first Saab, a 1972 Saab 99E, in the late 1990s.

I believe in the power of a good story and its ability to support a good company with a good product. Hence, I believe in the potential that telling that story represents, which is why I took on the task of establishing Trollhattan Saab and then Saabs United.

What I’d like to do is collect some supporting evidence that this exercise has been worthwhile in helping you, the readers of this site, in establishing a better connection to the company, the ownership community, etc.

The big question:

Has Saabs United helped you in your decision to become a Saab owner and if so, what was the result?

Obviously, I’ve never sold anyone a car, but maybe I’ve helped a few people to stay connected and feel more comfortable exploring their own purchase considerations a little further.

If Saabs United has helped you with a purchase decision, could I ask you to shoot me an email with a quick few lines as to when and why? It’d be even better if you could include a photo of your car.

I’m not looking for pats on the back here. Call it a brief testimonial, if you like. It’ll assist me in building up a CV for Saabs United that might be useful for talking about the effect of blogging in general, and the effectiveness of Saabs United in particular.

Your assistance would be appreciated.

All emails should be sent to swade99-at-gmail-dot-com (you can figure that out) and if you include “SUCV” in the title, that’d be a great help.

FAQs that Saab should be answering

A rather inspirational comment appeared on Jalopnik the other day. It was on an entry entitled The Saab Family Tree.

There were no words in the comment. Just an image of a Google search where the commenter had typed in “Is Saab” and Google’s auto-complete function had entered a bunch of options based on frequent searches starting with the same words.

The theory behind this auto-complete function is as follows:

As you type, Google’s algorithm predicts and displays search queries based on other users’ search activities. These searches are algorithmically determined based on a number of purely objective factors (including popularity of search terms) without human intervention. All of the predicted queries shown have been typed previously by other Google users.

There’s another scenario where the auto-complete is populated using searches that you (or in this case, I) have entered on previous occasions, but that’s not influencing this situation. I haven’t done these searches before and as you can see, the results are similar to the Jalopnik results.

So……

What you have then, is a list of frequently asked questions about Saab. This is what people are searching for, what they’re asking about. There are the questions that Saab have to provide answers to, lest someone else provide the answer at the risk of being wrong.

I’ve repeated the “Is Saab” search from Jalopnik below, along with a couple of others. If I get time over the next few weeks, I might have to attempt a few decent answers.

“Is Saab…….”

Is Saab Google search

“Are Saab……”

Are Saab Google Search

“What Saab……”

What Saab Google Search

——

IMHO, the critical and most common questions that Saab must have responses to are:

  • Is Saab still in business?
  • Are Saab cars reliable?

The first question contributes to whether someone will even bother looking for a Saab. The second contributes to their decision making about a potential dealer visit, test drive or purchase.

Saab might look at that first question and say “Well, of course we’re still in business, we’re making cars and if they look, they’ll see our advertisements”.

They might too.

But this is the web and what people want when they do one of these searches is an answer. Saab have to provide that answer. It may not always reach the searcher, but it’s got to be there in print somewhere on an indexible page; one that’s authoritative, one that can be referred to by people from the press (who can pass that answer on before it’s even asked).

It’s the same with the second question. There are plenty of websites with industry-wide reliability data available but when it comes to Saab reliability, Saab need to be pushing their own barrow. Sure, some will think it’s biased because it’s come from the company but you back up your claims with verifiable data, linked to your claims.

These are both questions that have positive answers. Those positive answers aren’t always clear when they come from third parties, however.

They should be made clear by Saab.

Housekeeping – how to post a link in comments

A few weeks ago, I added some functionality to comments whereby people could make comments bold, with italics and even add a link to their comments if needed.

I’ve noticed, however, that people are having problems with the linking function from time to time, so I thought a quick how-to might be useful.

Many of you would be familiar with making things bold or italic through your use of word processors – you select the text you want to highlight and then press the bold or italic button to apply the formatting to the text you’ve selected.

Linking follows a very similar routine.

Step 1 – Write your text

In this instance, I’ve written “This is the Saabs United linking demo” into the comments field.

Step 2 – Select the text you’d like to apply the link to

This is the step that people are missing out on. For this example, I want to make “Saabs United” the piece of text that’s used to link to somewhere. In this example I’ll link it to the site’s homepage.

So what I have to do now is use my mouse to select “Saabs United”, which is where the link will attach to.

Step 3 – Enter the URL you want to link to

Once the text has been selected, you press the “link” button on the comment form and it’ll bring up a dialogue box. In that dialogue box, you enter the URL you’d like to link to. Remember that it has to start with http:// or it won’t work (tip – copy and paste the URL from the address bar on your browser).

Once you’ve entered the URL, press OK on the dialogue box.

The monkeys behind the scenes will apply the appropriate code your comment so that it shows up as a link.

Here’s my comment with the code applied.

Step 4 – Finish your comment and admire your new found geekiness

Once you’ve finished your comment, done your linking and applied any other formatting (quotes, italics, bold), you can click “submit” and your comment will appear on site – properly formatted and with the link appearing according to the text you selected.

You’ll look like a pro and the comments section won’t have any hellishly long links appearing in their raw form – they look hideous.

Beware

OK, so now you know how to link. My advice is to use it sparingly, however.

If you enter too many links into one comment (like, more than one) there’s a very high chance that the system will think you’re trying to spam the comments section. If that happens, your comment may go into a queue for moderation, or even worse, into the spam filter itself.

I clean out the spam filter everyday so there’s a good chance I’ll catch it, but some days there are too many there to observe every one of them.

Bottom line – use linking appropriately and everything should work Ok.

A little milestone

You have to note these things occasionally.

Trollhattansaab.net took 4 years to rack up 50,000 comments. Saabs United has provided just over 18 months of service and earlier today, we racked up comment number 80,000.

Of course, a big part of that was the sale of Saab earlier this year, but there’s still been a steady stream of visitors and participation since then.

Thanks all for making SU a great, fun place to be.

Problem with Trollhattansaab.net

Hi all.

Just a quick housekeeping note.

It seems that my old site, trollhattansaab.net, has been infected through some back-door vulnerability and has some malware present that my try to load itself to your computer if you access that site.

This malware may try to divert you to a third party, which could be malicious in nature.

I’ve contacted my server host and the problem seems to be across a cluster of machines that they operate. I’ve received some instructions on how to fix this problem, but I will not have time to execute this until later in the next few days.

Please stay away from trollhattansaab.net until I post here that I’ve completed those instructions.

——

SaabsUnited is handled by a different company and the servers are in a different physical location, so there is no issue here at SU.

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