Saab is embarking on a new dealership strategy with the opening of its pilot City Centre in Berlin - the first of 100 new showrooms planned for key international cities.

In a statement, Saabs said that the City Centre concept is part of a new marketing strategy called Saab Unlimited which heralds a fresh and more targeted approach to customers in the key areas of sales, marketing, aftersales and franchise representation.

Saab Unlimited will help shift the brand from 'mass' to 'niche' marketing and sharpen what is claimed to be 'positive perception' of the company as 'a producer of modern, premium, safe and high-quality luxury vehicles'. It will also allow for 'more direct communication' with current and potential buyers.

In addition to the City Centres - which are modern and distinctively designed showrooms displaying a limited number of high-level vehicles - Saab will also introduce and run its own Brand Centres.

Modern and distinctively designed showrooms form part of the Saab Unlimited marketing strategy

The aim of Brand Centres - to be located at prestigious addresses in large urban areas - is to "promote awareness of Saab culture, brand values and brand philosophy".

The City and Brand Centres will be established in locations where it is easier for Saab to communicate and interact with current and potential owners.

"We must be present at the places where people spend the bulk of their time, the places where they work, meet their friends and do their shopping," says Saab Automobile global vice president of sales and marketing Mikael Eliasson.

In addition to stationary Brand Centres, mobile variants will also be used to reach potential customers more directly at airports, shopping centres, fairs, exhibitions and at conventions.

The pilot City Centre in Berlin features unconventional spacial design. It has the latest cars on show and for sale and these can be thoroughly appraised at modern web terminals as well as test-driven.

Saab plans to open a total of 100 City Centres in central Europe, the United States and Australia over the next few years.

A further integral part of Saab Unlimited is the structure and operation of dealerships as 'unlimited' and 'certified 'partners' with the appropriate levels of customer service complemented by purpose-designed sales, marketing and aftersales packages.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

Automotive retailing in the new millennium

Directory of European Vehicle Manufacturers

Global Car Forecasts to 2005