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04.04.01<P>Saab Cars USA Launches Two New Initiatives to Support the Company's Global Strategy to Be More Market-Driven and Better Serve Customers and Dealers<P>NORCROSS, GA -- Saab Cars USA announces two new initiatives as part of Saab Automobile AB's ongoing global strategy to be more market-driven. The combination of an interactive, full-visibility car administration system (CAS-E) and the opening of a new port on the West Coast are part of an integrated plan to expedite the delivery of product to customers.<P>(Photo: <A HREF="http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010404/ATW017" TARGET=_blank>http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010404/ATW017</A> )<BR>Across the automotive industry, manufacturers are moving towards a pull market dynamic and away from the traditional push mentality. Industry analysts predict that the market infrastructure will be migrated to a predominantly pull strategy by 2004. This paradigm shift will allow customers to design their vehicles, but will require a fundamental change in both buyer and dealer behavior. In 2000, 900,000, about five percent, of the 16 million vehicles sold in the U.S. were built-to-order based on customer specifications.<P>US market adopts Saab's worldwide Car Administration System (CAS-E)<P>The recent introduction of CAS-E into the U.S. market has allowed domestic Saab dealers to take advantage of an improved vehicle order-to-delivery (VOTD) process, previously granted only to dealers in Europe. This system is now used globally.<P>CAS-E is linked directly to the factory production and logistic systems and provides complete visibility of every vehicle and order status in the pipeline. Dealers can search for a car with a specific configuration and make trades at any stage in the process -- from production line to dealer lot. Another benefit is that dealers can change the product configuration up to as little as two days before the start assembly date, as well as add options at the U.S. port.<P>Since the system is linked to the production line, a dealer can receive an estimated arrival date within 20 minutes of placing an order for a new car.<P>``The improved product ordering system will serve as a base for even stronger sales and marketing efforts,'' said Peter Framelius, Director of Vehicle Order to Delivery for Saab Cars. ``Without the ability to build a vehicle that the customer wants and deliver it to the dealership in a timely and reliable manner, even the most viable marketing campaigns can not succeed.''<P>One goal of the new system is to link at least 60 percent of worldwide production directly to customer specifications. Key success factors for reaching this goal include widespread adoption and usage of the system throughout the Saab organization, as well as the responsiveness and accuracy of the CAS-E system itself.<P>Opening of Port Hueneme<P>Another initiative to complement the CAS-E system is the opening of a third port for importing Saabs to the U.S. In addition to two East Coast ports, Brunswick, Georgia and Newark, New Jersey, Saab Cars USA will also now import through a facility at Port Hueneme, California beginning in the second quarter of 2001. This port, just outside Santa Barbara, will not only improve delivery times to West Coast dealers, but also generate a cost savings by allowing product to be shipped directly from Sweden, rather than arriving via rail from an East Coast import site.<P>Several other improvements have been made to the US VOTD process, such as changing the U.S. domestic distribution system and streamlining port operations. The improved VOTD process has delivered customer specified cars in less than 40 calendar days from order to production in Sweden to dealer delivery in the U.S.<P>Saab Cars USA, Inc. is the importer of Saab 9-5 and 9-3 automobiles for Sweden-based Saab Automobile AB and is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, near Atlanta. <P>SOURCE: Saab Cars USA, Inc. <P>
 
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