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Saab 9-3 Sedan



  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    I have to agree that if you can wait, an Arc/Vector is a better value, Arc in particular, since it gives you the same power and suspension(as an option) for less money, if you can live w/o the seats and body cladding. But people should be aware that Saab's accessory catalog shows a stereo upgrade is available to bring the 150 watt 7 speaker system up to the 300 watt 13 speaker system. No word on cost, though.

    They also offer the wood or metal interior trim and gauge metal bevel trim as accessories, too. But after paying for all that, an Arc would be not too much more expensive.

    The reality on the lots seems to be that they're either pretty loaded or really base w/ no options. To get a low priced 9-3, you really have to go with a base model.

    Sometimes in this class of car, base models resale better as a percentage of their msrp than higher end ones. Other times, base models are dogs that nobody wants. (like a cloth seat Infiniti G35) We may be car enthusiasts, but most people buying used just know they want a "bmw 3 series" or "Saab 9-3" and want the cheaper one they see advertised if it's really thousands less. Even with standard items like leather, stability control, abs, etc, a true base linear runs maybe $8,000 less than a loaded Arc or $10,000 less than a loaded Vector. So of course in dollars they'll lose thousands more than a base Linear in depreciation. There's no getting around it, they are a little more expensive to own than a true base Linear. The 9-3 linear is priced, in base form, where it competes with high end Accords and Camrys, and I would rather have the Saab even w/o the extra goodies. The Vector and, to a lesser degree, the Arc, are competing with Audis, Lexus, and BMWs, and expectations are raised accordingly. But a loaded Linear isn't such a great bargain, since it truely is a less powerful car, with the small 't' on the back.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    GM wouldn't be putting millions into Saab if it wasn't going to be around in 2-3 years. I do think Cadillac and Saab should be merged in Europe, but not in North America.
  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    9-3 sales are expected to help Saab get to a sales volume level where the money outflow stops, and a new 9-5 Design is due out in a year or so. Previous sales stank because the cars weren't good enough to justify the price vs. the competition. The new ones are. Pretty simple. I think there will be a lot of buyers looking for a European styled car and want an alternative to the German cars.
  • Just got back from the SAAB dealer and sure enough they had the 1000 Launch Package Discount. Also, they started the pricing at $500 over invoice. Invoice was 29334. Definitely a good car buying experience. I am getting the SAAB 9-3 with Launch Pkg/Automatic/Metallic Paint. Oh yeah thanks to everyone for all the definitely helped alot.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    I think I'm going to hold off until the Arc comes out before seriously considering a trade. Also, I should have the loan on my Intrigue paid down a bit more by spring. I would prefer the extra features(espically the 300 watt audio system) that the Arc will have. More hp and an extra cog to row would also be fun:)

    I'm not sure I understand why Wall Street and all the pundits are so down on Saab. Why is it every car I've purchased or considered recently may soon be extict(I've owned 2 Olds and now considering a Saab). If we keep losing brands the way we are now, the roads are going to look pretty boring. One of the reasons I'm seriously considering the 9-3 is it is a more unique looking than most other cars in it's class and you don't see one on every street corner. Not to mention it appears to be an excellent value. I know we've beat this drum to death, but in the upscale parts of most towns, 3 series(and now A4s) are nearly as common as Accords, Camrys, and Tauri. Sorry folks, but I don't want to drive what everyone else is driving.

    Dindak, one would think that with GM pumping millions into Saab that they are not going to drop them, but they did the same with Oldsmobile in the mid 90s. Hopefully with Saab they will actually advertise the cars and realize that they will probably never see 3 series sales volume and be okay with that.

    brucec35, I agree with you on post# 522.

  • I agree with everything that has been said here, and at this point, I am leaning towards that side of the fence that has me buying an Arc in the Spring- which is a pretty big swing from the lease-a-base-Linear mentality that I walked into the dealer with (research is supposed to help you make a decision, but in my case....).

    Anyway, Brucec35, while I agree with you that

    "Previous sales stank because the cars weren't good enough to justify the price vs. the competition. The new ones are"

    I guess what I am trying to say is it still concerns me, because the only reason the price is now justified is because Saab is selling them so cheaply that they are taking a $4,000 hit on every car, and that was before the $1,000 launch package discount or the 0% APR. I can hope GM gets costs in line without hurting the end product, but it does concern me when I think about having a 9-3 5 years from now.
  • I do agree that losing $4000 per car sucks.

    I doubt it is actually that high when you factor in the amount of cash going into the plant to allow the new 9-5 to be built along side the 9-3, cash for product development etc.

    Speaking on GM losing on selling every car.. I could be wrong but don't they lose something like $1000 per Cavalier they sell. My understanding is that the Autoworkers Union won't let them stop making it. GM has to keep price down to actually sell them.

    The point is; the economy stinks and somebody (ie GM) is probably going to be losing money until it gets better. GM wants to compete with upper class vehicles and will keep Caddy and Saab around until they are satisfied.

    Plus what would Sweden look like with only Volvos on the road (besides one of the only countries in the world with one automobile brand)? If GM can't hack it somebody is bound to joint venture with the Saab plant to keep cars coming out of it.
  • It's been 3 wks to have this car. The feeling come everyday still excited to drive it. It did bring lots good sense not from other driving experience. Have been driveing accord, Camry,intrigue,MBc230, BMW318,... and this is the one give me the feeling the car is stay with me kindly. i think still lots people don't know this new Saab has new great look already. I don't think GM pay attention on this car ad. i only can watch its TV ad from morning show not the night. and the TV ad they present not total show its safety advantage. I have been check through in other country web site and found there are tons of TV ad they made including car performance, safety and telecommunication... One show they drop saab from 100 ft height and it still maintan it's major body frame. One show it's rollinf over and over but nothing damage but window glass broke.... there are many show how its no.1 safety body structure earn many awards but we can't see much from here. And there is another problem I found is the US local dealer doesnt treat this car good enough to attractive potenial buyer. look at most Honda dealer provide VIP waiting room with free internet service, coffee, cold drink and breakfast also lunch on Saturday for people waiting for service and buyer... I do hope SAAB can last forever because it's sure one fine car with spirit. And also wish GM can make more effort on it not just treat it as another investment.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I have been admiring Saabs for the last 5 years as they just seem cool to me. Volvo's just don't have style like Saab does. The new 9-3 is impressive and I too hope the 9-3 and 9-5 lines come alive in the coming years.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Did you test a 9-3 yet?
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    don't see how Saab can lose 4k a car on this new 9/3, I mean, its the same chassis as the upcoming Malibu. Plus its a 4cyl. So its a 4cyl. Malibu with improvements, essentially. GM will not design an expensive to produce the 'improvements' Saab makes over the basic car add cost, but there's not gonna be 10 grand more in engineering and content in a 9/3 vs. a Malibu. Perceived 10 grand diff? maybe. Actual....GM would not be that dumb. Why else would you put a low volume Saab on a high volume chassis (epsilon)? PROFIT! cheap to use common components.

    Will it hurt the car? Not if its good to start with. But, this is where GM has failed in the past, at least GM Michigan. I mean, it absolutey shocks me the 9/3 wont come with the 3100 v6! LOL! Early reviews of the 9/3 are good so it seems GM didn't cheap out on the Epsilon too much.

    Re: Oldsmobile......I have a 'conspiracy theory'. I think Olds was sacrificed by GM in order to preserve Saab in the USA. Just a hunch...but Olds was supposed to be 'import' but could never convince anyone. So, instead of spending marketing dollars on both Saab and Olds, with little net effect....killed Olds and is trying to grow the Saab clientele to inclide the folks Olds was trying to move towards attracting as well as current Saab lovers.

    Hey, its no coincidence that once they killed Olds, all of a sudden you would actually see the GM logo in Saab ads? Before they killed Olds they tried to not associate GM and Saab in the advertising.

    And, now, after the new 9/3 you even see the GM prominently featured in many dealer ads in the paper.

    I really do think Saab will be pushed by GM now and they want it to succeed because they sacrificed Olds to do it.
  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    Reg, the $4,000 loss/car came from a news article cited on a Saab enthusiast's website.

    Nobody plans to lose money, it's all in how the accounting department decides to show costs in some regards, but keep in mind that until Malibu's are rolling off the lines and onto lots, Saab may be bearing a greater share of the development costs, which are always astronomical for a completely new design.

    Since cars require massive investment in factories, development, testing, etc, you don't turn a profit until you hit a certain "breakeven" volume. Saab's whole idea is to sell a lot more of the new 9-3 so they do this. The losses will be there for another model year maybe, but as volume increases, and fixed costs are covered, every car sold above that breakeven sales volume will be very very profitable. But until that figure is reached, costs may not be totally covered.

    Blitzin. I think it relates to the above, but they are only pricing them $4,000 below cost NOW because they aren't selling enough for marginal income to cover the rest of the costs. They're really not underpricing them, but they are waiting for sales volume to catch up so the car does become profitable at this price. The plan seems to be to make this car profitable at generally the same price as it is now, plus maybe a little more if the car is a hit and they feel they can get it.

    As an extreme and simplified example...Imagine engineering/developing a new car design and building a plant that costs you 100 Million dollars each year to develop, construct and operate(amortized fixed/sunk costs).
    And assume that each car you build costs you $15,000 in variable costs like materials and extra labor as volume increases.
    So, If you build 1 car a year it will cost $100,020,000.
    If you build 100 cars they will cost you $1,020,000 each.
    If you build 1,000 cars, they cost $120,000 each.
    If you build 100,000, then they cost only $21,000 each to build, and would then be very profitable selling at $30,000 or so each. So somewhere between 1,000 and 100,000 units is your hypothetical breakeven point.

    This illustrates(rather crudely) how low sales volume kills cars that aren't capable of bringing 6 figure sales prices like Rolls or Porsche. Saab was dying because they were only selling 37,000 cars a year of all types in the US. The 9-3 alone is expected to surpass that this model year.

    It's amazing how much money is spent on development and plants for cars. To put it in perspective, some more advanced rides at Disney World cost $80 to $100 million each to develop and build, believe it or not. And even excluding design and development costs, a car plant is much larger and more expansive and complex than an Epcot pavillion or Space Mountain. So in a year or two, GM will know for sure if Saab can make it or not. The one thing they can't afford to do is to be a low volume, narrow niche seller like in the past. And sharing the Epsilon platform with other designs will only help lower costs by spreading them over more units.
  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    Now I realize why my dealer was so anxious to wrap our deal up before the end of November. Perhaps that's when the $1,000 Launch discount became effective. Oh well, still a good value at $1,300 or so below MSRP.

    After 4 days of ownership of our Laser Red 9-3(had a merlot red loaner till it came in) the count of people stopping to gawk or ask questions about it now stands at 11. Tonight at the store a car pulled in, reversed, then circled me very closely twice as I sat waiting for my wife to finish shopping. For a second I thought I was about to get car jacked, since I was way out in the lot away from where someone would want to park, then I got a smile and thumbs up as they pulled away. Another guy in a Red Camaro convertible almost wiped out a family with a shopping cart as he drove by staring. My wife is already handing out our salesman's business card to co-workers who've walked out to their parking garage just to see the car. One even emailed her to say she liked the way it looks much better than her previous 540i sport. So obviously it has some pretty good curb appeal.

    The just-in Car and Driver report on the 9-3 Vector was pretty darn positive, though like everything, they benchmark it against the BMW 330i that costs $4,000 to $7,000 more. I agree, the 3 is superior, but it's getting close enough for most buyers not to care. They did mention vaguely some dissatisfaction with the 6 speed manual. For some reason, every 6 speed I've driven has not been very good. Must be a problem with trying to shove so many gears in. I found the extra gear more of a nuisance in our 540i, notwithstanding the notchy and balky linkage and truely difficult 1/2 shift that's been written about here on Edmunds. Car and Driver even went as far as to suggest that the auto may be the better choice on a 9-3. So head's up manual drivers. They only got a 0-60 time of 7.3 seconds. Must have been the transmission.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    7.3 is ok for a car that size and only 220hp.
  • HI,
    I've always liked Saabs, and I'm looking for a family car with some sport to it. I can't afford the 9-5, up here (Canada)they start at 44,500. I think the 9-3 are in the 30's.
    With the aggressive sales policies the dealer told me they have, are they selling at a lower price, like close to invoice or below? It's close to the holidays, and I don't see many people car shopping right now. I don't know if it's better to buy (resale plummeting) or (lease?) and if I buy can I drive this for 5-6 years, without major costs trying to repair the turbo. I need someting reliable. I don't know if it's better to just admire these from a distance, or from the window of a Subaru or something like that. (though they easily get into the linear's base price with the outbacks. also, are these any good in the snow, or do they spin?
    I'm trying not to let my emotions ( they look so nice) get the better of me...
  • I bought my 2001 9-3 at 3,000 below invoice just over a year ago (in ottawa). They were just getting the 2002 models in and eagerly keeping the lots clear for when the 2003 came.
    I suspect that you could get a 2002 9-5 for that much or more below invoice. They are going to be trying to keep the lots clear for when the new one comes as a 2004 model.

    Saab turbos don't break, they've been making them for 50 years now.

    Put four winter tires on the car and you are set for snow. Remeber these cars are made in Sweden. If you really need 4wd lease something else for 2 or 3 years and the 9-3 4wd should be available. Spinning doesn't cause accidents, not being able to stop does; 4wd doesn't help in that department.

    Driving IS about emotions, go drive the Saab and see.
  • Hi,
    I went in and looked at a new 9-3. It was a wine red. I fell in love once I hit the radio button. And the cup holder looks like flippin' landing gear coming out!! What a performance. Even better than the 9-5 cupholder! I have an old B&O stereo that has the same techno oohs and ahhs when it opens.
    My 5 year old wents nuts for it. When she saw the little ski door in the arm rest and the secret stash box in the armrest she declared it her favorite car, much better than the gold Forrester we saw the other day.
    I didn't think the radio sounded that good, but otherwise it was great. Now, I need to drive one.

    The dealer told me this was equipped with the touring package, which was basically a better climate control, and the launch package, which is sunroof, power seats, and something else.
    Now I asked about the price and he said it was 34,995. for the basic car. I said I'd read that the launch package was added in the States, and he said not here. Also that because it was a new launch of the model there were no incentives. (I don't believe this, but it appears that to get invoice info and incentive info here (in Canada) it's going to cost me to get it from CAA or a few other sources. (this p---s me off, when it's free all over the US).
    I can't afford it at that price unless there are some major deals to be had on it. But I love the car.
    They also have a 99 9-3, but I don't want one that hasn't gotten the CR recommended. A couple getting a 9-5 told us, when he walked away, to stay away from the old 9-3, her brother had massive problems with it. They also have a 99 9-5 with the 6 cylinder engine for 24,500. I haven't seen it. I thought it would be less than that since I hear about the huge hit these cars take on depreciation, but the ealer doesn't seem to think so.
    Anyway, it's going to be tough to get into one of these, money wise, but I really like it.
    Are these cars capable of holding up for 7-9 years without big financial outlays to run them? Like my old bimmer? I'm still nervous. (I guess Saab dealers understand how Audi felt, and still does in many cases, with the constant "is it reliable" questions.)
    HOw are these in snow for going up hills? I know it's made in Sweden, but how are they in hilly snowy roads?
    thanks for your advice. Perhaps I should talk to the dealer in Ottawa. They sell Saturns here, too, and maybe think that the "no haggle" price thing applies. Car sales for many many makers have been down this year, so I'd think they'd bee eager to really make it move.
  • Trying pricing it out with the options here:

    I don't even think a loaded Vector will come to amount.


  • HI glx,
    Remember I'm dealing with Canadian dollars here, and 34 grand is 34 grand. I can't price it at your gratiously provided link because it won't accept Canadian postal codes. It looks like invoice is just below the Msrp, and with no incentives, I don't think I'll be driving one. But maybe a 00 9-5 will get me by until I can jump back into it. With used Saabs, is it best to just hold for a short time and then flip it? Or can I get five good years out of it, if it's in good shape? What do I really need to watch for with these? And I guess an extended warranty is a good idea?
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    What kind of rates are they offering on the new 9-3? Were they willing to deal or do they do the Saturn thing with Saabs also?
  • mfgrmfgr Posts: 1
    I've test driven the Linear a couple times and love the new 9-3's. When you add the touring and launch package, even with the $1,000 launch package price-break, you're close to the price for the Arc. And with the Arc you get 40 more HP in the engine, more of a stereo, memory for the driver seat, chrome trim on the dash, adjustable arm-rest, and I think a power passenger seat too. But how long would I have to wait? Anyone know when the Arc's are showing up at the dealers? Of course the salespeople aren't much help, they want to move the Linears now.
  • I read some news said ARC will show up at dealer around March 2003.
  • in Car and Driver. For the most part they seemed to like this car (Vector). There main problem with it was that some of the control buttons are too small and that there are too many of them. I am a little surprised that they only got a 7.3 sec. for 0-60. Some other article that I read (can't remember where) got mid to low sixes. Am still looking forward to driving one with a manual. Oh yeah, they did say that the manual was not all that smooth and that could account for some time lost in their acceleration testing. Funny though that in the counterpoint section one editor thought that the manual tranny "shifts nicely"
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    I still have not had a chance to drive the 9-3. I still give them a look(as well as the CTSs) when I drive by the Cadillac/Saab dealer. I still want to drive a Linear, but I think that if I do a 9-3, I'm going to wait for the Arc. The upgrades seem to justify the wait and as others have mentioned, adding options on the base model brings it close to Arc price points. Once the Arc and Vector are available, Saab should really produce most Linears in base(no or few options) trim and bring more customers in the Saab brand. Customers who might be able to swing $26K but not $31K+ and otherwise might be looking at more mundane offerings such like an Accord or Camry. The Arc looks to have more features that I would want(memory seats, some wood trim, upgraded audio system, and more power) and the price still seems to be very reasonable. Several grand less than a comparably equipped CTS and as much as I like how the CTS drives, if I spend that kind of money I want to hold out for a year or so when the new engine is available. That and the fact my Intrigue is still giving me tranmission woes make a 36 month lease on a 9-3 very tempting right now. I noticed that Saab is currently promoting a $349 a month 48 month lease on the 9-5. $359 for the 9-5 wagon, and $399 for the 9-3 SE convertible. No mention of the 9-3 sedan in this week's ad.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    0-60 in 7.3 is not bad for a 210 hp four. I can live with that, especially if I have the ability to row my own gears. I'm assuiming if the tested car was a Vector that it had the automatic with the steering wheel shift buttons. That would be neat, but I'd just rather have the proper three pedals and the joystick. If anything, what a great excuse for not answering that annoying cell phone that always rings just when you get to your favorite stretch of road:)
  • subaru WRX gets you to 60 in 6.2 (there abouts)
    it's a 2.0 liter four supercharged to 227 hp
    weighs 3085 lbs

    Saab is bigger, weighs 3175-3285 lbs. For a slightly less powerful engine 7.3 sounds pretty accurate.

    I hope there will be an Aero/Viggen someday that will have to match the S60R and get under 6 seconds. I can't see them getting more than 300 hp, 295 lb-ft of torque and 4wd into it so 6 seconds might be tough to beat.
  • I said it a few posts ago and I will say it again. The 9-3 is not a great deal right now. For some reason they will not negotiate on price because there is a supposed 3 month backorder in the US and they are just waiting for that to happen here. I do not see it happening. The lease rate is 6.9 and it WILL drop in the new year.
  • To our Canadian friends, I can't speak to the whole country, but here in the North East (NY) I have visited 3 dealerships and each one of them has 6+'s on the lot, and the sales manager I am working with is confident he can locate me any color combo I choose- the only car that seems to be in short supply is a truly base linear with no options (or just heated seats)- Also, every dealer I speak to is eager to pass along the $1,000 launch discount and the $1,000 factory to dealer incentive- if there was a true shortage, they would be pricing at or above MSRP- 3 month backorder sounds like @#$% to me (although there aparently is a backorder in Europe).

    I have driven the Linear manual tranny and I am not surprised by the Car and Driver review of the bigger 6 speed. While it had plenty of pickup and no turbo lag, the throws were too long, the syncro's mushy, and the clutch too light for my tastes, even though it did engage nice and early. Looks like all the wavering I've been doing about which car to buy is finally coming to an end- I will drive the automatic this week, and unless it totally bowls me over, I am going to wait for the Arc, which I will take without the sunroof or touring package, pricing it within $2,600 of the Linear. Like others, I've been told March for the Arc's- but the question is order now to get an early one, or wait because there may be some incentives from GM later on (and I'm begging that they don't kill 0-0-0 by then)?
  • Think the performance that is being quoted in Car & Driver, maybe others is quite good, considering the power to weight ratio. Think there are a number of factors which will affect performance, not just 0-60. I think those who are familiar with the 'techniques' utilized by the auto mags would render one's warranty invalid quickly. The engine management's brain is pretty smart at detecting abuse, at least this is what my Volvo technician and shop manager has told me. Way too much emphasis on just 0-60 mph. Balanced overall performance in braking, acceleration, ergonomics, comfort, and safety should be most important.
  • HI,
    I jsut did a test drive of the 9-3 manual. I really liked it. It has a really tight turning radius, and the dealer told me to step on it, and there wasn't that much body roll. I thought the shifter was great. (I haven't driven a 320 lately to see how much tighter that is, but I liked it as much as the Subie GT I drove and the engine is quiet, (the Subie was loud and growly). The brakes were very touchy, but I've been driving a Malibu which takes a long time to stop. The car is really comfortable. I think the best combination right now for the car is with the launch package, and it seems that that's how most of them are coming in. This dealer had 6 on the lot and lots of 9-5s. I asked about the cost. Here the base car is 34,995. The lease rate is 6.9 (2.9 on the 9-5) and there are no discounts. I asked about the 1000 off the launch package and he said "where'd you hear that?" and I said on the net, and he said that that was in the US. No deals here. He's sold 12 cars since November, mainly to former BMW drivers. They won't be getting the ARC here, only the Vector, and they don't get any 6 cylinder Saabs in Canada. I'm told they don't sell. So that's it. I reminded him that at year end and with a general slowdown in sales for most companies, except Honda and Toyota, I thought there would be more incentives, but he said this was a new car and it would really turn things around...I said we'll have to see about that. They did have a 99 9-5 wagon in the lot for 25,500 with 76k on it. But I have heard that the better 9-5s are the 00 and newer.
    I'll keep looking. It seems like the 9-3 won't be available in anything but this version for awhile here which may also be why they aren't going to deal much on it. I'll look for a good Subie deal too on a used perhaps. Thank's for your input.
    Happy Holidays too, everyone!
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