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Saab banishes sales staff from showrooms from 2002

Saab showrooms will undergo a transformation in the next 12 months with no salesmen to confront customers. The new strategy called Unlimited Partners will be phased in during 2002 and be supplemented by new city centre sites and brand centres.

Parveen Batish, Saab general manager for integrated marketing, said: "A host or hostess will greet customers and will map out a route so their specific needs can be met. Salesmen will not be located in the showrooms. It's a sea change in the way we do business and Unlimited Partners works closely with two other innovations - city centre sites and brand centres.

"Our city centre sites will be situated at prominent locations where you wouldn't expect to find a car showroom or anything to do with a car. The brand centres will take that concept even further. They don't sell cars or even take orders - they just concentrate on the Saab brand and what makes it unique."

Brand Centres have already been installed at Heathrow and Birmingham airports, and there will be a total of six brand centres by the end of next year controlled by Saab Great Britain, while the 10 city centre sites to will be controlled by dealers.

Saab managing director Jonathan Nash denied the move was in response to proposals to end Block Exemption in September 2002: "No one is really sure what will happen with block exemption next year, but the Unlimited Partners concept is a logical development for us, and the dealers are enthusiastic about the change." (October 11, 2001)

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