Re: The *real* advantage of a Saab over a Subaru ... - Saab General Bulletin Board - Saabnet.com
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Re: The *real* advantage of a Saab over a Subaru ...
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Posted by Justin VanAbrahams [Email] (#32) [Profile/Gallery] (more from Justin VanAbrahams) on Thu, 7 Apr 2011 10:42:44 Share Post by Email
In Reply to: The *real* advantage of a Saab over a Subaru ..., dmz789qqq, Wed, 6 Apr 2011 21:56:29
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You may believe that, and I may believe that, but telling the average car buyer "AWD is a waste" will be met with supreme skepticism 100% of the time. People believe what the marketing guys tell them, and the common wisdom right now is that AWD is what you need to be safe. Just look at the marketplace - virtually every non-econobox is offered with AWD.

Saab - for many possible reasons - has dragged its feet FOREVER on technology that they intellectually know isn't important, but the market believe is. Sticking with FWD, not offering V6 power, giving people big torque but not big HP when people were shopping for big HP. The list is LARGE. There is nothing wrong with sticking to your guns, but you can't make the car buying public believe you are doing the right thing when EVERYONE else is doing something else. You will get sideways looks and unsold inventory.

People tend to equate Saab with Subaru - the quirky brands of their respective regions, but the truth is Saab and Honda are identical, engineering-driven companies. Honda eschewed V6s and V8s FOREVER. They still don't make a V8! They ignored the truck segment and the crossover segment and let Toyota establish strong leads in both. Their list goes on too, and right now they are losing market share every single second, Nissan is taking their lunch money.

Having a strong engineering core is critical, but ignoring consumer demands (or improperly addressing them!) is death. IMHO, Saab has a pretty good brand identity, one that can truly be used. That brand identity suffers a little from "unrelable," but right now suffers most from "uncertain future." It positively does not encompass "high end luxury vehicle," and IMHO those three combined send a clear message - don't try to part the consumer from $50,000. It isn't going to work. :)

It may be an impossible task, but Saab needs to address value-driven consumers - people who want a little bit more from a little bit less, people who are willing to make certain compromises to get the job done, and to that end people who are willing to entertain doing things a little differently. I think Saab has a strong image of safety, and with Volvo in the hands of the Chinese, they have an opportunity to claim the safety crown. I'm telling you, a Saab Mazda 5 and a Saab FT86 would sell, powered by an Ecotec 4 cylinder. Is there enough margin in that? No idea. :)



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