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Saab on road to recovery

Date: 29 July 2010

Adler: Leasing firms happy with Saab's approach

Saab's growing recovery from its "trauma" of recent years has seen it return to most leasing company lists and will spawn three further new models to join the recently launched 9-5 saloon.

"A number of leasing companies have undertaken reviews as they see evidence of Saab coming out of its trauma," Saab general manager, corporate sales Paul Adler told BusinessCar. "We've gone to a number of leasing firms including those previously not quoting Saab and we're back on with most." Adler said one or two are asking for "a greater level of reassurance", but he expects to be back on their lists in the near future.

"There is a warmth towards Saab so people are happy to talk to us, but we've got to behave in the right way," he said. "It takes time to build a foundation but the leasing companies have been happy with our approach."

From a product perspective, the estate version of the 9-5, which accounted for half of 9-5 volume in the previous-generation model, will follow next year, with a small 4x4 9-4X coming in 2012. The replacement for the biggest-selling model in the Saab range, the upper medium 9-3, is scheduled to follow in 2013.

Marketing director David Pugh said Saab isn't looking to take on the German premium brands. "The world doesn't need another Audi or BMW; our job is to be more distinctive and offer something different," he said.

The company, now under full ownership of Dutch sportscar brand Spyker, is looking for a market share of 0.7-1.0% and sales of around 20,000 units per year. Over the first half of 2010, Saab's market share sat at 0.2%, though the recent launch of the new

9-5 saloon should give the numbers a boost in the second half of 2010.

Looking to the future, independence from previous owner General Motors gives Saab the opportunity to forge partnerships with other manufacturers. "We're open to technical partners, which wouldn't have been possible in the past, and we're already hard at work with these, although GM will still be one," said Pugh. All the new 9-5 engines are from the GM stable, including the 1.6-litre turbo petrol and 2.0 TTiD units being added to the line-up in September.



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