Saab getting out of pet accessories business
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Saab lets its pet accessories line run its course
Swedish brand forgoes booster seats; Hummer tries to woo little girls.
By Anita Lienert / Special to The Detroit News
Pooches and the color pink are on the minds of automakers like Saab and Hummer. Swedish brand Saab, which just introduced its first SUV, the 2006 9-7X, is easing out of the pet accessories business. The General Motors Corp. brand is discontinuing its Saab-branded leather dog collars with the metal ingot that said "Saab" and its reflective Saab dog bandanas. Saab says consumers can buy pet accessories at much cheaper prices at mega-pet.
In fact, Sean P. McNamara, Saab product group manager, said that his two dogs are among the few dogs that wear Saab collars.
"The collars moved very slowly," McNamara said. "Animals and cars definitely go together, but it's more about the interface of the animal with the car -- in other words, how does the dog hook into the safety system of the car, rather than how to accessorize the dog with auto products."
No new dog products will debut along with the Saab SUV, which is fairly unusual, given the fact that over 40 percent of Saab owners have dogs who regularly travel in their vehicles and that items such as doggie car booster seats are popular in upscale pet catalogs.
Saab decided not to market booster seats, which allow a strapped-in dog to better see out of the window of a vehicle, in favor of sticking with core pet products such as the $53.95 VersaLeash that allows you to hook your dog into tracks in the cargo hold.
"Saab is still committed to pet safety because all the safety systems in a car become useless when you have an unleashed 50-pound dog flying around the cabin in the event of a crash," McNamara said.
In the meantime, Hummer is turning its attention to little girls.
Marc A. Hernandez, Hummer product director, said the brand may allow toy manufacturer Little Tykes to market a pink Hummer ride-on toy in two years.
You can reach Anita Lienert at [email protected].