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New Saab Ads Go Nowhere


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February 16, 2005

New Saab Ads Go Nowhere

David Kiley

Saab Cars USA could well be on its way to being the Peugeot of the 21st century, at least when it comes to the U.S. market. In other words: So irrelevant that there's no point in keeping up the charade of marketing. New ads, featuring the phrase, "Distinctively designed. Independently Inspired," does nothing to convey the allure of this brand.

In one spot, "Lost," which is an apt title, a man is lost in his own office amind a vast cubicle farm. A woman tries on a dress in a store only to find five other women trying on the same dress. Okay, we get it. People who buy Saabs swim against the current, walk to a different drummer, blah, blah, blah. The point is that any brand struggling to find an audience could have shot these same scenes and inserted their brand. Peugeot used to trumpet this same idea in the two years before it exited the U.S. market.

Saab Cars is owned by General Motors. To beef up the Saab product line, GM has added the 9-2, a repackaged version of the Subaru WRX (GM owns a piece of Subaru), and later this year the company will introduce the Saab 9-7 SUV, a repackaged Chevy Trailblazer that apparently comes with a gift certificate for Ikea furniture to lend this truck some Swedish bonafides. A 9-6 SUV, based on Subaru's forthcoming Tribeca SUV is coming in 2006.

It's sad to see Saab go through all these machinations. GM bought into Saab more than a decade ago after Ford bought Jaguar. And it hasn't known what to do with the brand since--except lose money.

Saab is an interesting brand. The cars are fast, sturdy and safe. They have some design character when the Swedes are actually allowed to start with a clean sheet of paper. But like Jaguar, Saab is probably to stay small and niche, like an art film. The trouble is that small and niche doesn't make money for GM. To be fair, it didn't make money for Saab before GM bought the brand.

U.S. sales last year were 38, 159. That's barely enough to justify the stationery costs at GM for carrying it as a division. If Saab is going to be kept afloat by putting its badging on slightly changed Subarus and Chevys...excuse me...but what's the point. And what does this brand stand for now. How "distinctively designed" are these cars if they are re-warmed Subarus and Chevys.

Like Denzel Washington said in the film, Philadelphia, said. "Explain this to me like I was four years old."

03:32 PM

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You truely do not know the story behind the SAAB cars. Your comment above doesn't reflect any knowledge of the JA37 which is named after me, and the cars are named after them. I am not happy with the sellout to GM.

The ads I have seen so far I am not too impressed with, showing the car pass the planes, well I fly them on ms flight sim, (for a story see the text file in the file named ja37pnt.zip on flightsim.com)and at that attitude and speed they won't go that slow and maintain altitude. It's sick and just like GM to FALSLY advertise. When SAAB used the planes in their ads, they didn't falsify or use deceptive photography!

Isn't SATAN the DECEIVER?

Posted by: Jakt Viggen at October 28, 2005 01:48 AM

I own a Saab 900 2.5 SEV6. I love these vehicles. They offer an excellent value. It's the best priced luxury car on the used market. Despite the negative views on the V6, mine is going strong, very strong. Feels very solid and is very reliable. I bought it with 70k and it now has 135K. (Hard NYC Miles and 3 cross country trips under its belt).

I hate that these unique cars are losing their identity at GM. I think General MOtors needs to read "The Immutable Laws Of Branding," where the author exclaims that companies need to keep their brands "INDEPENDENT." Who wants to buy a Caddy, rebadged from a Chevy.

GM should also take a lesson from the book of Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura or Nissan/Infinity. The marques were all budget brands that managed to slip Luxury brands under our noses. Most people don't know, or many forget that these brands are tied. GM on the other hand wants to meld everything together - - This sucks, for lack of a better phrase.

My advice:

1. Bring back distinctive SAAB styling.

2. Do Not Share other brands with this marque.

3. Keep building on the reputation of those proven 4 cyclinder turbos.

4. Offer a V6 for those that like natural aspiration. (Bring in a high output v6 turbo for enthusiast).

5. Develop a hybrid

6. Build on the quirky flair.

7. Market on the reliable attributes

8. Market on the fun to drive nature.

God Bless America, GM, Sweden and SAAB!!

Posted by: Darryl at December 15, 2005 02:49 AM

General Motors owns SAAB?!! ... R.I.P. SAAB

Posted by: Timm at December 17, 2005 07:56 AM

Listen up people. I just had a great experience with my '97 Saab that I just purchased from a local dealership called White Trash Whips. Im tellin you, I drive this car and I'm in bliss man. Me and my dog Poobie were driving along one day and this jerk hits me intentionally and tells me that my dog Poobie, hes my little labrador retriver (8 months yesterday) he tells me that hes ugly. and he speeds away so what i did was i took out my pepper spray and i sprayed him in the eyeballs and he screameed bloody murder. so i sped away without a scratch. Poobie, unfortunately, died two days ago not because of the crash, but because puppy leukemia ate away his organs. great cars.

Posted by: Liam at December 20, 2005 09:48 AM


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