The auto industry has quite a few laws. One of them is that the less vehicles frequent a brand workshop, the older the car gets. With increasing age, the preference for independent workshops and the tendency to have maintenance carried out as cheaply as possible increases. If this apparent law also applies to Saab, it would not look good for the workshops.
Last week our survey asked two questions about Saab and the workshops. Do customers wait longer for an appointment in summer? Is Saab driving becoming a seasonal business? And what about the loyalty to the branded workshops?
The other question: Do the Saab drivers prefer bases with the Saab logo, or are they increasingly drawn to ATU and colleagues?
This question was particularly interesting. We had a similar survey in 2019 and wanted to see how the focus has changed within 2 years. The result is surprising. The laws of the auto industry don't seem to apply to Saab. Contrary to the prevailing trend that brand workshops are avoided with increasing age of vehicles, these are increasing significantly in the new survey.
Results workshop survey 2019
Saab service, chain or free workshop?
- Saab / Orio partner (43% 298 Votes)
- Free workshop (with Saab background) (25% 173 Votes)
- I'm screwing myself (19% 132 Votes)
- Free workshop (11% 79 Votes)
- Workshop chain (Bosch service etc ...) (1% 6 Votes)
Total Voters: 688
More than every second participant advocates the traditional Saab service operation. Two years ago it was just 43%. It is also interesting that the free ones can gain. More than one in three trusts in them and the large workshop chains also win.
The losers are the do-it-yourself screwdrivers, of which there are significantly fewer. Also interesting: The Saab values differ from the general ones data considerably.
How can you interpret the result? The situation is not entirely clear. There is no more active marketing. Ten years ago, every Saab driver received mail from their brand once or twice a year. With the end of Saab Automobile AB, the spare parts subsidiary took over the concept and successfully continued it. Their successor organization did the same, until at some point the activities became invisible in the fog of Swedish forests.
If you still get Saab Post today, then it is solely on the initiative of the workshop. A fact that actually speaks against the result of the survey. Because the workshops stand alone with their activities, without a tailwind. Active marketing is almost non-existent.
Saab workshop survey 2021
Saab partner, independent workshop, screw it yourself
- I primarily trust an authorized Saab (Orio) partner (52% 342 Votes)
- A free workshop takes care of my Saab (36% 236 Votes)
- I do almost everything myself on my Saab (8% 55 Votes)
- A workshop chain (Bosch, ATU) takes care of it (4% 26 Votes)
- A Saab is robust and does not need any maintenance (0% 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 661
But there are many reasons for the surprising result. There is the minority effect that drives Saab drivers to where they feel they are in good hands. If the workshop foreman or the owner also drives Saab, then this workshop is preferred to a car dealership whose employees are on the road with other brands.
Competence counts, because fewer and fewer Saab are on the go. The status as exotic is now given. Not every workshop is happy when a Saab rolls into their yard. It is all the more gratifying that there are competent contacts. Saab drivers honor this.
Only at first glance is the fact that the number of self-screwdrivers has decreased astonishing. But: The time of the very cheap vehicles is over, the mechanic scene is now concentrating on the classics. This naturally shrinks the proportion of those who only used a Saab as a cheap means of transport.
In addition, the prices for well-maintained, high-performance vehicles are constantly rising. Demand meets very little supply. People who choose a Saab under these circumstances are very conscious of them. And they value originality in service and spare parts.
Whether the Saab workshops can maintain their high level of popularity over the next few years depends on the quality of the service and the availability of spare parts. Procuring them requires ever greater commitment.
Saab as a seasonal business
It will also be important to continue to be able to offer customers timely appointments. Especially in the seasonal business, which Saab is increasingly developing into, this is a challenge for mostly small businesses. The survey shows that almost every second person had to wait longer for an appointment in the summer half of the year.
Seasonal goods - are there long waiting times for a workshop appointment in summer?
- No, that has never happened before (53% 245 Votes)
- Yes, I've seen that before (47% 219 Votes)
Total Voters: 464
Waiting times can cause displeasure. Since the workshops cannot expand their capacities at will, empathy and explanation are required. A balancing act for some workshops, but given the loyalty of Saab fans, it shouldn't be a problem to take this hurdle as well.