Saab looking to set up chauffeur programme
A chauffeur programme is high on Saab’s wish list. The Swedish carmaker, which recently split from by GM following a takeover by Dutch supercar-maker Spyker Cars, has recently launched its new 9-5 executive saloon.
“Clearly we have a big programme on our hands at the moment with the launch of a new car and new owners, but I really think Saab ought to be involved in a chauffeur programme within the next two years,” said Simon Rosenthal, corporate sales manager for Saab City London.
David Pugh, marketing director for Saab GB, concurred. “We recognise that the 9-5 is a good fit for that particular sector,” he said. “We haven’t yet decided how we will address the market, but we have the option of doing stand-alone deals for chauffeurs.”
Previously Saab fleet sales had been completely integrated with GM. “Now we’re setting up our much smaller stand-alone corporate sales team headed up by Paul Adler. The corporate sales team will be responsible for sales going forward, We’re not going to go after the big fleet deals – so what we’ll do is work with the leasing companies to get the car positioned in the market.”
Currently Saab was advertising on its website a Saab 9-5 Vector SE 2.0 TiD for £349 a month on a contract hire agreement over a three-year/30,000 mile lease; and the same car on Personal Contract Hire for £376 a month inclusive of VAT – again over the same terms. However, Rosenthal said Saab was able to write agreements over higher mileages to meet the demands of chauffeur and executive hire car drivers while still maintaining competitive lease rates.
Rosenthal added: “The 9-5 is the best car we’ve had for a long time, and we’re really working on getting businesses back into Saabs with some very attractive finance deals. The prices have to be good given the issues we’ve had over our ownership status. But now our future is secure under Spyker, we can go forward promoting Saab values again. Next year, we’ll have the estate 9-5, too, which should broaden the appeal.”
The Saab 9-5 has very good rear legroom within its 2,837mm wheelbase, while the boot has a 515-litre capacity; not as good as the Mercedes E-Class’s 540 litres, but comparable to a BMW 5 Series (520 litres).
The 2.0-litre diesel engine delivers either 160PS or 190PS and economy of 53.2mpg or 47.1mpg respectively. Crucially, the CO2 emissions of the TiD engines are below the critical 160g/km tax break ensuring that the cars can be written down at 20% on company accounts.