• Feb 10, 2011
2012 Saab 9-4X – Click above for high-res image gallery

Saab Cars North America (barely) lived through a horrible 2010, with sales of only 5,445 units. For perspective, Toyota makes that many Camry sedans by Thursday of most weeks. Part of the problem, no doubt, was Saab's flirtation with oblivion and the resultant crippled supplier base and a lack of consumer awareness, but a lack of new product also played a big role.

Automotive News reports that Saab execs are assuring dealers that 2011 should turn out a lot better, with projected U.S. sales of between 15,000 and 20,000 units. That's a significant sales recovery, and at least part of the increased volume should come courtesy of a strengthening auto market. But increased sales alone won't enable 400 percent growth. Luckily, Saab has some new product in the pipeline, with the 9-4X crossover scheduled to arrive in May, while continued sales of the 9-5 sedan and the upcoming wagon variant (scheduled for Fall, 2011) should further boost the bottom line.

Will the 9-4X prove popular enough to move Saab over the sales hump? We don't doubt it, if only because the company's sales bogey is so low. And it helps that the 9-4X is attractive and poised to hit the market at a time when customers are clamoring over high-end CUVs.



[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sad is it may be, Saab will be lucky to sell 10K cars in the US. It's not just a matter of product pipeline, but also Saab's feeble U.S. dealer network.

      Consider this: In Los Angeles County, there are only 3 Saab dealers -- yes, 3! -- and the one in Pasadena is an old school dealership that shares space with Cadillac. In affluent Orange County, a prime market for Saab's competitors, there is only 1 Saab dealer and in San Diego County, only 2.

      Put it this way: there are nearly as many Lotus dealers as Saab dealers in Southern California. If Saab were trying to be Lotus -- selling niche cars for weekend jaunts and track days -- that might be a viable business model, but Saab aism to compete with very establish mainstream competitors in BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, Inifniti and Acura, not to mention resurgent brands such as Buick, Cadiallac and Lincoln. All of these brands have much stronger dealer networks.

      Saab has no chance of selling many $40K+ cars with such a paltry dealer network. Combine that with a lack of good product, insufficient R&D dollars, not enough advertising and general fear of the brand failing completely and Saab has about a 1 in 4 chance of lasting 5 more years in the U.S.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Last time I was at my local (only) Saab dealer he had new 9-3's on the lot for mid-20s. At that price, they are great cars. I would NEVER pay in the 40s for any Saab. But again, I would not pay in the 40s for ANY car (within reason, I'd buy a Bugatti for 40K :) ).
        • 3 Years Ago
        well said. its sad but true.
        • 3 Years Ago
        but has Saab ever been a big seller in the LA area to justify more dealers?

        here in the Northeast where Saab has always done well, I can count 6 dealers just within the metro Boston area. if the 94x is priced well, I bet they will sell very well in this region
        • 3 Years Ago
        Growing up in SoCal, I'm pretty sure Saab used to have a bigger dealer network, even when volumes of all car sales were lower -- I know for sure there were a few dealers in Orange County, now done to one. It wasn't unusual to see Saabs growing up -- lots of 900s and some 9000s, but the 9-5 was a bust and the 9-3 is getting very, very old. You don't see many here any more.

        Let's put it this way: I know Saab's have always been big in Boston and surrounds, but Saab can't make it in America selling cars to the Northeast alone. Their Southern Californian presence is an indication of things to come. They have a chicken and egg problem: nobody will launch a new Saab dealership until sales volumes are up and sales volumes won't go up substantially until they launch more dealers.

        Car companies in a growth stage launch new dealerships and rehab existing dealers in anticipation of success (think Lexus in the late 80s, early 90s) but that takes the kind of money Saab doesn't have.

        And in rsponse to KGavar -- a Saab 9-3 that stickers for $27K but sells for $20K is a good deal (I've seen those, too), but Saab can't last blowing out cars at a loss. They HAVE to sell $40K+ cars to survive at their low volume.

        It's not looking good, fellas...
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wanna love the 9-4x but I just don't. I don't think it's ugly more just, Meh. Will it sell, well the horrible 9-7x sorta sold. I just don't think when people think SAAB they think crossover/suv. SAAB won't be back in the game till' a new 9-3 comes out. Oh and while they are at it can they go back to calling it the 900 and 9000? I like that better!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JonL. I agree that it is understated and tasteful - something that is all too uncommon in the SUV/Crossover segment. There is no doubt about that. I like Saab (even after owning couple). I, for one, will be happy when car bling (chrome) goes back out of style.

        The 9-4 definitely incorporates Saab's design language successfully, but I think that my problem with it derives from the fact that when I saw it in person, I couldn't help but think of a re-skinned Chevy Equinox. Don't misunderstand. I think that the Equinox is a nice looking crossover, but the two just weren't dissimilar enough when viewed in person. I didn't see them side-by-side, but I couldn't help but think of the Equinox when I saw the 9-4. Let's hope that Saab has done it's magic with the chassis tuning and the interior (I never looked inside) to justify the $12-15k (or so) premium that the Saab will demand.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does this look like the new Ford explorer to anyone else?
        • 3 Years Ago
        I see what you mean, but I also feel it's worth pointing out that the concept (and possibly production version) for this car was actually released quite a while before the new Explorer hit the scene. Thus, it'd make more sense to say the new Explorer looks like the 9-4x.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I honestly dont see it, i mean, if you mean its a unibody based softroader i suppose.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hope Saab will survive and thrive.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bring back Seinfeld for more product placement.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't doubt that they'll hit their sales target, if not exceed it. Just look at all the new models coming to Geneva. Heck, they've even got a concept lined up that should remind people what makes Saabs so unique and different. Check out their Geneva premieres: http://www.premiere-mondiale.ch/

      Saabs are a very compelling value, and with continued advertising and more new models on the road, sales increases will happen naturally. You get BMW performance, better economy, turbo power, all in a sleek Scandinavian design that costs 10-20% less than German rivals final sale prices. Instead of being like everyone else on the road, by driving a Saab you stand out from the pack. I find it interesting that Audi with their A7, Porsche with the Panamera, BMW with the 5 GT, Mercedes with their CLS Shooting Brake, etc. are all embracing hatchbacks, something that Saab knows better than anyone. Once that comes back on the new 9-3, I think sales should really take off.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If only GMS could still be used on this sexy beast of a [S]aab[RX]
      • 3 Years Ago
      Between the 9-4X, 9-5, and 9-3, Saab has some of the best looking cars out there.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I don't care if I get downrated, I just wanted to point out how the Saab apologists have run through the comments already.

        "Saab has some of the best looking cars out there." - And they get three stars? Some of the best looking cars? Yeah... Okay.

        • 3 Years Ago
        Well, I'll say this... this 9-4X LOOKS like a "Saab". Which is an instant improvement over the crap that they tried to pass off as a real Saab (9-7X)
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Leo - Um, clearly you've never given SAAB a chance. The cars seem pricey, but you get great incentives and rebates, and they are well built. They perform pretty well, too, especially the Aero and Turbo models.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looks like a Ford Explorer, Chevy Equinox?

      I reckon neither; it looks more similar to the older gen Mitsu Outlanders.

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f4/1st-Mitsubishi-Outlander.jpg
        • 3 Years Ago
        Well, they do both have four wheels and five doors...
      • 3 Years Ago
      As long as we keep seeing some of those Hirsch tuned models.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Where do I start on this one? Saab's brand is rusted and it’s going to take more than re-badged GM products to save it. With less than 4% loyalty even former buyers of Saab's have walked away. With no advertising, no demand, Muller's 15 minutes of fame is closing in on complete failure.
        • 3 Years Ago
        :O

        I assure you Victor Muller understands SAAB and once this and the new 9-3 start selling, SAAB will be much better off. I know where you got the 4%, but I think it's wrong. Just go to saabsunited.
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