Archive for 'Canada'

Saab History Receives Photos Of Saab Canada Relaunch

Posted on 13. May, 2010 by .

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Photo Credit: Budd’s Saab

Saab Automobile Canada’s new importer, Budd’s Saab in Toronto has just provided some photographs of the launch this past Tuesday.

A thank you to them for the photography, it’s really nice to see Canada being officially relaunched!

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Saab Cars North America To Announce Plan For Canada

Posted on 10. May, 2010 by .

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Saab Cars North America, Inc. will be holding a press conference tomorrow in Oakville, Ontario as they announce their new distribution plan for Saab in Canada.

The history of Saab in Canada began in 1975 by Scancar in Toronto, so this restart of operations out of Budd’s Saab in Oakville, will be no different.

Let’s support this much anticipated and long awaited restart tomorrow for Saab in Canada!

Here is their media advisory below:

canadaflag1 Saab Cars North America To Announce Plan For Canada

Saab is taking its roots into the future. To learn more about our exciting plans, we warmly invite you to join our leadership team for a press conference and light lunch in Oakville, Ontario, Canada Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:00 a.m.

Location: Budd’s Saab Dealership
2400 South Service Road West
Oakville, Ontario

Speakers to include:
Victor Muller, Chairman Saab & CEO Spyker Cars NV
Jan Ake Jonsson, CEO Saab Automobile AB
Mike Colleran, President & COO Saab Cars North America

Media Contact: Michele Tinson
Saab Cars North America,
Communications
Cell: 248-408-2231

For more information on Saab, please visit www.media.saab.com

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Saab Dealerships In Canada To Continue

Posted on 18. Nov, 2009 by .

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Saab History has covered the status of Saab dealerships in Canada earlier this fall, but now there seems to be a good resolution in place.

Evidently, according to the global and mail, the dealerships will continue by Saab Cars North America working directly with distributor, International Fleet Sales, Inc. of California to make it all happen.

While this is positive news, how is it that so many of these dealerships have been told that they are to close, and now many months later, they are asked to stay?

Saab’s history in Canada started in 1975 with a distributor, so continuing this plan will not be any different than it was since it began.

Here’s the story below.

canadaflag1 Saab Dealerships In Canada To Continue

Saab, one of four brands being jettisoned or sold by General Motors Co., will continue in Canada under new ownership and a smaller dealer network, Canadian dealers say.
[…]

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Saab Sighting Of The Week “Turbo-X In Montreal, Canada”

Posted on 07. Apr, 2009 by .

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turbox Saab Sighting Of The Week Turbo X In Montreal, Canada

Photo Credit: Saab History

During my review of the Saab 9-3 Aero XWD eLSD SportCombi, I managed to spot a beautiful yet rare 2008 Saab 9-3 Turbo-X and dropped my card for the chance to hope hear from the owner.

Within the next day, I heard back from the owner, Sonny of Montreal, who absolutely loves this vehicle and provided us his reason for buying it and his experience with it.

A thank you to Sonny for sharing for including in this week’s Saab Sighting of the week!

You sure picked the right person to review the Saab 93 TurboX. I am someone who has been driving manual shift vehicles for four decades. I always get high end luxury sedans due to the nature of my work (salesman on the road). I prefer manual vehicles because of the degree of safety and control I get compared with automatics. Notably I have owned a Volvo S70, a Saab 95 Aero and an Infinity G35. However, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that my 9-3 TurboX is probably the best car I have ever had.

From the moment I saw it at last years Montreal Auto Show, I knew it was the car for me. I came this close to ordering a BMW 335IX, but I had some reserves; namely with all the options I wanted, that fine automobile became extremely expensive. Then I met the 9-3 Turbo-X. It came fully loaded with everything any sensible car enthusiast could ever want, at a price that was affordable. Getting the 9-3 proved to be somewhat of a challenge, as my Memorial day promise arrived around the fourth of July. But who cares? I got it, and I love it!

The main features that make me so positive about this car are the power and the handling. Travelling through first gear is really good, and noticeably better then any of my previous cars. Second through six are even better. As for cornering, does the phrase “glued to the road” mean anything? This baby zips around any corner at any speed. I just love losing anybody on my trail on a cloverleaf. I only wish there were some roads where I could redline her in sixth gear.

And the braking is just as good as the accelerating. I don’t know the spec that Saab put it to those brakes, but let me tell you, somebody knew what they were doing. Also, this car is appreciably smaller then my 9-5, and better suited at changing lanes, weaving through traffic, and parking in tight spots.

As to the creature comforts of the car: they are all just right. The fine leather is sumptuous and the heated seats are cosy, and quick. The shift lever and the armrest are well spaced so that my elbow is not left hanging. The front cupholder is cute & clever. This is my first car with satellite radio, and I liked it so much, that I ordered a portable unit for my wife’s car. I also enjoy the Onstar telephone service, but I occasionally find myself cursing at the android for not hearing me correctly! Aah technology!

All in all, I think this is a great car at a reasonable price. I have very few criticisms, except maybe its a little tough on gas (but what do you expect with some 300 ponies). I think that it is a shame that it is a limited edition vehicle, and hope the manufacturer has the good sense to produce this model again.

Sonny
Montreal, Quebec
Canada

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The History Of Saab Automobile Canada

Posted on 05. May, 2008 by .

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saab canada 600 The History Of Saab Automobile Canada

Photo Credits: Saab Automobile Canada

As a follow-up to my recent communications with Saab Automobile Canada, not only did I kindly suggest that they include themselves in the media.saab.com website, which they have now done, I also suggested that they submit a photograph and their company history from the very beginning.

Saab Automobile Canada took my suggestions seriously as you can tell and have provided Saab History with said photograph and company history.

The Team:

The photograph of their team that I requested above, includes the Saab Automobile Canada team members (Left-to-Right), Terry Smith, Aftersales Manager, MÃ¥rten Wahlstedt, Brand Manager and Steve Tamblyn, Assistant Brand Manager. I emphasized that this photograph not only include their team, but to be taken within the context of their headquarters, as well as a Canadian flag in the background, rounding out with a Saab 9-3 in the foreground. A great job on the photograph, this photograph certainly contextualizes Saab Automobile Canada now.

The History:

The history has been provided with the best of their ability, with some significant digging in order to get the details, and here it is.

Saab Canada History

* In 1975, Saabs were first imported into Canada by Scancar, based in Toronto, Ontario. Cars were distributed across the country by approximately 9 dealers.

* Previous to that, Saab automobiles were imported into the country on an individual basis.

* In 1980, Imsport, of Toronto, took over the importation of Saabs into Canada from Scancar. This increased the distribution network to approximately 20 dealers.

* In 1985, Saab itself entered the Canadian market forming Saab Canada taking over from Imsport.

* In 1989, General Motors of Canada Limited acquired the exclusive rights to distribute the Saab brand in Canada. They were marketed through the existing Passport dealer network, formed by General Motors of Canada, to retail imported vehicles, which included at that time, the Isuzu brand.

* In 1992, with the birth of the Saturn division, Passport dealers underwent a name change to Saturn Saab Isuzu ‘Retailers’, to include the new brand in the distribution chain.

* In 2002, with the Isuzu division no longer part of General Motors, the Saturn Saab Isuzu Retailers became simply Saturn Saab Retailers.

* In 2009, GM Canada issued a memo to the Saab dealerships stating that they must cease operation by December 31st, 2009

This photograph and history now better contextualizes and thus provides the credibility that we needed and wanted to see from Saab Automobile Canada.

An enthusiastic thank you to MÃ¥rten Wahlstedt and his colleagues at Saab Automobile Canada for providing this information for the record.

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Saab Automobile Canada Contacts Saab History

Posted on 05. May, 2008 by .

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canada1 Saab Automobile Canada Contacts Saab History

On April 9th, 2008 at approximately 3:30pm, Marten Wahlstedt of Saab Automobile Canada Phoned Saab History. This contact was in response to a piece I had written on April 1st, 2008 pertaining to the communications and management of Saab Automobile Canada.

Mårten Wahlstedt is the Marketing Manager of Saab Automobile Canada and has been an employee of Saab Automobile beginning since 1995, where he began working right in Trollhättan, Sweden. Since that time he has held numerous positions in marketing and communications with Saab Automobile having lived in Göteborg, Sweden as well as Germany and he has now been working at his current position within Saab Automobile Canada in Oshawa, Canada near Toronto.

Prior to MÃ¥rten Wahlstedts employ with Saab Automobile Canada, another Swede by the name of Magnus Hansen worked in the same position. It is MÃ¥rten’s hope that this position will continue to be developed and will consist of the the same types of individuals that have been employed as of late as it has worked out well, although he admits “there is always much more work that can be done to improve all aspects of Saab Automobile Canada’s role in the market today”.

Our conversation began as MÃ¥rten Wahlstedt outlined his aforementioned history with Saab Automobile as well as the management structure of Saab Automobile Canada.

Saab Automobile Canada’s Management: Today, Saab Automobile Canada consists of MÃ¥rten Wahlstedt, and a few assistants who work exclusively full-time on the Saab Automobile brand while “leveraging the resources of GM Canada” as he indicated.

Saab Automobile Canada’s Advertising: Saab Automobile Canada align themselves with the global ad campaign “move your mind”, however they also utilize Saab Automobile USA television advertisements due to the close proximity of most Canadians to the United States border. Their advertising is best defined as a hybrid of unique messages to perspective Canadian buyers with the global ad campaign while also utilizing material from the United States as well.

Saab Automobile Canada’s Products: When it comes to Saab Automobile’s products, it was clearly communicated that pricing on all products are to be identical across all Canadian provinces, period. Secondly, Saab Automobile Canada’s products of course, continue to be produced with european specifications.

Saab Automobile Canada’s Retailers: It has been confirmed that the total retailers that Saab Automobile Canada work with are, the aforementioned 31 facilities that are all partnered with GM’s Saturn brand. These retailers believe that communication needs to be strengthened between Saab Automobile Canada and each respective retailer, and MÃ¥rten Wahlstedt acknowledges this and knows that this can be improved.

As we began to wrap up our conversation I passed along some suggestions for areas of improvement, of course beginning with strengthing communication between the customers as well as the retailers. In addition, I also suggested that the public communication channel be revamped, beginning with an official launch of Canada’s own section of the Saab Media website, http://media.saab.com as Canada currently does not have any presence here.

As of this writing, I now see that Saab Automobile CANADA now has presence on media.saab.com in both English & French versions! It is great to see some suggestions go directly to a solution now globally visible communicating all of Saab Automobile Canada’s information in a commonly known location.

It looks like after this substantial dialog, I am beginning to see more communication, more work along with more clarity on everything that is happening with Saab Automobile Canada.

Now all Saab Automobile Canada needs to do is keep this trend continuing consistently from here on out.

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Saab Automobile Canada Communications

Posted on 01. Apr, 2008 by .

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canada Saab Automobile Canada Communications

Over the past few years, I have been trying to get in touch with Saab Automobile Canada about anything from questions, concerns, details, etc. and I have not had any luck.

I have sent e-mails, made phonecalls and no one from Saab Automobile Canada have gotten back in touch with me. I understand that this “customer service experience” is not unique to me and Saab History. If you are a Saab owner or enthusiast in Canada reading this, I hope you feel better knowing this experience is also not unique to you either. This non-existent communictions with Saab Automobile Canada seems to be a nationwide epidemic.

The folks on Trollhattansaab as well as another blog cite Saab Canada as failing to make updates on their website, respond to customer inquiries, poor Saab service experiences, provide pricing for the Turbo-X halo vehicle for Cross-Wheel Drive and numerous other areas.

The only information I have received in all of my persistent attempts to reach a human at Saab Automobile Canada has been a reference to someone who is the “Saab Brand Manager” with Saab Canada and of course that individual has not responded to me either. I can’t imagine that others have received more than that as sad as that is.

I guess my question is, who is actually running Saab Automobile Canada? Is there an actual management team solely responsible for Saab? I understand that they have only 31 Saab dealerships and those dealerships are also out of the loop when it comes to any corporate communication with Saab Canada as well.

I wonder how long this disconnect will run its course with Saab Automobile Canada because this communication or lack thereof is bleak at best as well as unsupportive of sales at the minimum.

I feel bad for the Saab Automobile Automobile as a whole, all of the 31 Saab dealerships in Canada, but most importantly, I feel bad for the Saab customers that have been turned off from a lack of information and/or quality sales or service experience.

Here’s hoping that this posting at least initiates a response, and if it does, it’ll also be sad because one shouldn’t need to go to great lengths in order to simply reach a human being these days in this small world, and even smaller world of Saab Automobile.

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Saab History Visits Saab/Saturn Dealer in Canada

Posted on 25. Feb, 2008 by .

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dealer 600 Saab History Visits Saab/Saturn Dealer in Canada

Photo Credits: Saab History

As a follow-up to the Saab Automobile dealership network in the United States, I am providing us some information about the Saab Dealership network in Canada.

Today, there are approximately 31 Saab dealerships spanning the Canadian/United States border from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. In Canada, most Saab dealerships are combined with Saturn Dealerships and this integration is commonplace.

At the 2008 North American International Auto Show, I got the chance to briefly visit one of these Saab/Saturn Dealerships in Windsor, Ontario during my first day in the region this past January.

Upon arriving at this dealership, I was immediately greeted by a number of their representatives. When asked what they could do for me, I immediately indicated who I was, what website I was representing and that my purpose in visiting was to see what what the Saab/Saturn branded dealership experiences in Canada, were all about for perspective and existing customers.

dscn7189 300 Saab History Visits Saab/Saturn Dealer in CanadaI found that this experience at this particular dealership, had a stronger focus on the Saturn brand. After asking about why this focus was what it was, the sales represenatives indicated that the pricing for the Saab models over the past few years have been significantly higher than they would have liked and sales have reflected this. As a Saab enthusiast, I could understand their position however, I was very interested and excited about the focus on the customer being first priority in this dealership. I recall that this “customer first” focus is and always has been a staple of what makes the Saturn brand as successful as they are today.

In terms of design and layout, I did see a significant difference between this Saab / Saturn dealership and the Saab of Queensway, Toronto dealership that I previously wrote about, both inside and out.

Although I did not have a lot of time to spend at this dealership, I did enjoy my experience and thanked the staff for their time. I hope to hear more from other individuals who have had experiences in Canada at these Saab / Saturn dealerships.

One of the questions that stuck with me after I left this dealership, was the following:

Saab Automobile’s new premium concept car debuts in Geneva on March 3rd. This concept car has been indicated by Saab Automobile to be sharing the same platform as the Saturn Astra models already in production today.

This is the million dollar question: Once this concept car hits production and ends up in the showrooms, specifically the Saab/Saturn showrooms in Canada, how will Saab / Saturn dealerships advertise and market this model? Hypothetically having two of the same models on the floor, just how challenging will the task be for these dealerships to differentiate these vehicles in their marketing and advertising, given that they will be sold side-by-side all the while being based off of the same platform? I think this will be a difficult task for their marketing teams for both Saab & Saturn within the realm of this dealership arrangement in Canada.

A few days later into my time in Detroit, I also had a nice opportunity to meet with and have a one-on-one chat with Jill Lajdziak, the President & CEO of Saturn North America over a dinner Saturn sponsored for us social media. One of the big take aways from this dialog surrounded not Saab’s premium concept car, nor other aspects of Saab that I mentioned to her, but my experience at this dealership. My last question to her consisted of Saturn’s “customer first” focus as I indicated earlier, more specifically why Saturn continues to succeed in customer satisfaction at the dealership level and why many other brands fail.

I leave you with her answer to this question which I thought was simply astounding!

“At Saturn, we start our relationship when a customer buys or leases a vehicle, unlike many other brands”.

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Production Concept