Tag Archives: dealer network

A letter to all Saab Owners from Jan Åke Jonsson

Posted on 27. Feb, 2010 by .

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Here’s a letter from Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile AB’s Managing Director.

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Dear Saab owner,

It is a great pleasure to announce that Spyker Cars N.V. now has acquired Saab Automobile AB from General Motors, thus securing our future.

I would like to thank you and all Saab customers, who have stood by us throughout this journey. Many of you have rallied, convoyed, blogged and otherwise helped carry the torch to save Saab. Your commitment underlines the remarkable strength of the Saab brand and bodes well for the future.

This new ownership has the full potential of bringing Saab successfully into the future, and ensuring that you as a customer will be able to experience true Saab cars that differ from the ordinary and offers a safe and a sporty fuel efficient driving experience paired with Scandinavian design and smart solution.

It also means that we, together with our dealer network, can continue to offer the best possible treatment and service, for you as well as for your Saab. We welcome you to come visit us – already today you can experience the latest addition to the Saab range — the new Saab 9-3X. Later this spring we will launch the all new Saab 9-5 Sedan and within the next 16 months we have more exciting news to introduce in the market – the new Saab 9-5 SportCombi and the new Saab crossover 9-4X.

A new Saab era begins today. You can continue to follow our progress here on Saab Newsroom and you´re always welcome to experience it from the best place of all: behind the wheel of a Saab at your local dealer.

Yours sincerely,

Jan Åke Jonsson
CEO Saab Automobile AB

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All 218 Saab Dealerships In The U.S. To Remain

Posted on 27. Jan, 2010 by .

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It has been confirmed again to Saab History, even after we all learned this with Mr. Muller earlier, that all 218 Saab dealerships in the United States will remain.

This is much better scenario than the previous plan with Koenigsegg.

Here’ the news below:

We have received word that under the Saab sale by GM to Spyker Cars the entire US dealership network will be retained. That is a far better outcome than had Saab been sold to Swedish’s Koenigsegg Automotive which sought to reduce the dealer network to less than half of current.

The Saab sale is due to consummate on February 15 so something could still fall through, as it has so often in the past. Yet as it currently stands, Saab dealers who seek to retain their franchise under Saab’s new Spyker Cars ownership should to be able to do so. Seems to be better news for ALL Saab dealer than some wind-down dealers with go-forward GM brands – Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.

Today is a brighter day for Saab dealers, their employees and their unique brand and customer base!

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The Shipyard Brewing – Cold Brook Saab Partnership

Posted on 23. Nov, 2009 by .

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Film Credit: Saab History

Saab History has been listening and learning about the significant impact that was made to Saab dealerships here in the United States over the past week. That impact involves 37% of 218 Saab dealerships in the United States or 81 individual retailers that are expected to terminate their agreements by the time the sale is completed, targeted for November 30th, 2009.

Here in the state of Maine, all but a few of these dealerships have received termination letters and as a result, there has been a huge impact to the local economy with customers and local businesses alike.

An example of this is Cold Brook Saab located in Skowhegan, Maine. Cold Brook Saab has been an exclusive Saab dealer for over 46 years and enjoys a strong customer following and has thrived despite tough times in the auto industry. Cold Brook Saab owner Joey Joseph credits innovative marketing through cross marketing opportunities that have evolved over the last 15 years. “We started establishing our cross marketing campaign with a sponsorship at Sugarloaf Ski Resort and have since forged alliances with Sunday River Ski and Golf Resort and Shipyard Brewery in Portland.”

An example of how this action by GM/SAAB to close the Maine Saab dealer network down can be seen by the dissolution of the long term partnerships. I had the pleasure of meeting the folks over at Shipyard Brewery and discussed what the demise of Cold Brooks Saab franchise might mean to their corporate fleet car of choice.

The current fleet that the company uses includes Saab 9-3 SportCombi’s, 9-5 SportCombi’s as well as 9-7xs. These vehicles initially began as transportation vehicles for upper management serving as premium transportation for executives that promote a premium product as a corporate benefit, much like what has been done at nearby Sunday River ski and golf resort who has many top executives driving Saabs from Cold Brook Saab also.

Today, the Saab vehicles have been handed down within the company to all levels and now support marketing and other critical functions to the company. For over a decade Cold Brook Saab has provided over 20 Saab vehicles to Shipyard Brewery and as a result, they have enjoyed every minute
of it.

If this particular dealership ends up being terminated at the end of the month or when the sale of Saab is completed, the direct result will inevitably be that Shipyard Brewery will no longer be using Saabs as their fleet vehicles in the future.

The message here is that the dealerships and and their customers are inextricably linked through relationships. If a Saab dealer cannot offer Saabs any longer, their customers have no real incentive to go out of their way to find another Saab dealer to continue their ownership because that relationship began with the dealer, not the Saab product.

A special thanks to those at both Shipyard Brewery as well as Cold Brook Saab for the opportunity to realize the local impact in Maine to the immediate situation with Saab dealerships in the United States.

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Shipyard Brewery
86 Newbury Street
Portland, ME 04101
www.shipyard.com

cbsaab
Cold Brook Saab
337 Madison Ave
Skowhegan, ME 04976
www.coldbrooksaab.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.jpg

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 9-3x Launched In Italy At Open House

Posted on 05. Oct, 2009 by .

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italy.jpg

This past weekend, the Saab 9-3x was launched in Italy at an open house.

As part of this launch, there is website www.saab93x.it where users can access driving itineraries specifically designed to get the most out of the Saab 9-3x. It looks pretty impressive with beautiful routes, complete with appropriate dining and lodging accommodations along the way.

Here is a copy of their press release available here from source, translated by Google.

On 3 and October 4, 2009 open house to present the Saab 9-3X, a model that marks the debut of the Saab crossover segment

A “social competition” to anticipate the exit market

Presented in preview at the Geneva Motor Show last February, the new Saab 9-3X will make its debut to the general public at the door the weekend of 3 and 4 October 2009, at the Saab dealer network. Already since Monday 28 September, an interesting “social competition”, which in 6390 totaled just four days he visits, he anticipates the exit to the market.

The new entry Saab 9-3X crossover segment marks the debut of Saab and the Swedish company makes it quite innovative, in line with their own DNA. The Scandinavian roots, in fact, can not but be reflected in their cars: the harsh climate and the rugged nature of the territory of Scandinavia are the place where many manufacturers conduct trials on their car as Saab, here, the car produces.

The Saab 9-3X is a car that combines an attractive exterior design and surprising performance in the driving wheel-drive thanks to XWD (cross wheel drive, available in conjunction with the petrol engines), which allows the driver to always have top grip on any terrain and in all conditions, combined with a self-leveling suspension system for a more neutral attitude. The performance off road and in critical condition to drive can be optimized through the limited-slip differential with electronic control (eLSD), available as an option, which allows the dynamic allocation and optimal driving force between the rear wheels.

In Italy, the new Saab crossover will be available in the 2.0 TS petrol engine XWD, two-stage 1.9 turbo diesel with DPF and TTiD 2.0TS XWD BioPower, which combines the pleasure of driving a four wheel drive with the advantages of bioethanol E85. All engines are available with 6-speed manual gearbox. The petrol and diesel engines can also be equipped with one or Sentronic 6-speed automatic transmission.

Since Sept. 28, anticipating the release on the market for Saab 9-3X, the homepage of the site or directly at www.saab.it, www.saab93x.it you can access the original “social competition”: this is a contest in which users, having recorded, in addition to enjoy a range of itineraries specifically designed by Saab to appreciate the most of the riding abilities of the new crossover, can create their own routes, share them with friends and vote the best. The routes that will win the most votes will be rewarded with a weekend of adventure in an Italian village.

The initiative was conveyed on a variety of media tools, from traditional print to direct mail but the main peculiarity of this contest was the presence on the circuits of social networks, through viral video uploaded to YouTube and posted on

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Joel Manby, Former Saab USA President Speaks About GM & Saab

Posted on 30. Jun, 2009 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab Cars USA. Inc.

Joel Manby, Former President of Saab Cars USA, Inc. that I interviewed in December, speaks about his previous experience working with General Motors & Saab on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Here are some of his best quotes directly from the transcript. I also highly suggest you read my interview with him as well.

“…what I saw at General Motors which was not very good. It was chaos. It wasn’t very well led. And at General Motors it was only about the bottom line. It was only about money and, you know, at the end of the day, I don’t think great people are really attracted to that…”

“…when I was in the GM culture, a lot of the discussion was about cutting costs and labor issues, union issues, and not enough about what’s going on with that customer.”

“…Well, Saab…I’ll answer that in two different segments…with Saab, we had a fantastic car, but we had no marketing strategy and no dealer network. So, I was a very young, I was 32 years old and actually by the time I got to Saab, I was 34, but I was one of the younger GM division presidents, because they wanted the Saturn guest experience applied to a great product.”

“…with Saab, we had a fantastic car, but we had no marketing strategy and no dealer network.”

“On Saab, the biggest thing I learned is how difficult it is to change a culture that is not customer focused and in Saab’s case, it was an engineering driven company. When you’d be in the meetings, it’d be all about having the absolute, best car, which actually, you can go too far, because you can put things into the car that customers aren’t willing to pay for. The engineers want it, but you’re not willing to pay for it as a customer,and that’s what I walked away with [from] Saab. You’ve got to only put in things that the customer is willing to reward you for…”

“At Saturn and Saab I saw a lot of mistakes there where, frankly, it became poor leadership. It really comes down to strong leadership and at Herschend, the owners just permeate the values.”

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U.S. Saab Dealerships Have Until Friday To Accept GM Transfer Agreement Letter

Posted on 17. Jun, 2009 by .

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Automotive news, a source I rarely trust, had a decent article recently on the agreement letter that GM have sent their “220 Saab dealerships” in the United States.

This article states and many Saab dealerships agree, that this GM dealership transfer agreement is primarily cya for GM unfortunately. However, it does help pave the path for Saab dealerships to ensure their viability so that an official binding agreement will become available from the new Koenigsegg-Saab gets the go ahead from the court.

DETROIT — General Motors wants its 220 U.S. Saab dealerships to sign a proposed agreement by Friday to prepare for the likely sale of the
Swedish brand.

But these proposals are no guarantee that all Saab dealerships will get to stay in business even if GM completes the sale. The proposed
agreement, which GM sent to Saab dealerships on Friday, June 12, will allow for two possibilities:

The first would be continuing to sell Saabs under the new ownership.

The second would occur if GM can’t close a deal on Saab. The dealerships would then follow an orderly wind down and GM would offer a payout.

“There’s no guarantee all dealers will go forward because the new company might say, ‘I see you have 220 dealerships, and we only need x number,'” said Steve Shannon, executive director of product and marketing for Cadillac, Hummer and Saab. “It says you might continue to be a Saab dealer and adopted by the new owner.”

Shannon says the importance of the U.S. dealer network has been recognized by interested investors from the beginning and “the number of Saab dealerships in the U.S., at least at first glace, seems reasonable.”

GM is close to selling Saab to Swedish luxury sports carmaker Koenigsegg, Reuters reported last week. Shannon declined to comment on that report or on whether Koenigsegg was an interested party.

Saab said today it is likely to announce its new owner this week and that three-quarters of its creditors had agreed to a proposed write-down of the money-losing brand’s debt.

A Saab spokeswoman said an announcement should come soon. “I think that during this week, chances are good. It could be anytime now,” the spokeswoman, Gunilla Gustavs, said.

Saab sought protection from creditors in Sweden in February. It has been granted an extension of its business reorganization until Aug. 20 to restructure and find a new owner.

Shannon said Saab has a “short list of three potential investors.” He said if GM sells Saab, the U.S. arm would be a distribution network and likely remain located in Detroit initially.

Shannon said if dealerships opt to not sign the GM agreement, they would not be eligible for wind-down payments if GM can’t sell Saab.

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