2011 Saab 9-5Enlarge Photo
For years they've had the on-again off-again joy and tragedy each time the ailing carmaker has closed, and then been bailed out. With Saab finally gone (...or is it?...), dealerships around the world are burning photographs and throwing out their old CDs.
Well, slashing prices, offering buyers extra peace of mind and launching an advertising blitz, anyway. That's the tactic taken by Ohio dealer Saab of North Olmsted, according to Automotive News.
Last week, the dealer sold 55 new Saabs, from its stock of 122 cars before Christmas.
It hasn't been easy - dealer president Bernie Moreno has had to chop sticker prices from 25 to 45 percent, and offer a service contract that lasts 60,000 miles, making up for the now defunct Saab warranty.
On December 26, the dealership also spent $100,000 on TV and print advertising. This not only let customers know of the heavy discounts, but reassured them that the sale was genuine. "We wanted to be absolutely transparent as possible and not make it a hokey sale. It really is exactly what it is advertised as, which is a liquidation," explained Moreno.
Strangely, only half of the customers opted to buy the $1,995 service contract, despite the cars being sold "as is", with no warranty. Moreno says those customers will be contacted soon, just to confirm they really want to drive a car from an extinct manufacturer, with no warranty.
12 of the remaining 67 cars will be used as loaner vehicles, ready for customers who return for servicing. Saab may be dead, but Saab of North Olmsted is keen to provide the same levels of service it would to any other buyer.
The on-off relationship may be over, but Saab's ex-dealers can now embark on their new lives. Maybe they'll find true happiness after all...