IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Who will sell the electric Saab cars?

Yesterday Saab got new owners and from now on Saab is an electric car company. I have earlier asked how on earth Saab in the short run can manage to sell enough electric cars to turn a profit. And when the profits fail to appear, do the new owers have deep enough pockets to keep Saab alive? Now I ask who is gonna sell these cars?

Yesterday NEVS revealed that their first car, an electrified Saab 9-3, will be launched at the turn of the year 2013. That means 18 months from now. Around mid-summer 2014, NEVS expects the production at Saab to reach a considerable volume. And in the long run, the production should reach maximum capacity, which means 150,000 - 200,000 cars each year.

The main market for Saab electric vehicles will be China. China is the world's most-populous country and the world's biggest market for cars. It is also the world's third biggest country in square kilometers. And in this enourmous country, Saab has currently no presence and is a totally unknown brand. In order to make it big in China, Saab will need a well functioning distribution network and lots of dealers. And Saab needs time and lots of money to increase the brand awareness. So just who will be Saab's partner in China? Without a powerful partner, Saab does not stand a chance.

What about the US and Europe? Here Saab had a well functioning distribution network based on hundreds of dealers. Some which had been with Saab since the 50s or 60s. But this network has slowly been crumbing away for the last 2-3 years. How much of it will be left when Saab's first electric car will be launched at the turn of 2013? And do the dealers really see a future in selling only one electric Saab car each week when they used to sell one turbo Saab each day?

For now I will only ask these questions and will not try to give any answers. Mostly because I have no idea what the answers are, but also because today is only the day after NEVS bought Saab and I should probably give NEVS some time to address these issues.

But as you probably understand, I am very sceptical to NEVS and its plans for Saab. But I am open to be convinced that this is the best option for a continued Life with Saab.