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March 24, 2010

US: Saab NA estimates bounce back by 2012

Saab Cars North America estimates it will return to historical sales volume by 2012 following the establishment of its new headquarters in Michigan.

Saab Cars North America estimates it will return to historical sales volume by 2012 following the establishment of its new headquarters in Michigan.

The US sales subsidiary has moved from Detroit to Royal Oak, Michigan, following some help from state authorities and is confident this week’s restart of Swedish production under the tutelage of new owner Spyker, marks a turning point.

“We will take some time to restock the shelves and talk to our customers,” Saab Cars North America chief operating officer Mike Colleran told just-auto from Royal Oak.

“It is a little premature for forecasts this year, but we would like to return to our historical volume but that will take until 2012. In the medium term, we will focus on our customers loyal to us for many years.”

The COO revealed that initially at least the US dealer network had fallen from 218 outlets to some 211, but that it was “essentially the network prior to the new company being formed.”

Colleran also highlighted the fact Saab had named GMAC Financial Services as its preferred provider of wholesale and retail finance for dealers and customers worldwide as important for its strategy.

And Saab remains convinced US customers will return to the portfolio, especially as the new 9-5 variant arrives in July, coupled with significant orders for the 9-3 and interest in the 9-4X.

“There is no question the brand can bounce back in the US,” said Colleran, adding: “We have several thousands of orders for 9-3s now [and] a huge vehicle for us will be the 9-4X, which is a premium crossover that we will see in the first quarter of 2011.

“We think the arrival of the 9-3X will be big news because it places us in a segment where we have not been.”

Colleran added he also saw some “limited cases” where parent Spyker could collaborate with Saab, despite the clearly smaller footprint of the Dutch owner, although Spyker North America would have its own team.

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