Saab will add German dealers to reverse sales decline

Ruesselsheim, Germany. Saab will expand its German dealer network to help double its new-car sales in Germany within the next three years.

"We want to achieve 6,200 new registrations this year. And it should be 10,000 units by 2007 -- or 2008 at the latest," said Ulrich Mehling, head of Saab in Germany.

The Swedish automaker's German sales have declined for the past four years. Last year Saab sold 4,985 new cars in Germany, according to the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (the Federal Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Drivers). Mehling, a former sales and marketing manager for Opel, had set a 2004 target of 7,500 unit sales for Saab in Germany.

Saab hopes an expansion of its German dealer network will help boost sales.

"We plan to fill 19 gaps in our network by the end of the year," said Mehling. Currently Saab has 111 main dealers and 45 service partners.

Mehling said Saab was hit by the decline in popularity of four-door sedans.

Mehling believes a marketing campaign for Saab 9-3 convertible starting this month will push sales.

Saab's fleet business should represent about 55 percent of the unit sales this year, just as in 2004, says Mehling.