Saab Automobile Opportunity : Partnering with L.L. Bean

Posted on 08. Sep, 2008 by in 2000-2009, 9-3xc


Photo Credit: Saab History

As a continuation of my series on “Saab Opportunities“, I have shared with you the big missed opportunity in the United States for Saab Automobile back in 2003, which was to partner with the Red Sox, but that’s now in the past.

In addition, I have also spent my own time and energy with the help of the folks at Okemo Mountain Resort in Okemo, Vermont this past March to emphasize their partnership opportunities at their resort, where Saab Automobile USA used to be a car sponsor. In addition, I’ve worked with Cold Brook Saab in Skowhegan, Maine along with Sunday River Ski resort to showcase their long standing partnership as well.

This time around, while also emphasizing the previous partnership opportunities, I am also seeing another opportunity, in addition to, with the Saab 9-3X Cross-Combi at L.L. Bean, headquarted in Freeport, Maine during a recent trip this past weekend.

This idea of mine has to do with Saab Automobile partnering with L.L. Bean as Subaru has been doing for the past 8 years, by not only making a special “L.L. Bean Edition” Saab 9-3X Cross-Combi model complete with Thule Box on top, but a full-on partnership. The timing is better than perfect, as the L.L. Bean & Subaru partnership has just ended in June this year which means they may be open to a new automobile sponsor.

Here’s some of the reasons why a partnership like this makes sense for Saab Automobile USA.

  • The 9-3X Cross-Combi will be a direct competitor to the Subaru Outback AWD, which could be an easier partnership idea given L.L. Bean’s positive experiences with Subaru.
  • The Saab 9-3X Cross-Combi has a much better system called Cross-Wheel Drive (XWD), and needs all of the exposure it can get in the home market (New England).
  • The region in Freeport, Maine (L.L.Bean headquarters) is a major tourist attraction in the North Eastern New England region of the United States and would have a significant amount of annual traffic with numerous Saab dealerships nearby with product placement of the Saab 9-3 Cross-Combi.
  • The “active” lifestyles in this geographic region would liken to a renewed entry to this adventurous outdoor market with a Saab that can outdo what their tired Subarus, Volvos and Audis can do, but more efficient, safer and less expensive and a lot more fun to drive!
  • If that’s not enough, Saab used to advertise in this area during their “we don’t make compromises, we make saabs” campaign in 1991, so let’s bring Saab back, where a partnership with L.L.Bean would certainly be mutually beneficial and another logical step at renewing ties to the most signicant market in the United States.

Watch segments 1:24 and 3:49 to see the Saab 900 and 9000s promoted in front of the L.L. Bean headquarters in Freeport, Maine in this 1991 promotional video for proof.

On a side note: You should see how many Saab 9-3 SportCombis with L.L. Bean Kayaks onboard I have already seen over the past few months while living in New England, most notably on the I-95 corridor North of Boston around New Hampshire & Maine.

Remember, L.L.Bean advertises on CNN every holiday, so here’s the chance of a lifetime Saab Automobile USA! The mutually beneficial cross-promotional opportunities here could be absolutely endless.

Furthermore, as indicated, while Subaru is looking to expand into new markets, Saab Automobile now more than ever, needs to make some signicant inroads back to the North East to “renew” their ties to the market that gave them such success in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
I leave you with the official notice of L.L. Bean & Subaru ending their 8-year partnership from the Kicking Tires Blog:

After an eight-year relationship, Subaru and L.L.Bean, a retailer of high-end outdoor gear, have had an amicable split, Subaru spokesman Dominick Infante said.

“The decision to part was mutual. We both decided it was time and made sense to go our own way,” he said. “L.L.Bean is a great company, but we wanted to expand our own brand appeal.”

The marriage of L.L.Bean’s rugged-outdoors line of clothing and accessories and the equally strong rugged-outdoors image of an all-wheel-drive Subaru might have made sense in 2000, but it was time to attract a few more city slickers, Infante said.

“We have been doing very well on the East Coast and in ski states, but want to expand more into sunshine states like Texas, Florida and California,” he said. We think Subaru has far outpaced L.L.Bean in terms of name identity among consumers.

So, starting in July, the L.L.Bean Outback and Forester will become Limited models instead. There will still be L.L.Bean editions of the Forester and Outback available at dealerships until all are sold. The redesigned 2009 Forester L.L.Bean went on sale just this past April.

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2 Responses to “Saab Automobile Opportunity : Partnering with L.L. Bean”

  1. ChrisCam84

    09. Sep, 2008

    Ryan, this is a GREAT idea!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Ryan

    09. Sep, 2008


    Thanks! I passed it along to the people that need to know, so here’s hoping!

    Saab USA really needs to renew their ties back to the North East, without a doubt!

    Reply to this comment

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