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Monday, March 21, 2011

Saab Slovakia dealership - such a shame

I am a member of an unofficial Saab club here in Slovakia and heard many bad things about the local dealership. I didn't believed my ears at the start because many people tend to see things more black than they really are. So I decided to play a prospect - a potential customer which plans to buy a car, considers Saab as well and makes an initial search on the web.

OK let's go to Let's say I am interested in a 9-3 SportCombi because I've seen it on the road and liked it. I have no clue about engines, fuel consumtion, what Griffin is etc. Besides press releases there are the standard cars and menus.

The technical part is nicely written. The pricelist is standard pdf which for some reason cannot be opened in a separate tab in browser. This is annoying, because I'd like to see more pricelists at once to compare. But OK the pricelist says exactly what which level contains + options + sets. Not exactly what I've expected (to have 3-4 pricelists opened in browser), but fine.

Now, I am a bit dumb and want to configure it by myself. Click. The message says : The configurator valid for Slovakia is under construction. Please go to the international configurator. OK. I configure a car and than at the end it says - to view prices, visit the website of your country. So basically the configurator is waste of money, it doesn't give me a price. And by the way, the "under construction" is a lie. It doesn't work for several months. Saab is 1 year independent.

An average user stays on a website between 2 and 3 minutes and than leaves. Including purchase decisions. I've spent with this around 15. Hm.

I want to give it another chance and see the Saabs live. I dont know where the dealership is, so I click on "contact" on and get a hungarian adress in Budapest. What ? I am in Bratislava, Slovakia, not in Budapest, Hungary and not interested in the corporate structure. I have to do several more clicks, to find the right adress hidden under "Services".

An average customer would stop at this point and think that the nearest Saab dealership is in Budapest, which is in my case 220 km away and in a foreign country. Import costs money and causes problems with leasing companies. Saab would probably loose a deal.

But I sit properlz dressed in my 2.8T Aero Cabrio and drive to the dealer and go inside. A guy approaches me and asks if he can help. My answer : "I like Saabs and consider a purchase of a 9-3 and would like to see the new 9-5 as well, may I take a look ?". "Sure...", he answers and walks away. Wait ... walks away ? A good salesrep would stay, asks questions, invites me to sit inside, open the boot and hood, offer me catalogue, pricing and a test drive. So I take a look and walk away as well. He didn't do anything to try to sell me a car or at least to leave a good impression, which might be important in the near future. Does he expect I will buy from him a 30-60.000€ car because his blue eyes ?

As a customer I would never come back, as a fan my patience is at the end, but I still like Saab, therefore I am writing this blog entry in a hope someone responsible reads it.

Business result of this : only 4 cars sold in January and February 2011 and marketshare 0.05% in Slovakia. Wow. Do they do something against ? Yes, they waste marketing budget on billboards.

Such a shame :(

Some more fails :

Click on this link - these are used cars. It says 9-5 Aero with 120.000km for 100.000€. LOL. If you click for the car specs you see 100.000 Ft - hungarian forint, which is ~368€. No comment.

The local dealership has built also an official fan club - Saab Club Slovakia. A website like from mid 90-ies and the only relevant content comes from a partner - the czech unofficial Saab fan site (which is a cool site). They do not write anything on their own. They do nothing. But they have a president and two vicepresidents. It's more than a shame, it's stupid.

My reality :
In my career I've been in couple of executive roles where my voice was important in creating company car policy, I approved purchases, signed the purchase orders and invoices. After this experience and as a non-fan I would never approve a Saab. Even as a fan I would stop and rethink mz decisions. I might get another job position soon and will need a company car. Should I buy Saab ? Maybe yes, but never from these guys.


  1. My experience was even worse - I was expelled from the parking place in front of the Saab showroom with the words: "You are not allowed to park you motorcycle here!" while I wanted to have a look at a Saab 9-3 on display. I even have not walked in, the guys will not see me again for sure.

  2. Uff, here in Bratislava, Petrzalka ? Another example of customer care here. As a Saab fan who would like to see Saab survive the current things, it makes me very sad :(

  3. That is USUAL in dealership MaH Bratislava and it is shame...

  4. This is really a shame. simillar stuff is happening in Northern Ireland as well. Maybe saab should look closer at its dealerships as the primary contact to customers ?

  5. Seem's to be a private group ... So it does happend :)

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