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ZL-1

GM's Saab cuts targets on way to break even

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Swedish carmaker Saab reduced its annual sales targets as the General Motors (NYSE:GM - News) unit tries to reach break-even, the head of GM Europe said in an advance abstract of a report in Automotive News Europe on Saturday.

The rest of this (rather small) article can be found here

Edited by ZL-1
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From the article:

Saab sold 133,167 cars worldwide last year

"Therefore, we have much reduced our volume ambitions, to 160,000 to 170,000."

(...)aimed to sell 250,000 units per year

Those are all worldwide sales, since Saab is sold globally. I don't know what is the weight of the US market in Saab sales.

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I saw the worldwide sales, but I was wondering where I could find out North American or US sales.

Posted in the Sales Figure Ticker every month.

May 2007 sales

9-2X - 2

9-3 - 2120

9-5 - 317

9-7X - 433

Total - 2872

On track for ~25,000 this year.

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About 3 years ago (I did not mark my calendar), I believe saab sold right around 38,xxx in the U.S. If correct, 25K is a far slide from that... and I thought saab posted a profitable quarter not that long ago. This brand has been in rocky for 20 years.

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SAAB's problem is that its living on one car and - unlike other monocar brands - its neither a purposely niche brand nor is its car (9-3) a real standout in the incredibly crowded entry-level segment. I know others will disagree, but I think the 9-3 does very well for itself being a high-torque front-wheel driver commanding a premium price through a weak dealer network with virtually no advertising.

That said, its needs a full lineup of cars that can at least tread the water a la the 9-3 to do decently. If the new 9-3 manages to move the model above the 3500 mark on a consistant basis, a 9-6x does as well as the current 9-3 at ~2000/mo and a new 9-5, Sonett, and 'Delta II' compact move 2000/mo altogether, then SAAB is in good shape at close to 100k/yr total

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I believe that it was integrating Saab in GM Europe that has allowed it to survive. Saab can share GM's engineering and production facilites and that is critical in lowering it's break-even. As long as Saab is allowed to have it's own unique design identity (and it has to be unique to Saab, they'll survive even at lower volumes.

For example, the current 9-3 range should have a liftback coupe: something that would be practical (Swedish design attribute), and distincitive in a time where all the talk is about how the market is becoming increasing fragmented in terms of body-styles and concepts with sedans, liftbacks, SUVs, CUVs, minivans, and so on, all sharing platforms.

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Saab's biggest problem is product. If they want to make profits or even break even they must get some new and relevant product out there. GM also seems to have no idea how to manage the brand.

Why is it that the 9-5 has not been redesigned yet, and won't be until 2009-2012? They wonder why it sells so poorly...because it's already ancient and a mild face lift does little to help matters...it fools no one.

The 9-3, while a good car that is getting a very handsome MCE is also getting old, and it will be a while before it's finally redesigned.

The 9-2x was a huge mistake, alienating Saab faithful and fooling no one that it was little more than a handsome Subaru.

The 9-7x further alienated the Saab faithful by being RWD, and a fancy TrailBlazer. And for what? A few hundred sales a month?

All of this, and GM is scratching it's head wondering why Saab is selling slow. GM is supposedly getting it's act together for product, but why has it taken so long. GM also has to understand that slapping parts from the corporate bin (like the bowtie stereo) doesn't help the brand's image as entry luxury.

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Isn't the 9-5 the 2nd EpsilonII car to be released, right after the Vectra/Insignia/Aura/whatever?

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Saab needs to finally decide what it wants to be. Either be the eccentric, quirky car it used to be.

Or, go flatout and become a luxury brand...sorry, but hatchback, turbo 4's

just don't cut it if you are going after the BMW crowd. And while at it, stop

cost cutting on interiors. And stop insulting everyone with stupid 9-2s and 9-7s.

And stop building such unreliable cars.

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Saab needs to finally decide what it wants to be. Either be the eccentric, quirky car it used to be.

Or, go flatout and become a luxury brand...sorry, but hatchback, turbo 4's

just don't cut it if you are going after the BMW crowd. And while at it, stop

cost cutting on interiors. And stop insulting everyone with stupid 9-2s and 9-7s.

And stop building such unreliable cars.

Audi?

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Audi?

:lol: Here's your 1.9 TDI after 4800 Euro in engine repairs!

Seriously, Audi does have a pretty neat lineup based around FWD/AWD models, so Saab can be perfectly viable following that same concept. I do agree, though, that Saab's quirkyness should be preserved in at least one variation of its several models.

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Audi shouldn't be doing hatchback 4 cyl models either.

They have VW for that.

Audi/VW hasn't cornered the market on marketing wisdom.

VW is a prime example of bizarre model lineups.

And they will pay dearly for it long into the future.

And Saab is no Audi. Not even close.

Edited by HarleyEarl
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I have to ask.... what is "quirky" about a Saab anymore? FWD and Turbo? Volvo, VW, Mitsu, Dodge, have all done that.

They look fairly mainstream... there aren't any hatchbacks....

Is keeping the key in the center console all that is required for "quirky" these days?

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Saab needs to finally decide what it wants to be. Either be the eccentric, quirky car it used to be.

Or, go flatout and become a luxury brand...sorry, but hatchback, turbo 4's

just don't cut it if you are going after the BMW crowd. And while at it, stop

cost cutting on interiors. And stop insulting everyone with stupid 9-2s and 9-7s.

And stop building such unreliable cars.

I'd really rather Saab be the eccentric, quirky car that it was.

The luxury thing doesn't quite fit.

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I'd really rather Saab be the eccentric, quirky car that it was.

The luxury thing doesn't quite fit.

i would like to see the return of the liftback/fastback style of the saabs similar to the mazda 6 fastback for the 9-3 and a cls style 9-5. the need a better entry level car than the 9-2x (and i own one but not because it is a saab but because i wanted awd where i used to live). let saab have a delta with a turbo 4 and give it an awd option. give a crossover but base it off the epi 2 and give it some wagons. saab should be a 3 car line up (7 variations, delta hatch coupe and 4 door, 9-3 vert, fastback sedan, wagon, 9-5 cls like sedan and wagon) and one crossover.

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I think SAAB after the next generation of models will be the Audi to Opel/Saturn's VW

9/3 and 9/5 share ep2 with the Opel Insignia

and a future 9/1 shares with Astra

plus 9-4x and you have a neat lineup.

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It will of course be the audi of GM Europe (i.e., above opel/vauxhall/saturn), but it shouldn't be an Audi clone. Saabs have to capitalize on quirkyness IMO.

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GM's dealing with SAAB is a tough one to crack. Like some of the other comments, I agree they need a 9-3 hatch. I do know Americans have a luke warm perception about hatchbacks but in Canada and the rest of the world we appreciate the usefullness they provide.

As far as model line up goes, I think a three model lineup is enough. It was not all that long ago when SAAB was just a single car lineup and and then you read some of this site's comments and people say SAAB needs a 9-1,9-2,9-3, and so on. Crossovers are what seems to be hot sellers today, and perhaps SAAB should produce one, but for me I thinks Crossovers as well as Sport Ute's and Sport Cutes are just a bunch ove over weight and over sized gas guzzlers. If you need utility by a wagon.

If you look at GM and then they think they can expect great sales through expanded vehicle lineups, they only have to look at Ford. Around the same time that Ford started to purchase Jaguar and Volvo GM bought into SAAB. Ford decided to expand on Volvo and Jaguar and look at where those two companies sales are, plus throw in Aston Martin and Land Rover.

For me when I think of SAAB and to be quircky is more than just putting the ignition between the seats, it is styling them like they were as in the 98 and 99 and the original 900.

On a further note, it's too bad Subaru change the styling of the Tibeca, because it always reminds me of an old SAAB 96.

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The 9-7x further alienated the Saab faithful by being RWD, and a fancy TrailBlazer. And for what? A few hundred sales a month?

The 9-7x is AWD. It outsells the 9-5 on the US market.

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The 9-7x is AWD. It outsells the 9-5 on the US market.

On the other hand, and IIRC, it's not sold outside the US (not sure about Canada/Mexico).
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