Former Vauxhall fleet marketing and motability manager Paul Adler has taken on the substantial challenge of revitalising Saab’s fleet sales. He takes up the newly created position of head of fleet on May 1.
Replacing Adler at Vauxhall is former Saab operations director Steve Catlin.
Saab has suffered a torrid time in fleet over the past few years. In 2008, it sold 10,755; last year sales fell 77% to 2,495. So far this year, it has endured a 96% slump, selling just 73 units compared to 1,764 in 2009.
Adler’s challenge will be to reverse Saab’s nose-dive without forcing cars into the market via short-term rental contracts. The key target will be corporate business and small fleets via the retail network, with the carmaker pitching itself against the likes of BMW and Audi – although customers are just as likely to bracket it with Volvo.
Saab’s ambitions have always been suppressed by its restricted model line up. Although Saab has now added the 9-3X crossover car to its 9-5 and 9-3 (saloon, convertible and SportWagon estate) ranges, the company will struggle to get on choice lists with larger companies who are looking to restrict options to a handful of manufacturers that can offer a wide spread of models. Its best chance of success, therefore, is with smaller fleets and user-chooser fleets.
In contrast to Alder’s challenges at Saab, Catlin re-joins Vauxhall shortly after the brand was named Fleet Manufacturer of the Year at the Fleet News Awards. Year-to-date the carmaker has sold 67,072 cars to fleets, up 3.23% on the corresponding period last year.
Catlin re-joins Vauxhall after an 18-month spell as operations director at Saab. He said his first priority would be to get out into the fleet sector meeting Vauxhall’s corporate customers.
“This will give me the insight into where we can continue to improve and stay ahead of the competition,” he told Fleet News. “My role is about understanding and meeting customers’ demands and promoting our environmental strategy with eco power and the focus on CO2 emissions.”
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