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The Future of Saab?



  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    The 9-5 was introduced in April of '98 as a '99 model, so technically the model is going on seven years old now (in model years). How much time it has left, I don't know, as I'm not aware of any plans to redesign the car.

    Can anybody confirm if MY 2006 will be the final year for the current-gen 9-5?
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I remember reading somewhere (I don't know where) a while back that the 9-5 would be refreshed for 2006 and its replacement would bow in 2007 as a 2008 model or something like that.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    for the first quarter of this year were 885. That's right, three digits. Down from 1231 this time last year. Oooohhhh, a 1/3 drop year to year! Not that it means anything in volumes this incredibly low. That was the sedan - the wagon went from 526 last year to 322 this year. Why do they even bother?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,277
    I'll share this. Last Summer, my wife and I were in a collision with our MDX. We were without the vehicle for 5 weeks while it was being put back together (miraculously, it runs and drives as good as brand new, can't even tell it happened). So as a rental, we were given a 9-3 2.0t. I was actually looking forward to living with a Saab for a while, it was a pretty sharp looking car! I had driven Saabs way back in the day, actually had a girlfriend with an SPG which I absolutely loved driving. What a blast!

    Well, the one we had was an 02 with 13k on the odometer. Automatic (blech), comfy seats, good visibility, nice car. The car was peppy once past the 3k rpm mark, it handled well, but was harsh over bumps and ruts. Not a problem for me, but my wife hated it. Unfortunately, the radio was dead, and the dashboard would go dead during rainstorms. Blink, gone, no interior lighting. It would come back on a while later after "drying out". The transmission also slipped upon acceleration up hills and there were some mysterious oil spots in the driveway every morning. We lived with it for about 2 weeks until they could get us a new rental. SO what did we end up with? A 9-5 Wagon 2.3t. Cool, let's try this again. Pretty sharp looking car, auto, not so comfy seats and once again a dead radio. Ugh. It was O.K. as far as acceleration and handling (it was a wagaon after all) and this thing did not like to start! It would crank for about 10 seconds and then turn over with the loud "reeehhh". I believe it was one of the cylinders which would freeze stuck over night (which in the middle of August, I wouldn't suspect to happen). So as far as I'm concerned, Saabs don't sit too well with me. They never left me or my wife stranded thank goodness, but they didn't leave a very positive impression either. Which is too bad, because all in all they're pretty sharp looking and have some neat features like the nightpanel (which sometimes you get even if you don't want too) and active safety, but beneath that lies your typical GM junk.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Well... Saabs look great, but they've been known to have electrical problems for a long long time. I remember reading on a different board that Mercedes-Benz once had electrical problems...
  • gkg680gkg680 Posts: 25
    I've been a loyal Saab customer. In '83, I bought a new '83 turbo coupe, and drove it until it gave out in '96. I loved it, fun to drive, all of that, and I thought it held up fairly well, although I went thru 4 or 5 batteries, and the transmission gave out at the end, a 5-speed with not quite 100,000 miles on it.

    When it conked out, I bought a new '96 900S couple with another 5-speed, which now has 71,000 miles. One battery went out on the car, a year or two after purchase, replaced by the dealer, and nearly a year ago, the clutch cable snapped. I replaced the entire clutch, out of fear, and that was expensive.

    Now, as the car starts getting old, I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable about buying another Saab. I don't desire a convertible, the coupe is gone, and I've never been happy with the availability of reliable and trustworthy service in Chicago.

    I can't think of a sound reason not to buy an Acura during the next year or two. Literally every one of my friends is completely sold on the reliability of the Japanese cars, and I can have one of these serviced within walking distance of my residence.

    Do any of you keep track of the number of units sold by Saab each year? Automotive writers keep saying that Saab is losing money, GM denies considering scrapping the product line, all of that. Are sales trending upward? Is there any reason to be confident about the future of Saab? I looked at a 9-2X the last time I had some service, and I couldn't see anything good about the car, except the price.

    I'd welcome any comments you ladies and gentlemen might care to share.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,207
    Well... I like the 9-2X...

    But, as far as Acura.. Don't you want a coupe? Not many choices there, unless you get an RSX... There aren't a lot of choices at all in the coupe market.. Audi TT, Volvo C70 (yuck), BMW 325i, Infiniti G35...

    All are quite a bit more expensive than a Saab 9-3...

    If a four-door is okay, why not a 9-3? If going 4-door, the Acura TSX is hard to beat, though... I'd recommend it highly..

    I definitely wouldn't make my decision on whether Saab will be around or not... It looks like you keep a car for ten years.. Resale isn't going to matter much by then...



    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    If you really like Saabs, go ahead and buy a new 9-3 or 9-5 while you still can..... I wouldn't count on Saab being around in another 10 years, or at the very least, if it's still around, it will be mainly selling SUVs and sport wagons.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,933
    gkg: I've never owned a Saab, but have long admired them. The old Saab 9000 was, I thought, way cool in an ultrafunctional kind of way. I've heard nightmare stories about their reliability, however.

    GM, as you've no doubt heard, is in a very tough spot right now. Everyone from Business Week on down is calling on them to kill one or more divisions asap. The three names I've heard mentioned are Pontiac, Buick, and Saab. Now, among those three, which do you think would be easiest to kill? Pontiac and Buick are quite troubled, but have a long history and are still selling many hundreds of thousands of cars each year. Saab, imo, always was a niche player, and has now been badge-engineered to near death. It actually costs GM a lot of money to do that badge engineering (less than a real Saab model, but still a lot), and so they have lost literally many billions of dollars over the last decade with Saab.

    A sign of the times? My local Saab dealer is advertising 9-2x's at 5,000 off list price, putting them down near c. 18k.

    If you buy Saab now, you may get a good car, but my guess--which could be totally wrong--is that the brand's lifespan may be numbered in the few years that it will take to phase them out a la Oldsmobile. Owning a dead brand kills resale, although you keep your cars so long it hardly matters. Getting parts and service, however, which is no so easy now will become much harder in a few years if they do go.

    You can get a fully loaded Acura TL 5-speed with a 270 hp engine and brembo brakes for c. $32k (this is my dream car, which has replaced the Saab 9000 of my youth). Or a TSX for c. $25k. Unless you feel like you couldn't sleep with yourself for betraying Saab, I think you'd be happier and more satisifed going the Acura route. I feel bad writing this though, since I don't want to see Saab die, so perhaps you shouldn't take my two cents seriously.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    the current 9-5, but I have driven the current 9-3, and believe me, you will find the TSX just as nice if not nicer. Yes, you have to rev it a bit more if you are used to turbos, but compared to the base 9-3 it is a dream. And Acura will still be here in a decade. I highly doubt Saab will be.

    Saab is selling on the order of 20,000 cars a year I believe. Not very many. 9-3 sales blipped up when the new sedan came out, and now they are blipping down again. 9-5 sales are down to like 5000 a year, and it is unclear whether GM will update this model from the late 90s, so that will probably be the next stick in Saab's coffin - the demise of the 9-5. Or perhaps it will carry on with the 1998 spec for another four or five years.

    Certainly sales are not enough to spur a good mechanic to specialize in Saab repair. And if the brand does disappear, I doubt Chevy dealers will repair them the way they do Oldsmobiles now.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,277
    At least with the 9-2x your getting a nice Subaru to begin with, and one that doesn't carry the "boy racer" styling of the WRX or STi. The 9-7x, not so much, as its Trailblazer roots are merely mediocre at best (other than the straight 6 under the hood). But it DOES have the ignition on the floor :P
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    If you want a reliable Saab, try the 9-2X. One could argue though, that it's not really a Saab.
  • gkg680gkg680 Posts: 25
    I appreciate the helpful comments, I think the Internet is a tremendous asset to anyone buying a car or seeking to gain information of any kind about one.

    It'll sound crazy, but I never liked smaller cars, or coupes, but I loved the turbo '83 when I drove it. In '96, I test drove one of the first Acura CL coupes, and loved it. I actually ordered a black one with a stick, but the dealer couldn't get me one, and worse yet, lied repeatedly and said it was on the way.

    I test drove the 900S and found it just as peppy as the turbo, because of advances in technology. Saab, at the time, charged a lot extra for leather seats, a sunroof, and an automatic trans. My dealer had some couples with none of those things, and was discounting, so I thought 21,500 for a new Saab coupe was a good deal, sticker was 24,500, I think.

    I thought it was chintzy to pre-wire the car for a CD player and not throw in at least an in-dash player that would take one CD, and after a short time, I added a trunk-mounted CD player, but that was the only extra.

    My next car will be the Acura TSX, probably, or the TL. Living in downtown Chicago, a smaller car is easier to maneuver, and that's attractive to me, and I hope to find better experiences with service with a different car. There's one Saab dealer in Chicago proper, and when I phone, they put me on hold and hang up. They also sell BMWs, and friends of mine with BMWs drive 40 miles for service to avoid going to that same dealer.

    I hope you gentlemen are wrong about Saab being headed downhill, but I have a tough time seriously considering buying another one. Their competitors seem to do just about everything better, and the gap seems to be widening.

    Thank you all for providing food for thought. The helpful information that these car forums provide, and which you provide, is invaluable. Best wishes to all.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think your exact situation is happening with a lot of the Saab folk left today. I too like others here have always liked their cars. When I was growing up those upright 900s, 9000 hatchback and the trunked version the 9000CD were always cars of interest to me. I thought Saabs had the best seats, and ergonomics, very similar in design theory to Volvos of the day.

    Its a shame what GM has done to Saab, but ultimately we wouldn't be talking about Saab at all if GM hadn't bought them I guess. I think Saab will be around in 10 years but they'll all be GM cars underneath.

    I live outside of Chicago so I'm curious to know which Saab dealer you're talking about? I can't think of one in Chicago itself, but there are two in the burbs (Garntner in Aurora and Flikkema in Lansing if they're still there). I'm not sure if the one in Orland Park survived.

    I happen to like the 9-3 and I've driven it twice and the car remains on the long-list when the time comes. The funny thing is that Saab just decided about 3-4 months ago not to do another Coupe version of the 9-3. If they had a 9-3 Coupe would you buy one?

    Let us know what you decide.

  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    Well, you can't go wrong with a TSX or TL.... A well equipped TSX will cost less than a comparably equipped 9-3. Everything is standard on the TSX.
  • gkg680gkg680 Posts: 25
    I bought my '96 Saab at Gartner in Aurora, and I was pleased with the way they do business. My salesman was courteous and reasonable, a gentleman in every way. I thought their service facility was clean, very professional, and honorable. If I bought another Saab, I'd go out of my way to try to work with Gartner on that. Sadly, tho, it's just too far for me to go for service, consistently, maybe 40 miles, and the traffic on the Eisenhower and East-West Tollway gets worse every year.

    I bought my '83 in Waukegan, but that was because it was the end of the model year, and that dealer, long out of business, I think, had a walnut brown metallic Turbo coupe, which I wanted. Window sticker was a bit over $17,000. I offered $16,000 and asked him to throw in floor mats, and he agreed. I thought that was a good deal, and right after that, Porsche ran into a lot of problems, raised their prices sharply, and a lot of young guys decided to buy the 900T, which resulted in greater demand and more difficulty getting a discount.

    I'm not sure about Flikkema or the guy in Orland, but Gartner has expanded, he now has a store in Downers Grove, and he may have one out South, Tinley or Orland, also.

    The Saab dealer I've never visited and don't want to work with is in Lincoln Park. A guy I work with went there for service on his BMW, which they sell also, and said they forgot about his car, didn't order a part he needed, and gave him static when he asked for his car back, without repairs. He drives to the Woodfield/Schaumburg area for service now.

    That dealer must do something right, he seems to do ok, I suppose. I've enjoyed surfing several Saab websites to learn more about these cars, but I probably need a change. I've loved the hatchback and the versatility it offers, and I rarely have passengers in the back seat, which is very cramped, especially because I'm tall and have the driver's seat positioned rearward.

    However, I'd probably be happy with a sedan this time. I spend an hour or two every year with a capable accountant with offices in Naperville, and he's been thrilled with his Acuras, bought one of the first Legends years ago, and just got a new TL.

    I'll probably drive a TSX and a TL and see what they're like. I see a lot of them on the road, but that's good, not bad, I'd imagine. The NY Times had an article or two recently about problems for GM and Ford in general, and it certainly wasn't surprising. Their competitors are tough cookies, who seem passionate and committed to making better cars.

    Thanks for the comments, sincere best wishes.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,933
    Hit return by accident....

    Anyway, I hope you'll let us know what you test drive and buy. I think car shopping is fun (if nerve wracking) and I hope you enjoy it and get a good deal on a good car.

    Best wishes.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 26,278
    I stopped the other day at the local SAAB (and Jag, so they have some nice stuff, none of which sells of course) to look at the 9-3 (and 9-2x). My company was recently bought by a big GM supplie/vendor, so they are touting the pricing schemes.

    Anyway, sat in a 9-3 (base linear), and other than the comfy seats, was entirely underwhelmed, especially for a 30K MSRP. Just didn't have the wow, gotta have it factor that you get elsewhere (say, BMW or even Audi). Might drove nice, but I can't see myself ending up in one, unless they put some killer lease out, enen then I probably wouldn't bother.

    They did have a dark blue/tan guts 9-2 (the turbo one) that was very sharp. Didn't sit in it though. Might have to take a wander over and see what kind of lese deal I could get with a 7K incentive!

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,207
    I ran the lease numbers when the incentive was $5500, and a $32K 9-2X Aero still came out to $420/mo.+tax for 3yr/45K with only 1st payment and security upfront... Take $1500 off, and you are still talking $380/mo+ tax.. No bargain, there...

    Since it is a Subaru underneath, I think I would take a chance on buying it at $24K + tax, before I would lease it... And, normally, I would never buy a Saab..


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  • I have loved my SAABs but after reading this forum, I'm concerned about purchasing another. I had a '96 900s convertible, a 2000 9-5 linear, and I'm currently driving a 2002 9-5 aero. My lease is up this summer and I am considering another 9-5. My dealer tells me that the redesigned one is coming out in December and he will extend my lease until then. He also tells me it will be about $5000 cheaper than my current car. Since when do prices go down???

    For this coming purchase, I plan to buy and hold onto the car for 6-7 years. I love the features in the SAAB but this news makes me nervous. Should I buy the Acura TL instead, or does anyone have a suggestion for something else with all the fun toys at about the same price.

    I would really appreciate the feedback.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,877
    Resale value on Saabs has long been abysmally low, I should know I've resold two. :sick:

    If you buy your next Saab second hand or CPO you'll avoid the big hit new owners take.
    Low mileage 9-5s go for less than $20k in NH. If you like the Saab you should get it that way and not worry about whether GM pulls the plug as they'll continue to provide parts and service just as they do now with Oldsmobile. I myself am considering a used 9-5 wagon, they're incredible bargains.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • planner99planner99 Posts: 2
    I'm sorry, I should have been more clear. I don't have any interest in a "pre-owned" car. I'm getting rid of a low milage (24k miles) SAAB. So may I please pose my question again for advise on the 2006 SAAB 9-5 Aero, 2006 Acura TL or some other 2006 suggestion.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    The Infiniti G35 and M35 are nice cars, with the G being cheaper and smaller than the M.

    And ask your dealer what he knows about the 2006 9-5... So far I don't think anybody on this board has heard anything.
  • bcoolbcool Posts: 59
    Go for the '05 9-5 Arc. SAAB will be around for a long time. With the way the price of gas is going, people looking for fuel efficient, high quality autos, will be turning to SAAB. SAAB's targeted this market for the past 50 years. You'll get free maintanence for the next 3 or 4 years with an outstanding warranty. Compare a 6-7 year old Acura to the same vintage SAAB, and you'll see the difference in the long term quality SAAB offers. Hold the course.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Saab has as good as announced there will not be a new 9-5 this year or next. The dealer is yanking your chain because he knows full well he has no new product to offer you (unless you are in the mood for a 9-7, LOL!).

    I would go for the TL in a second in this scenario - it is a seriously sweet car that is better on its own merits before you even consider the dubious future of Saab. All you give up is free maintenance.

    As for this: "With the way the price of gas is going, people looking for fuel efficient, high quality autos, will be turning to SAAB"

    There are 50 great cars on the market that do just as well on gas, if that is your only criterion. But if you are thinking of buying this time around, why buy a car that was designed so long ago? There are so many modern choices available.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • cpp788xcpp788x Posts: 47

    Saab is already gone. Saab was better at making cars than marketing. GM is better at marketing than making cars. Part of GM's marketing is rebadging cars - they have been doing that for 50 years.

    GM buys Saab - therefore GM must lead Saab into the future. Saab's technology is aging and needs to be improved. - by a company that is ultmately run by the Beancounters! You can plant flowers in the garden that will come up every year - more work, or you can go to the florist and get instant gratification - less work, but it only lasts a week or so.

    GM and Ford are buying flowers at the florist while Europe and the Orient are planting gardens. It may take 20 years but unless GM truly invents new technology they will be purchased like flowers by the Chinese!

    Chrysler on the other hand was purchased by Mercedes - Who does not know how to make a cheap car and is developing new tachnology. It is trickeling down into cars like the 300. The name "Chrysler" might dissapear but the products and technology will continue to improve and remain in the market for a long time.

    Ford/Mazda should be successful because they are both low to mid priced car lines, but Volvo and Jaguar should also have similar fates as Saab. Ford took the Volvo technology and created the 500 - They are not interested in improving Volvo. Where is Volvo going? Are new cars being developed or are they rebadged Fords. The S40, Mazda 3, and the Focus are the same car!!!

    The future of the company depends on who is in control.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    is doing quite well actually. I would say that they too are planting perennials and gardens like Honda and Toyota, only they're using plants from Lowe's instead of the local nursery, which in some cases won't make much of a difference.

    Jaguar is another story though... I don't think they will have a redesigned S-Type for another few years... And the X-Type should really be dropped or redesigned.

    The 9-5 has a turbocharged four cylinder, which to some people may be a good thing, but many people in this world want a V6 when they're paying $40,000+ for a new car. I paid less than $30,000 for a new car and I got a very nice V6. (The previous generation Maxima's 3.5L)

    No offense, but I think Saabs aren't as reliable as an Acura, Lexus or Infiniti (just look at those CR reliability ratings)

    Don't get me wrong- I like Saab. I just didn't buy one because none of their cars fit my needs. I hope GM will finally pump some money into Saab to let them develop some world class cars for the general public.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'd have to disagree totally about Volvo. Volvo has stayed true to their roots. You have to look at what makes a Volvo a Volvo. Safety, design and engineering, none of that has been compromised in the newer S40 that I can see. Volvo is doing the safety engineering for everything in the Ford empire including Aston-Martin's DB9 and V8 Vantage. Arguably, Ford couldn't ask for a better partner in safety engineering. The Ford 500, Mercury Montego and Freestyle I bet will all prove Volvo strong and durable in crash testing, if they haven't already done so.

    Volvo didn't make their name on dynamics and engine techn like Saab and you certainly can't tell that the S40 and Mazda 3 are the based on the same platform by looking at them. The new European Ford Focus isn't sold here so...

    Ford imo has done a bang up job with Volvo and Aston-Martin and now the pieces are coming together for Land-Rover too. Jaguar is arguably the only weak link left at the PAG. Land Rover should be ok by the end of 2005 if their new SUVs take off.

    GM and its shamless pimping of Saab is a far different situation than Ford and any of its PAG brands. Saab has had to accept naturally aspirated V8s, I6s and ancient live axle suspensions to stay alive under GM, all about as far from Saab's heritage as possible. No way a Chevy can be made into a Saab, no way! The platform that Ford uses under the Focus/3/S40 was a jointly developed platform not a last minue grille/headlight/wheel change.

  • cpp788xcpp788x Posts: 47
    Valid points though only time will tell.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Saab really doesn't have much of a "future":

    Why not just let Saab die? Saabs are going to be built everywhere but "Sweden" it seems. GM should just concentrate on its core brands and push the volume there instead of spending money on their own cars by trying to make them into Saabs. Is that expense worth it? I seriously doubt it.

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