Experts believe that for Volvo Car Corp. and Saab Automobile AB to succeed at increasing sales, they have to offer distinctive designs that come with the right prices to steal sales from luxury brands (including BMW AG and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz).
Brian Johnson, an automotive analyst at Barclays Capital in Chicago, said that the companies will have a difficult time of moving up as they have to “get something that's uniquely Scandinavian in design, as opposed to being ‘me-too' German.
”Saab and Volvo, which have had losses year-after-year under General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., would have to compete in the luxury segment in the US in order to restore profitability.
Volvo considers the US to be its largest market. Meanwhile, this market was Saab's biggest up until last year. Volvo’s deliveries in the US dropped by 12% in the first eight months of the year because its offerings such as the S40 sedan didn’t attract the buyers it had aimed for.
Meanwhile, Saab's US deliveries fell by 86% as consumers waited for the new 9-5, its first new model in eight years. On the other hand, both BMW and Mercedes reported gains.
The new owners of these Swedish brands are currently planning new models, which actually takes years to build. While that is going on, they aim to create some buzz through their displays at the Paris show.
Volvo will debut its new V60 station wagon, while Saab will display a prototype of its first electric car. User trials will start for a test fleet of the Saab 9-3 ePower, an all-electric version of the 9-3 SportCombi, in Sweden next year. [via autonews - sub. required]