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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/6/11 10:38 a.m.

So, what's your thoughts on Saab? Will they pull out of this nosedive? Is everything really honky-dory? Or did they stop caring years ago?

Either way, we recently spent some time with one of their latest offerings. What's your opinion?

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/new-cars/2011-saab-9-5-turbo4/

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
10/6/11 10:52 a.m.

It doesn't even.... look like a Saab. Doesn't look like it feels like a Saab. I wouldn't buy this thing in a million years.

I think the last great saab was the 9-3 Viggen. (Arguments could be made for the 9-3X Black Edition or whatever it was)

LainfordExpress
LainfordExpress Reader
10/6/11 10:53 a.m.

I was kinda hoping that the 9-2X might blossom into Subaru buying Saab and making it their Acura or Lexus, but that died a few years ago.

I just thought that would be a good fit. Saab and Subaru seem like natural friends.

Luke
Luke SuperDork
10/6/11 10:56 a.m.

I quite like the C-pillar to roofline treatment, with the slant of the windows. If you know what I mean. Looks...angular/aggressive.

Shame it's a dud to drive. I'm waiting for Spyker to bring back some of the funkiness and solidarity I love so much in my 900.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
10/6/11 10:58 a.m.

that was a forced marriage under GM. I think there was a shotgun involved

I will say that Saab ceased to be with the Original Generations 900 and 9000 came to a halt. The NG is a coulda/woulda/shoulda car.. but it felt halfhearted.. like saab already knew the end was nigh

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
10/6/11 11:01 a.m.
mad_machine wrote: that was a forced marriage under GM. I think there was a shotgun involved I will say that Saab ceased to be with the Original Generations 900 and 9000 came to a halt. The NG is a coulda/woulda/shoulda car.. but it felt halfhearted.. like saab already knew the end was nigh

I agree, though i still love me some ~99 9-3 4door H.O and the Viggen is just well... the Viggen.

It's not QUITE there, but it's still has the quirkyness that nothing else had.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 Dork
10/6/11 11:13 a.m.

I haven't been the least bit interested in any Saab since the mid-80's 900 Turbo. That's a long time ago.

They've essentially been dead for years. Their ultimate demise is inevitable.

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit SuperDork
10/6/11 11:16 a.m.

I got to drive a new 9-5 Aero last summer. It was a short ride and if I had the money I am not sure if I would buy a new one. With that being said they are really big inside and I really like the look of the car.

I have had three Saab cars. An 89 900s (Classic), a 99 9-3 HO, and I DD an 03 9-5 Aero. I really have liked them all very much, each one has had things that I really like and things that I did not like.

In my opinion Saab managed to keep, for the most part, its distinctive feel in all of the cars produced under its name except for a couple, the 9-2 and 9-7 . If you drive a current 9-3 and then try a G6 there really is a difference.

I hope they make it, the cars appeal to me because they are understated on the outside but are fun to drive and easy to live with but it is looking more and more like this is the end.

ransom
ransom HalfDork
10/6/11 11:23 a.m.

It looks like a fullsize GM, or possibly a blancmange, with a Saabesque C-pillar and grille.

I always kinda liked Saabs. I had a full-blown fetish for the 900 Turbo when I was... 13?

I hope they recover, and do more interesting cars.

Klayfish
Klayfish HalfDork
10/6/11 11:25 a.m.

Who????? Oh, right. I think I remember that company. They used to make that funky hatchback in the '80s, and the convertible version that looked like a Polo shirt with the collar flipped up and starched.

It's a shame, but I think they're so lost floating in the breeze that it may be difficult for them to recover. To survive, they need to appeal to a decently sized market. They have no unique identity anymore. Don't have a good dealer network, etc... Very different from their days in the 80's.

I'd love to see them survive, but it'll take a lot of time and a lot of cash which they don't have.

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
10/6/11 11:29 a.m.

Like Volvo, Saab is still trading on former reputation. A reputation that they have not really lived up too in recent years or that they have yet to reinvent.

Vigo
Vigo Dork
10/6/11 11:36 a.m.

I honestly like the 9-4x better than that.

ddavidv
ddavidv SuperDork
10/6/11 12:05 p.m.

Last of the real Saabs: The beginning of the end: It just wasn't enough like the previous ones. We (at the dealer) were reasonably disappointed in it when it first came out. Meanwhile, Volvo introduced the 850 and it was pretty apparent it would kick our butts being well designed, fwd and offering a turbo. Once GM got hold of them...ugh. Let the badge engineering and brand diminishment begin: The true Saab customer bailed and went to Subarus and Prius' long ago.

PS122
PS122 Reader
10/6/11 12:27 p.m.
ddavidv wrote: The true Saab customer bailed and went to Subarus and Prius' long ago.

I think that is the real reason Saab's death is imminent. That and they lost the 'quirkiness' that attracted people in the first place. Saab's customer base has moved on and I see nothing in a future model to bring them back or attract new customers.

Sadly, the Euro cars that I used to love in the 80s and 90s (Saab, Volvo, M-B, VW, and Audi) are of little interest to me.

integraguy
integraguy SuperDork
10/6/11 1:28 p.m.

This story doesn't get much "play" on the networks in the U.S. but I caught a short story on BBC-NEWS last week about Saab. The "presenter" of the story (they call them that in the U.K.) was standing next to a fairly large lot full of Saab wagons. It sort of reminded me of the stories done about the end of British Leyland. BL had fields filled with unsold and UNFINISHED cars, because like Saab no one bought the cars and no one had money to pay off the suppliers.

I have to wonder, considering how many people all over the world buy Camrys and Corollas, if there even is a market anymore for a "quirky" car manufacturer?

With or without GM, Saab (and GM?) "blew it" by not developing/marketing Saabs with AWD or 4WD sooner. More so than Volvo, I would think Saab should have had a handle on the idea of traction to all 4 wheels. Saab "appears" to have locked themselves into their link with aircraft...and airplanes don't have 4WD.

I do agree an alliance with Subaru should have worked. Another case of GM dropping the ball? Or a case where 2 quirky car companies could never build a car that wasn't a complete "dog's breakfast"?

procainestart
procainestart Dork
10/6/11 2:10 p.m.

Saab is done. GM took a technology-driven, imaginative, safety-oriented little car company with decent brand cachet and tremendous brand loyalty and completely berkeleyed it up, instead trying to sell (mostly) a bunch of badge-engineered turds with little in common with the values and design principles that the former company embraced. The marketing was lame, too, IMO: Find Your Own Road? What, in a mass-produced re-badged Opel? No, thanks. Born From Jets? No, not jets -- WWII prop planes:

Meanwhile, the guys who recently bought the firm ago were idiots: they bought a couple GM cars to sell.

aeronca65t
aeronca65t Dork
10/6/11 2:23 p.m.

I used to have one of these. I guess you don't have to pre-mix the oil and gas in these new-fangled jobs.

Actually, my son-in-law has a 9-3. It's a nice enough car.

oldeskewltoy
oldeskewltoy HalfDork
10/6/11 2:49 p.m.
ddavidv wrote: Last of the real Saabs: The beginning of the end:

truer words..........

ultraclyde
ultraclyde HalfDork
10/6/11 3:37 p.m.

I'm pretty sure that new Saab's a Camry in a halloween mask

Twin_Cam
Twin_Cam SuperDork
10/6/11 4:11 p.m.

Yea, they turned to crap as soon as GM started paying attention to them. Same has happened a couple times now. Saturn, anyone?

The only Saab I would consider owning would be an old 96. Maybe a turbo 900 if the engine wasn't backwards in the engine bay.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
10/6/11 4:22 p.m.

backwards is only a deal if you have to change the belts.. even the waterpump has been moved to the top of the engine to facilitate working on it.. otherwise everything is right where it needs to be,

And they are one of the easiest cars to do a clutch job on

iceracer
iceracer SuperDork
10/6/11 5:04 p.m.

I lost interest in SAAB when they quit making 3 cyl engines.

iceracer
iceracer SuperDork
10/6/11 5:04 p.m.

I lost interest in SAAB when they quit making 3 cyl engines. Sorry about that.

HappyAndy
HappyAndy HalfDork
10/6/11 5:08 p.m.

When GM was negotiating with konneggsssiggg (the first attempted deal that failed ), I read a post on one of the SAAB forums a post from someone claiming to be a GM insider, they claimed that essentially GM pulled an ENRON type deal on SAAB. They were burying a lot of their losses at SAAB while not giving them credit for the value of the technology that they brought into GM. I know it was only an anonymous post on an internet message board, but is sure sounds like something GM would do.

HappyAndy
HappyAndy HalfDork
10/6/11 5:13 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: backwards is only a deal if you have to change the belts.. even the waterpump has been moved to the top of the engine to facilitate working on it.. otherwise everything is right where it needs to be, And they are one of the easiest cars to do a clutch job on

Changing the belts really isint a big deal either. I love working on my c900.

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