Saab Automobile & Ski Resort Promotions

Posted on 31. Jan, 2008 by in 2000-2009

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Photo Credit: Saab-Scania of America, Inc. – Aspen, Colorado early eighties

The topic of “visibility” with the Saab Automobile brand is an ever increasing concern as well as an opportunity these days. There is one area of focus that Saab had at one point, been a significant player in, in terms of promoting the brand, the ski industry.

The ski industry and the resorts in particular gave Saab the right location in which to best promote their products especially in the United States, where they have been ubiquitous in regions known for great ski conditions such as New England as well as Colorado during the seventies, eighties and the early to mid nineties.

The recent premiere of the Saab 9-4x BioPower Concept in Detroit formulated what the Saab Turbo-X premiere in Boston started for me, which was how this area historically has been a great market for Saab which has significantly been overlooked recently, in terms of opportunities. When I saw that 9-4x Crossover appear on stage with that snow sprinkled from above as well as what I heard from the professional skier, Kaj Zackrisson that I interviewed earlier this month, I got this nostalgic reminder of when Saab capitalized on the ski market.

In discussing Saab’s history with ski resorts when Saab was actually a sponsor of their activities and their events as exhibited in the photograph above thanks to Arsey Miller, a former Saab-Scania employee, I have realized that they these resorts have always been supportive and have encouraged Saab’s presence. The most recent examples include Sunday River Ski resort in Maine that I visited back in January of 2007 as well as the city of Aspen as well as Vail’s Police Departments that have been utilizing Saab’s since the early 1970’s up until 2005, when GM decided to end the program with them. Also, keep in mind that the 50th Anniversary for Saab Celebration was held at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire in 1997, the 1999 Saab Owners Convention at Keystone Resort, Colorado and the 2005 Saab Owners Convention took place in Stratton Resort in Vermont.

These arrangements were, like I said, all over the place from the seventies until the nineties and now, I think that the last event or notable besides the ski industry inspiration that the 9-4x BioPower Concept communicated, were the Saab-Salomon Aero-X Skis `as well as the X Wing rally that took place last year in the Alps as well as the United States. Although this event was a collaborated event with Saab & Salomon, it did provide great exposure to the Saab brand in resorts that included resorts such as Copper Mountain in Colorado and Killington in Vermont.

Today, Saab has with them, a long awaited technology known as Cross-Wheel Drive, with the designation ‘XWD‘. This XWD technology is perfectly positioned today where Saab previously capitalized the environments that required this technology but was unavailable. With XWD now becoming available later this spring, Saab has under their wing a great opportunity to reconnect in cross-promoting the XWD with these ski resorts, which in my opinion, are perfect promotional venues in which to communicate their products.

While the advertising campaigns and slogans have changed over the years for Saab USA, the consistency in covering their markets should not. As I have said before and I will say again, the North East is where I grew up, and the SAAB 96 was the vehicle that safely brought me home from the hospital when I was born, it was also the same vehicle that saved my life once in 1998 in Vermont, and again in 2002 in New Hampshire. I am partial to this region and with it still holding approximately 40 percent of Saab’s market in the United States, there is some value in continuing relationships with these ski resorts with this new Cross-Wheel Drive technology, especially since SAAB basically started their operations in the Boston, Massachusetts in Hingham in 1956. Why not continue the great legacy that they have built for themselves just after the Great American Rally in 1957, that helped place SAAB as a significant contender in this market just after they were launched as an automobile manufacturer stateside 52 years ago?

I understand that the sponsorship with these ski resorts have changed over the years, but it is important to note that a great contingent of these resorts have GM brand’s sponsoring them today. So here’s the question, why can’t Saab Automobile USA “leverage” their involvement with GM and showcase their new XWD vehicles at these ski resorts as well? I think that a venue like a ski resort is only suiting and an “obligatory” venue in order to cover the basis when communicating the “visibility” of this long awaited and much anticipated Cross-Wheel Drive ‘XWD’ technology so well integrated in a great Saab product.

If you are a ski resort, I would love to hear your responses here:

– Ryan

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One Response to “Saab Automobile & Ski Resort Promotions”

  1. Liam

    07. Feb, 2008

    Saab, where does your brand, your audience, and their environment converge? This was the question overlooked in recent years.

    Great post! Since the day I could drive I’ve owned a Saab. First an 86 900T, then a 90 900T, now a 2001 9-5 Aero (2pcs BBS Wheels, Heated Vented Seats, 5sp). Growing up in Vermont I know first hand how important the Northeast is to the Saab brand. At one point there were more saabs per capita in Norwich, VT then in Trollhattan. Take a look around and you’ll still see a ton of Saabs on the roads up here. Why? They are great cars in the snow. Now, with the cost of gas, people are looking for a vehicle that can deliver 30mpg and carry the family and skis in style. Unfortunately, Saab has pulled from ski resorts (though I can’t figure out why). We used to have them as a sponsor at Okemo and Crested Butte. The entire sponsorship industry has changed, but their core consumer hasn’t. GM, and GMRworks need to begin looking seriously at Ski resort partnerships again. A well planned and executed campaign can be beneficial to the mountain and to Saab (and its dealer networks). I hope to see Saabs on the slopes again soon!

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