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Saab sales spur

Sales lift: Saab hopes a 12-month payment holiday on a 9-5 lease will spur sales.

Saab offers drive free for a year on its 9-5 in a bid to lift its depressing sales volume

Saab logo10 Jul 2000


SAAB is attempting to move old stock and kickstart sales by offering 9-5 buyers 12 months in the car before making a payment.

The offer relates only to new 1999 model 2.0-litre and S 9-5 sedans and estates and SE sedans, bought under commercial hire purchase through General Motors' finance arm, GMACA.

Saab hopes to move between 150 and 200 9-5s during the 90-day duration of the offer, which started on July 1.

The deal is based on a 60-month contract and a 45 per cent final payment at the end of the term.

Glass's Guide estimates residual value of the 9-5 at 47 per cent after 60 months. After 48 months Glass's estimates the residual at 55 per cent.

Saab headquarters in Sweden, Saab Australia and its dealer body are absorbing the cost of the first 12 payments.

It is the second time this year the factory has supported an Australian pricing initiative, also backing the "Fast Start" 2000 program announced last December.

This latest co-operation is further indication of the factory's desire to rectify the depressing sales situation in Australia.

The financial investment from Sweden would also make it easier to push through an Australian dealer network restructure that headquarters is weighing up.

Another indicator of the factory's influence is that the essentially go-it-alone advertising policy which was in place under former managing director Bob Maron, has now been discarded in favour of the worldwide "Saab vs" campaign.

The 9-3 is not included in the deal. Other marketing initiatives related specifically to that range will be revealed this month.

Saab sales have been on a steady decline over the past three years and have been hit by the pre-GST slowdown this year.

This cut prestige sector sales 13.6 per cent in the first half of the year. The luxury sector dropped 8.1 per cent in the same period, according to VFACTS.

Saab sold 1118 cars in Australia in the first six months of 2000, compared to 1536 in the same period in 1999.

That was despite the 10 per cent 'Fast Start' 2000 saving on 9-5.

This promotion ended with the introduction of GST pricing and it actually meant the price of the 9-5 range went up from July 1, despite a drop in the recommended retail price of between 4.6 and 6.7 per cent.

However, 9-5 buyers willing to pay up-front will still be able to take advantage of 'Fast Start' pricing.

Saab national public relations manager Paul Ellis said the finance deal aimed at kick-start post-July 1 buyer interest. "We didn't want to do anything that could be interpreted as a distress sale," he said.

"But it's no good sitting back expecting it (sales) to jump from July 1.

"Certainly, inquiries are significantly up since July 1 but people are easing back into the market slowly."New managing director Tony Jennett joins Saab Australia on July 11.

Saab will launch the more powerful 5-door 9-3 Viggen in August and is expected to reveal more limited edition models before the end of the year.

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