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http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_1470000/1470045.stm [note that this is for the 1999 - a two year old car at the time of the test.]
Consumers probably withholds a recommendation as well based on the fact that a new chassis for the Saab is due in 2003. Why would they recommend a car whose body style is just about to change?
OTOH, Saab is dropping the hatch from the 9-3 lineup for the first year+, a really dumb move as the Saab is the King of hatchbacks and people are just moving into hatches and mini-station wagons in the smaller cars.
Resale can't be too bad if, as is the current wisdom, leaseholders are not getting breaks on the Saab Leasing option purchase price for returns. The leasing company is holding firm to the price they set when lessees leased their cars.
On the squeaks in cold temperatures for 5-10 minutes, this has been diagnosed as a bushing lube problem (2 hrs work max) and is covered under warranty. Some have had squeaks from the rear seating area but stuffing a small towell on the seat catch fixes that one.
Be very, very careful when quoting statistics.
For example, in the URL provided, CR received nearly 34,000 surveys that canvassed 81 vehicles. If each vehicle was equally represented, that's only 419 surveys per automobile. Given the price range, the odds are very high that the niche and more expensive than average vehicles such as the 9-3 would have had statistically fewer respondents than other, more mainstream, vehicles.
Nevertheless, if we assume a purely average sample of 419, the report of zero failures yields a Reliability of ~99.4% at a 90% Confidence (MTBF = ~181). This is not really all that far removed from the next few groups on the upper end of the list, and not really significant enough for a well-informed person to get strongly worked up about as supposedly being profound.
And given that the severity of the repair (and thus, need) was not provided in this report summary, we proverbially don't know if the repair was for a dead battery or a blown engine, so more information is needed before we really try to draw any definitive conclusions.
Not necessarily. For example, the company could be strategically choosing to prop up used car prices.
FWIW, what I found when I sold my Saab earlier this year is that it is a niche product which increases its marketplace value variability (generally down). If Saabs are "not hot", you can very easily lose a $K's in resale value in a soft market.
I also found that my local Dealerships use the Galves Wholesale Guide as their cost reference, and this publication was consistently 20-30% lower than the lowest numbers that Kelley's or Edmunds' reports. FWIW, I see that Edmund's is still claiming a 15% higher value than what was in the Galves report from a third of a year ago (Jan 02), and if both are adjusted for condition, options and mileage, the discrepancy increases to 30%. The gap between my expectations for what I thought I could get for my car and what I was actually able to get ended up being significantly greater than what I was expecting.
Surely these are not the kind of figures that lie.
Figures don't. Its how their analysis is designed (approach) and then afterwords, how the information is interpreted that can be misleading. Often the case when something is quoted out of context.
For example, what is 'repurchase'? Is it the rate of repeat buyers, the rate at which lemons are purchased back by the Manufacturer, or something else? You'll need to cite the source so that I can take a look at it. It may have been done well, or poorly. Insufficient information to say at this point.
FWIW, this link on cartalk has some information on estimated Residual values of 2002 models for 2, 3, 4 and 5 years out. A quick sampling (below) seems to infer that the base 9-3 lags around 10% worse than its obvious European competitors:
02 Model '04 '05 '06 '07Saab 5dr 53% 44% 37% 31%MB C230K 61% 52% 45% 39%A4 1.8tQ 60% 53% 46% 40%BMW 325i 63% 54% 46% 39%
And BTW, I'm still waiting on you to provide the Saabnet board citation of who it is that considers the Mercedes C230K to be "dull".