Saab History’s Suggested Strategy For Saab Automobile’s Ability To Target Their Post Modernist Audience

Posted on 13. Jul, 2009 by in 2000-2009

After hearing the Saab Automobile brand design chief, Simon Padian state that the target audience for the brand are “modern individualists” (defined in the video above) harkening back to Saab designer, Bryan Nesbitt’s words of “upper liberal” two years ago and my experience at Saab 60th event in San Diego at the modern Tower 13 hotel as well as the super modern House of Sweden in D.C, I thought it was an appropriate time to start asking ourselves, what is Saab Automobile’s target audience, is it truly a post modernist audience?

Living here in the North East region of the United States, I’ve seen a strong base of those who either live or want to live the modern lifestyle as typically depicted in “Dwell Magazine“, effectively falling into the targeted audience for the Saab Automobile brand, however those people are very far and few between. I also think that the same goes for those in the Pacific North West. Within this demographic, these individuals realize that there are a lot of choices these days when it comes to an automobile, far more than when Saab held onto the quirky capable car for those active yuppies in the late eighties and early nineties. Today’s post modernists not only drive Saabs, they drive audis, bmws, top of the line Subaru outbacks, Mini’s, Smart Cars, and then of course the Toyota Prius.

So, what is it going to take to get all of these customers out of these vehicles and into the Saab Automobile? Or better yet, what will it take to keep the existing customers with Saab Automobile? I thought that this would be a good opportunity to instead of focusing solely on the audience, looking at the product itself and seeing what it needs to have in order for Saab Automobile to continue to maintain this targeted audience of post modern/ individualist. There are a number of key areas that Saab Automobile will need to improve on in their new product lineup in order to do better within this target audience that I have provided below as five simplified points.

If this direction does not change soon, Saab Automobile’s targeted audience will completely move on, and if that happens, where will Saab be? Are there other demographics not as specific as this that also equally appreciate each and every factor of the current Saab product portfolio?

1) Rightsized Architectures

I believe the “rightsizing philosophy” needs to be applied to the car as a whole, not just the power train because let’s not forget, Saab Automobile is historically a small-car maker where they’ve succeeded. Saab Automobile is not a large luxury car maker, and doing otherwise will continue to be counter to their efforts. I could see advertisements here in the United States about Saab’s rightsizing philosophy in comparison to just about every other car on the market that’s not “right sized”. It’ll set them apart from the competition immediately.

2) Scandinavian Design Inside & Out

A continuation of the scandinavian design outside and inside, with much more attention paid to quality and choice of materials, which is just starting to show through. There is no other automobile manufacturers in the world that can hold this claim, so Saab Automobile must step up the message on a global scale.

3) Ecofriendly Powertrains

A real effort to get into the eco friendly market, because the BioPower program & the Turbocharger, particularly here in the United States is not going to cut it, it’s just not enough, even the TTid diesel would be a good start, if they can out advertise volkswagen’s new campaign here in the Unites States. It’s also the hybrid market that Saab Automobile can really hit the road running, it needs to happen because people aren’t buying the Prius because it’s a toyota, they are buying it because it’s a hybrid..and now Ford has a Hybrid. If Saab Automobile is an innovator, we need to see it because the power train is a big deal, and it’s going to drive the sales more than the pop-out cup holder, heated seats or the active head restraint system.

4) A Solid Statement of Saab Safety

A solid dialogue about Saab’s Safety through engineering exhibited in every car they make. Showcasing and visually illustrating what makes a Saab safe, the engineering work, the education behind the engineers research & development, the real-life safety, the active & passive safety systems included in every car they make.

5) Practicality & Active Lifestyle

A commitment to outwitting the competition in the practicality department through their legendary hatchback & other functionality through accessories and otherwise, assisting in the active lifestyles that make up the majority of their Saab demographic. This is where the branding exercises will be best illustrated through marketing and advertising of the practicality and other functionality.

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