Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Rumors of my Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

This famous quote by Mark Twain might well apply to Saab today. As I passed through life in the past year, people I knew would always inquire about the state of Saab, and somehow the only news that would stick in peoples ears was the bad. It stuns me that months after the Spyker deal that I am still getting questions about what we are going to do now that Saab is out of business. Huh?

We hear this multiple times a day from customers at the service desk. How did people miss all the good news about the sale to Spyker? The general population with no connection to Saab might get some understanding from me, but I always take notice of the status of companies I like doing business with, and presumably if you drive a Saab, you’ve got a reason to pay attention to at least some of the news surrounding the company. Another example: I was at the dentist last week. The hygienist said how sad she was that Saab was going out of business, because the 1986 900T that she previously owned was one of her favorite cars of all time. These are always odd conversations, when one person talks, and the other has a mouth full of suction tubes and dental devices and is left grunting. I held my thoughts, because I had to make sure that when I could speak again that she knew that Saab was not dead, and in fact had a promising if not brilliant future. She was surprised!

Some of this fault lies with the dealer body. We could have done more to tell our constituents about the new Saab ownership situation. In fairness, we had planned to do a large campaign to inform our clients, but decided to tie it to the launch of the 9-5. That was a mistake. Now the 9-5 is still not here and we have lost several months of opportunity to declare the great news, which now hardly seems like news, but clearly would be to some.

Most of the blame has to fall with Saab Cars North America. I understand that they had to preserve the miniscule capital they had to launch the new car, but there should have been something out there that simply stated that they were still in business, and that the future of Saab would be something for all to behold. This especially frustrates me, because an outstanding video/ad has been circulating since last year and it would have gotten the message out and touched a lot of present and former Saab enthusiasts.

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