Saab ‘heading for record year’

Saab Automobiles is heading for a record year, the company's CEO has said as he announced a 3 percent rise for sales in August.

The General Motors-owned Swedish carmaker saw sales for the year so far increase 6.3 percent. On the American market, sales have increased 16 percent in August, selling 3,159 more cars than in August 2005.

Jan Åke Jonsson said that a wider model range with a greater choice of engines was behind the sales growth.

“This year so far we are behind in the US by 5,800 cars compared to last year, but the comparison is misleading as GM introduced big price reductions last June and July, meaning we sold an unusually large number of cars then,” said company spokesman Christer Nilsson.

He said that the sales fall should be reversed in the autumn, leading to last year’s full-year figures in the US being matched or even beaten.

Sales in Europe during the first eight months were up 10,794 to 59, 304, an increase of 22 percent. Sales in Sweden of ethanol-powered 9-5 models are being maintained thanks to the introduction of a second motor model.

Saab’s best ever year globally was 2000, when Saab sold 132,000 cars. Jonsson said he hopes to be able to beat that figure this year. Saab sold 128,000 cars. After eight months of 2006, the company has sold 89,377.