New Ad On Youtube

Hope you like this new cartoon ad we’ve put together on Youtube, a little tongue and cheek humor.

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Just Auto Article On The Swedish Government

This is a re-post on a post I did on Saabs United.

For a long time now we have all heard or thought to ourselves that the Swedish Government should have or could have done more to help save Saab. Being in North America and watching what the North American manufacturer’s went through with bailouts and how committed the Government’s in Canada and the USA were to ensuring the continued manufacturing and support of jobs, it’s always puzzled me how the Swedish government seemed to not even recognize what the impact of lost jobs could have. Now one of the editor’s at Just Auto, Simon Warburton has done a good job of covering this with key people involved. Below is some of the highlights of their article.

One view rapidly gaining ground in Sweden is the government could have done more – a lot more – to come to the rescue of bankrupt Saab.

At the end of the day argue the critics, Sweden has lost an icon that is instantly recognisable around the world, with a resulting flight of manufacturing competence out of the country that will be increasingly hard to replace.

I would even add to the above that it would be more than increasingly hard to be replaced, for Sweden, I would say it would be impossible to replace.

But in an auto environment increasingly suffering from chronic over-capacity, does artificially or otherwise trying to keep a failing brand afloat make any sense?

I’ve been in Sweden this week taking the auto temperature, talking to suppliers and politicians, as well as visiting Saab’s windswept and empty plant in Trollhattan. The very firm view expressed to me was that it most definitely did make sense to have done more to save Saab.

Remember that this is not one of us at SaabsUnited saying that it makes sense to have done more to save Saab, this is an independent view of ours and for me it is nice to see a source other then myself seeing it this way.

“The [Swedish] government could have done a lot more then they have,” Trollhattan mayor Paul Akerlund told me in his office.

“When the crisis started in 2008, there was a crisis everywhere in the whole world. Every government tried to find a solution to help their car industries, but our government does not do that.

“They have a very, very strange position. For example [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel is not a social democrat and neither is [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy, [while] the US – the biggest capitalist country in the world helps its car industries.”

Just how big of a problem is all this? Mr. Warburton digs deeper into the jobless rate and impact on the area when speaking to the Swedish unions. To think that the number of qualified worker’s in the auto sector that are unemployed is just unbelievable.

Indeed, Swedish unions tell me of a jobless rate approaching 25%, while workers in Trollhattan related just how hard hard the town has been by Saab’s collapse. Take this from one restaurant-goer in the centre who, when I asked him if he knew people who had been made redundant, he replied: “Just go outside and pick anyone.”

That one line there “just go outside and pick anyone”, that hits pretty hard. I don’t think many of us can imagine or even comprehend what that would be like or feel like. If you look at your home town and think that it’s main industry shuts down and just how badly it hurts everything around it. I personally can’t imagine because where I am we don’t rely so heavily on any one industry. From what I understand of the area, you have shop owners who are struggling to keep their business because people aren’t buying and it goes so much deeper to even daycare providers who have no kids to care for because the families they were caring for are now out of work.

There is obviously substantial fall-out from any bankruptcy but in town the size of Trollhattan and in a country the size of Sweden – population wise – 10,000 newly-redundant workers is an enormous figure.

10,000 newly-redundant workers? In a town the size of Trollhattan, with a population last recorded in 2010 of 55,027 people, everyone knows someone affected. That’s almost 20% of the entire city being out of work. Look up population records for small towns around you and you will be surprised at how a 20% unemployment rate could cripple such a town.

The Swedish government argues it underwrote a huge Saab loan made by the European Investment Bank of EUR400m (US$527m), but this is met by short shrift by Scandinavian supplier body FKG, whose managing director, Fredrik Sidahl, I met in his Gothenburg offices this week.

“The [loan] guarantee – what is the risk?” he told me, adding pithily: “The [Swedish] government did not understand the value of Saab beyond Saab as a company. They [government] are restricted by rules, but they could have interpreted the European rules in a more positive way.”

Intervention is a highly-emotive word – especially when taxpayers’ money is involved. But could the Swedish government have done more, should they have done more to help stricken Saab?

There is a rising tide of opinion they absolutely should have done a lot more.

I think he sums things up quite well and I fully agree that they should have done a lot more and it’s never to late to do something. I tire of governments trying to make it look like they are only doing what they can or are doing everything in their powers when to me it appears they are doing nothing.

The full article from can be found here at Just Auto, it is a subscription site so you may need to register to read it all.

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New or Used – You Decide

One of my posts from Saabs United.

This post is more of something to ponder. When looking at new or used cars, where is the better value? Typically I would answer this question with no hesitation that used is better value because the cars depreciation is the worst in the beginning and the used car has already been through the worst of the depreciation. The big thing that kills this notion is the incredible pricing that dealers are offering on new Saab’s right now. I don’t see these prices as something that excites me from the side of a new car dealer as the prices are coming from dealers losing money on every one of these cars to move old inventory, but from the side of the retail customer it is fantastic as you get a lot of car for relatively little money.

Comparing a used Saab to a new Saab, recently I have seen 2008 Saab 9-3’s on dealer lots in Canada for as much as $22000 with low millage on them. Now compare that to a brand new base model Saab 9-3 with 6spd transmission for as low as $27265. Where do you see the better value? I see it in the new because rather 20-30000kms on the engine, there are virtually 0kms. Now some will say “yes but there is no warranty”, true but a lot of the 2008 models are or just about out of their warranties as well and if warranty is a big enough issue for you, buy an extended warranty. Even if an extended warranty for 4yrs would cost you say $2000, you are still under $30,000 for a brand new Saab and pretty much a new car warranty.

Now look at other manufacturer’s cars available at or above the starting price of the 9-3 deals out there. You have Kia Optima EX luxury is $32,050.00 and yes it’s an automatic but still a Kia, Chevy Malibu LT starts at $27,970.00 again with an automatic but is also one of the quickest depreciating cars out there. Recently we had a customer come in from a Kia store and buy a 9-3 sport combi because it was a couple grand more than the Kia Forte he had been looking at and he couldn’t justify passing on a Saab as he had a 9-3 convertible as his second car.

The odd thing is that most dealers have had no problem moving used Saabs as they are a desirable used car, but have found it hard to sell the new cars in stock. With pricing of the new Saab cars falling in line with 2 year old used car prices now, it should be clear to anyone to look at new when it comes to Saab before you look at the used. This is definitely the right time for you to be buying if Saab is what you are looking for and there are plenty of dealers out there that are ready and willing to get you into the car you dream about.

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What Goes Into A Trade In

Another of my posts from Saabs United.

While we are in the midst of a quite weekend with not much being said about what is happening with Saab, now seems to be a good time to bring up trade-ins or used cars. I’ve written a little about the safety of Saab’s and the exceptional value of a used Saab and to add to those two, I think it’s best we know a little about what goes into those traded in Saab’s and why I feel there is great value in used Saab’s.

Firstly, when a customer is looking to buy a new or used car and asks the age old question “do you take trade in’s?”, the process of a trade evaluation is started. At our dealership this generally happens after a customer has driven one of our cars and is now sitting with the sales consultant. The salesperson fills out a trade evaluation form and brings it to me. I then take the vehicle for a 10 minute drive to check the transmission and to see that everything electrical is working, like the window regulators and air conditioning.

Upon arrival back to the dealership, I would put the vehicle up on a hoist to check for leaks, tire wear and damage. You can learn a lot about a vehicle from underneath. Some vehicles are notorious for steering rack problems and by looking for this before presenting a trade value ensures the customer isn’t losing value because we aren’t worried about it now. A steering rack on some cars could change the value of a trade by $1300. A lot of dealers won’t take this step as it’s time consuming, but it is good for the customer as we will have a more realistic idea of what we will need to spend on the vehicle to put it on our lot, thus not costing them on a maybe problem. This can help the customer to not get the “low ball” trade offer because we know approximately what will be needed to fix the car. Having spent the time to put it up on the hoist and looked over the vehicle with one of our mechanics, leaves very little surprises. In my mind, this also gives credibility to the dealer, as we have taken the time to actually know what we are talking about and not just giving lip service. At this point, the customer is presented with their trade value and makes a well informed decision to either trade or not.

Now a vehicle is traded in. The next step in the process is to have a safety inspection done by one of the mechanics. We put our vehicles through a 150+ point inspection and fix anything needing repairs. This can take up to two days to complete as the sales department cars come second to customer cars, as they should and sometimes parts for off make vehicles will have to come in over night. Once the safety inspection and service work is complete the vehicle goes to the body shop if any body work is needed. You have to remember that just because someone buys a used car, doesn’t mean they want it to look like a used car. If a bumper has been smacked up or there are scratches in paint, we try to make our used cars shine like a new car. Depending on the condition of the car traded in, the body shop could take a day or two or it could take a week. The next step is the detail department.

Now the vehicle has reached the final step of reconditioning and is in the detail department. We are fortunate where I work to have our own detailers, this way we have control over the finished product and can clean a car up the way that makes people come back to us over and over again. Our detailers as you can see from the attached photo, bring the car back to showroom clean. If carpets are soiled, they will remove the seats to give the rugs a really good cleaning. When a car leaves our detail shop, it is our expectation that it will look as nice and clean as any of the new Saab’s on our lot.

From start to finish, a vehicle that gets traded in takes about a week to hit the front line of the dealership lot and be available for sale. The time and care that goes into getting the vehicle lot ready is part of why I think there is tremandous value in purchasing a pre-owned Saab from any dealer.

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What Makes A Saab Driver Become A Saab Driver?

One of my earlier posts for Saabs United.

As I drove to work this morning, I was thinking of the cars around me and thinking “what drives someone to buy this or that?” and it brought my mind back to Saab. Is it the little features or is it something all together different? I was stuck behind a newer Mustang at one point and what caught my eye was the rear turn signal lights and how they flash across three lights. To me this was a pretty cool look that was different from the regular flash of a turn signal and reminded me of the old Night Rider “Kit” car. Not enough to drive me to buy a Mustang, but clearly something that someone put some thought in to. Yesterday on SaabsUnited there was discussion about the 9-5 Aero steering wheel and some like it and some do not, but this is a feature that once you use it, you can tell right away that it is not just a “quirky” Saab thing and in my opinion should be used for all cars as it really makes driving more pleasurable.

This brings me to my point or rather my question to you, the Saab public, the people who have put their money out and purchased a Saab. I don’t care if your car is brand new or 10 years old or even older, what I want to know is what brought you to the Saab brand and has turned you into a Saab driver? I always hear of quirky this and that and to be honest, I don’t really like quirkiness being the explanation for what a Saab is because I don’t think it does justice to what a Saab is. Saab is a drivers car and I think it would be great to hear from Saab owners as to what made Saab the car for you.

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