Last year, Saab sold just 31,696 cars globally as a result of low demand and the restructuring of the brand’s supplier base. The Swedish carmaker had to cut its sales estimates from 45,000 to 30,000-35,000 vehicles, but with fourth quarter figures up 129% compared to 2009, Victor Mullen says Saab “is firmly establishing itself as an independent car manufacturer”.
A total of 11,448 cars were shifted across the world in the fourth quarter, up 129 percent compared with the same period in 2009 and 31 percent over the third quarter of 2010. New models are expected to change the Saab’s brand image, with the 9-4X crossover, set to debut in May, being especially key to Saab's future sales success. The 9-4X will be followed by the aging 9-3, due for replacement in 2012.
The 9-4X will compete with Audi's Q5 and BMW's X3 and X5 models, while also expanding the brand's product line beyond large sedans. The company is hoping it will do especially well in Noth America and in China.
"One of the largest challenges in 2010 was to restock our dealers around the world to normal levels again, especially in a market like the United States, where you need dealer stock in order to be able to sell cars. For instance, when we acquired the company, there were a mere 500 cars left on the ground in the United States. Normal inventory levels in this market should be at 6,000-7,000 units,” Muller explains in a statement on Wednesday.