Saab no longer is the orphan of General Motors' brand lineup.
On Monday, Feb. 2, 140 attendees at Saab's make meeting heard about three new vehicles that promise to increase sales.
The 9-2X comes midyear, and the 9-7X SUV is due in the first quarter of next year. A hatchback version of the 9-3 debuts in 20 months, said Chris Cerrina, owner of Parkfield Motors in Bergenfield, N.J.
"The promise of new product is most encouraging to dealers," he said. "We've gone so long without new product, and all of a sudden there is a barrage."
The Saab 9-2X is based on the Su-baru Impreza WRX, and the 9-7X is based on the Chevrolet TrailBlazer.
The all-wheel-drive car will win younger buyers for Saab, Cerrina predicted. He said that the children of Saab owners will want one.
Dealers continue to support marketing and retail programs, Cerrina said. "There has been huge advertising spending, and it has really driven traffic for us," he said.
Since Saab started its "State of Independence" campaign a year ago, showroom traffic has increased 19 percent, said Debra Kelly-Ennis, president of Saab Cars USA Inc.
With some momentum from its marketing campaign, Saab aims to sell 50,000 units this year, slightly more than last year's sales of 47,914 cars in the United States.
Dealers were pleased to hear that the 9-2X and the 9-7X will be equipped with awd, which current Saabs don't have.
The 9-3 hatchback wasn't included in Saab's lineup when the car was replaced in 2002. Hatchbacks have been more popular in Europe than the United States. But now the body style is making a modest comeback here.
The hatchback was shown in concept form at both the Frankfurt and Detroit auto shows.