Dealer Ray Ciccolo, owner of the oldest Saab store in the country, is not giving up on the defunct brand just yet.
Ciccolo is expanding his Saab service and parts operations at a time when most Saab dealers are winding down theirs.
"If a customer trades in a Saab, someone else is going to buy it and they'll need service," says Ciccolo, president of Village Automotive Group in Boston. "So that's our goal: We're going to be the go-to Saab dealership for the Northeast."
Specifically, Ciccolo wants to be the largest Saab service and parts operator in his region and he is spending about $100,000 to do so. He is buying as many Saab parts as he can. He has consolidated his Saab parts warehouse and service center near his Volvo store in Boston to cut costs.
Ciccolo will hire two additional Saab service technicians. He will launch a direct-mail marketing campaign to Saab owners in eastern Massachusetts this month.
Finally, Ciccolo wants to buy as many of the 900 new and demonstration Saabs as he can when the Swedish automaker auctions them to dealers in the next 30 days, he says.
Ciccolo, who owns 10 stores that sell nine brands including Saab, foresees potential profits from Saab despite the brand's demise.
"Dealers aren't doing anything with the brand and so their customers are going to look to go someplace that's expanding to get good service," Ciccolo says. "I see at least three years of good business."
Saab stopped production and entered bankruptcy court last year. Last month, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, a company with Japanese, Swedish and Chinese investors, bought the automaker. The company plans to make electric vehicles, according to its Web site.