What does the Saab brand mean to you?

At the recommendation of Curvin O’Rielly, I’ve just watched this video – the Ries Report – produced by an advertising and marketing guru named Al Ries. It’s around 7 minutes long, so it won’t take much of your time, but it’s a good look at why the strength of a brand is important and the fact that better products don’t always win.

The video was made in 2009.

VIDEO NOW REMOVED – CLICK HERE TO VIEW

No way does Pepsi taste better than Coke! But anyway…..

I disagree a little with Mr Ries’ emphasis on branding over product. I’m a firm believer that the car industry will always emphasise the quality of product and that products found to be lacking will suffer for it (the fall of Toyota since this video was made is a case in point).

But the importance of a strong brand alongside a strong product can’t be denied.

In the car business, the strength of a brand tends to flow on from its sales strength and the consistency of its presence. Audi have cemented themselves as a premium brand based on technology and the tactile and visual quality of their product (perceived quality). Their brand presence reflects this and their rising sales attest to it. Volvo, on the other hand, are trying to reinvent themselves from being a safe, family-oriented company to being ‘naughty’ and I wonder how long that transition will last.

All of this leads me to the question in the headline – What does the Saab brand mean to you?

Saab has quite a strong ownership culture surrounding it, but how strong (or weak) is the Saab brand? What are the attributes that you think of first when you think of Saab? Does Saab still radiate the same brand attributes now that they did when you first encountered the company? Are those attributes communicated clearly in Saab’s advertising, websites, publications, products?

On an official level, Saab’s core brand pillars are

  • progressive design,
  • responsible performance, and
  • sporty driver focus

Personally speaking, Saab means a number of things – driving fun, practicality, design, turbocharging and Scandinavian. I guess some of those relate to the official brand pillars, but I wonder how closely.

For me, picking one thing above all others, what resonates strongest is Scandinavian. Because I’ve visited Sweden (and loved the place) and because I like Swedish design and simplicity, the experience I’ve had with Saab cars really reflects their Scandinavian origin. They’re different.

Maybe different is the attribute that resonates with me the most and Scandinavian is a part of that? And maybe the fact that I can’t separate the two is indicative of some brand confusion?

——

Again – what does the Saab brand mean to you?

PIck the strongest single attribute that stands out for you, and a little bit about why.

zippy
Guest
zippy
5 years 9 months ago

Lagom

Saab’ have never been flashy and NEVER follows fashion. Scandinavian design is simple yet it always looks modern no matter how old a design is, yet somehow Scandinavian design is very easily identified as being Scandinavian. Its about being cool without having to shout about it from the rooftops. Kinda like the people who build our cars.

Thylmuc
Guest
Thylmuc
5 years 9 months ago

An engineered car, where importance is put to solutions to real problems, not to satisfying some drivers’ (unconscious) desire to put off.

zippy
Guest
zippy
5 years 9 months ago

Ewww, I like that!!!

Oscar, from Barcelona
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

I would not say “turbo”. Turbo is a technical solution, a clever implementation. Saab is about applying clever solutions, not an specific one.
Saab is about creating their own type of designs, not following trends.
Saab is about creating cars that outlive their times without looking dated.
Saab is about creating fine cars with no need to showing off, discreet but refined.
Clever cars for clever people? I would say so.

Daniel B
Guest
Daniel B
5 years 9 months ago

Oscar +1
“Saab is about applying clever solutions, not a specific one”

You are SPOT ON!

michi
Guest
michi
5 years 9 months ago

I tottaly agree Oscar!
Your comment totally clear up my clouded mind.

AGTMADCAT
Guest
AGTMADCAT
5 years 9 months ago

+1. This is what I tried to say in my rather wordier post below.

Tobbe
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

To me, Saab is safety and fun driving.
I love my Saab 9000 CSE 1997. This is a fun car to drive and i know its safe after a collision with a train back in 1996(Saab 9000 CC 1991).

hughw
Guest
hughw
5 years 9 months ago

A driver’s car. and most definitely something different from the crowd.

benrp
Guest
benrp
5 years 9 months ago
First of all I wouldn’t say that Lexus is the leading luxury brand, it doesn’t come close to BMW or Mercedies in sales. As for Saab I think the most importaint thing is that they are different or dare I say quirky. I like being able to drive a Saab and know their probably isn’t more than 10 in my city (at least I haven’t seen more than 10). I like knowing I am supporting an independent company that really does have a soul and isn’t affraid to do things a bit different. I also love the fact it is… Read more »
Quijote
Guest
Quijote
5 years 9 months ago

In the USA, until very recently, Lexus was the best selling luxury brand. Toyota’s image problem has trickled up towards Lexus, but to state Lexus “doesn’t come close” in incorrect.

benrp
Guest
benrp
5 years 9 months ago

Maybe in the US alone but globaly Lexus sold 319,294 in 2009 compared with BMW for example who sold 1,068,771 cars.

Quijote
Guest
Quijote
5 years 9 months ago

Yes, globally speaking Lexus doesn’t hold a candle to BMW or MB.

Chris
Guest
Chris
5 years 9 months ago

Saab cars always had a distinct personality.
For me Saab means safety, performance, imposing/commanding presence, sparkling/brilliant innovative ideas.

Ted Y
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

I’ll second that. Close to my thoughts.

Patrik B
Guest
Patrik B
5 years 9 months ago

When I think of SAAB I think about;
Safety
Turbo charging
Responsible performance (that is torque, massive torque!)
Ergonomic and driver oriented “cock-pit”
Innovative

And as practically any car from Skoda to BMW offers safe and turbo charged cars I don’t think that those values will make SAAB stand out from the crowd.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 9 months ago
I’d say as it relates to branding it’s all about individuality. Emphasis on catering to a more select customer who cares equally about design and engineering. I think as far as the auto industry is concerned, Mini has targeted the personality type of the Saab customer to a T. We are a light-hearted yet serious and intelligent crowd, and the marketing should reflect that spirit. Case in point: their new vending machine interactive billboard outside a hockey game in Canada. Come on! This is such a Saab place to be, hockey, interactive smart individually based marketing. Could SCNA just fire… Read more »
Me
Guest
Me
5 years 9 months ago

I must admit, it is a great interactive billboard.
I think some of the people may have tried all 9 Minis, just to see the cool animations 🙂

Bravada from GMI
Guest
5 years 9 months ago
I don’t think that Saab is only about turbos and safety. If the past marketing made anybody think so, it was bad marketing. I believe the recent ads sum up the Saab brand – how Saab sees it, and how I do see it as well – very well. INSPIRATION First and foremost, Saab is about being inspired. Saab has the drive to continually improve, review, reinvent and start from a clean sheet, to think outside the box and question the status quo. This is why Saab comes up with so many innovative solutions both big and small, and why… Read more »
Michael
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

I agree with you. It’s so. Well written.

Osama
Guest
Osama
5 years 9 months ago
Dear Auditor: There are several points that SAAB must look into: 1- Performance and Sports characteristics: It would be an excellent idea for SAAB to consider Change from Front Wheel Drive to Rear Wheel Drive, the same like BMW, Mercedes and other Rear wheel drive cars. 2- German Quality: Produce products of premium quality, quality similar to BMW, Mercedes and Audi, in terms of overall manufacturing quality, IN & OUT. 3- Japanese Reliability and Serviceability: SAAB has been a TROUBLE MAKER, and VERY expensive to maintain. Perhaps it would be a good idea to incorporate the Japanese characteristics in the… Read more »
Oscar, from Barcelona
Guest
Oscar, from Barcelona
5 years 9 months ago

Dear Osama,

I have a 900 NG, considered one of the worse Saabs in Saab’s history.

It is 14 years old and it have more than 210.000 km in its counter. It is the cheapest car to maintain. One maintenance service each year. I don’t even have to put water or oil in it to increase the levels from maintenance to maintenance! Talking about quality and reliability?

Thylmuc
Guest
Thylmuc
5 years 9 months ago

Re 1.: if Saab switched to RWD, I would be off. I deliberately exclude such cars from
purchase decisions. I consider oversteering dangerous, I don’t see advantages in winter, and quite frankly, I must admit that I don’t get the point of RWD at all. Better acceleration? Better balance? Never recognised.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 9 months ago

You probably never drove a RWD with mid-mounted engine?
I do agree, though, that for practical use (including snow, etc) nothing beats FWD. Although AWD (XWD or whatever) is even better it adds a lot more complexity an weight. For most practical purposes FWD is a very good compromise.
Unfortunately high torque FWD cars are not very good at putting all that power down, my Viggen is a good example. Luckily, in real life, we don’t do much traffic light racing.

Rune
Guest
Rune
5 years 9 months ago

FWD cars are not very good at putting all that power down

In that specific scenario you mention, traffic light racing, this is definitively the case.

But that is (as you say) a very limited part of most motorists’ life. Does the Viggen have problems putting all that power down when you accelerate from 80-200?

I managed to spin my front wheels on my 9000 earlier this year, going 90 kph in fifth gear, but the tyres were from 1992 and it was on a snow covered hill.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 9 months ago
Sure, overtaking acceleration is a blast. Also carving on mountain roads is addictive with the constant turbo boost. But accelerating from a standstill with high torque FWD is just frustrating. Physics takes the weight off the front wheels and wheel spin or wheel hopping will occur. The wheel spin just destroys your expensive high speed tires, I go through a pair per year. Excessive wheel hopping will destroy your clutch. Saab ‘fixes’ this problem by limiting the available torque in first and second gear, but the problem is still rather severe. I know how to live with it, but its… Read more »
Rune
Guest
Rune
5 years 9 months ago

Gerrit, what about the old trick of changing directly from first to third? With all that torque you should still have a decent acceleration then..?

Even my 9000 gets back heavy while accelerating from stand still. It is very noticable.

Have you tried the TurboX? 😉 (Viggen and TurboX are both on my list of cars I’d love to try)

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 9 months ago

“Have you tried the TurboX? ”

Nope, looks too much like a normal car. We’ll keep the 9-5 and the Viggen, but there is a Porsche Boxster in my near future. I’ll be old and feeble by the time that Saab produces something similar. Want to have some fun before I die.

Michael
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

That’s not true. I drive Saabs since 1980 and it’s the best brand for me. My first Saab 96 has been the best car which I owned. I took over 450 000 km without any accident or engine damage. Second was Saab 99. The same story. Oil change every 10 000 km and fuel. It’s all. I drive 900NG cabrio ( 16 years old ) today and it’s the same story. It’s today the same story – oil change and fuel only. In the case the car would get what it need it’s cheap to maintain. I agree with Oscar.

Edonis
Guest
Edonis
5 years 9 months ago
1) If Saab switched to RWD, I would jump ship. I would have to get an XWD-version, but that would be overkill, as all I really need is a good FWD to get up the snowy hills around where I live. 2&3) Yes, I’d like Saab to improve on the percieved quality, ie. the quality of the materials used in the interior. But having had in total four Saabs in my immediate family, I’ve never encountered any problems. I’ve found Saabs to be pretty reliable, although perhaps not the cheapest to service. 4)This might be the case now, but it… Read more »
OddJob
Guest
OddJob
5 years 9 months ago

Dear Osama

YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY IN THE WRONG FORUM.

Toby
Guest
Toby
5 years 9 months ago

What?
My og9-3 has never had anything go wrong with it in 10 years-the Saab guy at my garage says is just somethhing that seems to happen to these MY2000 9-3’s…nothing other than tyres, fuel, oil that’s it. oh and a bulb went once.
Its quicker than my friends Audi A4 vert 3.2 v6 and does 10mpg more.
it goes in the snow when everyone else is stuck apart from Landrovers.
She torque steers a little but you get used to that and can account for it easily enough.
Front or XWD-whatever is the way forward…go rear …I’m out.

Jim
Guest
Jim
5 years 9 months ago
I have argued that Saab is about Scandanavian design, efficient performance, durability and value. A Saab is a car designed to last 20 years, look great and perform well. The interesting thing about Saab today is, it is a brand without the product it truly deserves. The 9-5 is a good _start_ and we should be glad for it. The 9-4X will also be good enough. A 9-3 truly living up to the Saab brand is going to place the brand in an influential position. Saab is mostly an idea, not a car lineup. The lineup will develop over the… Read more »
Pat
Guest
Pat
5 years 9 months ago

That was a great video, he had some really good points.

Saab to me is an alternative to the big 3, and soon to be fighting amongst them.

Me
Guest
Me
5 years 9 months ago

In the past Saab was for me
SIMPLICITY in design.
Saab is part of that Scandinavian design culture where 1 line is enough where others need half a dozen, and if they are Italian then they need almost 20 lines. 😉

but since 2010 Saab for me is

INDEPENDENCE
We live in a corporate world, where almost every aspect of our lives is controlled (at least they try, and they try hard) by a big corporation.

Not to say that I love the Slogan they used in Paris
Discover the power of independence. 🙂

Boby
Guest
Boby
5 years 9 months ago

Fun and distinctiveness (is there such a word???).

I guess I do not really have to explain why :).

Nils
Guest
Nils
5 years 9 months ago
As a Scandinavian, I will always associate the brand Saab with the literal meaning of the word Saab= “Svenska Aeroplan AB” (Swedish for “Swedish Aeroplane Company Limited”). This implies aviation heritage. This heritage implies aerodynamic and clean design, without following the trends or mainstream in the automotive industry. Also I expect excellent (cockpit) ergonomics and seats. Otherwise I associate Saab with numerous safety inventions, such as front light wipers, and the big bumpers of the 99’s of the 1970s. Or the solid beam to secure the back seat rest in the NG 900 and OG 9-3. How many other cars… Read more »
Stumpie
Guest
5 years 9 months ago
I’ve always liked Saab, but only a year ago I bought my first one, a 9000 CS 2.3T. But I do have some thoughts on the point Mr Riese makes. On the left side of my brain there’s words like: – Safe – Power – Reliabiltiy – Driver Experience On the right side of my brain there’s: – Swedish (as in friendly, progressive) – Community (of owners) – Independence (without being flashy) – Heritage The problem is, currently the brand isn’t leveraging on this. So, am I outdated in my brand-perception, or is the brand failing to notice what’s going… Read more »
Bravada
Guest
5 years 9 months ago
Oh no, I just wasted six minutes of my precious life on watching the Al Ries crap. Al Ries topped himself with stuffing as much bollocks, awfully wrong and untrue statements, reduction of actually complex matters to totally absurd truthiness as he could, while removing any bit of substance. He looks so tired with reiterating the same crapola over and over again over the decades he looks borderline senile trying to make it through the vid. He is the tireless Amway salesperson – you admire his perservance in the midst of adversity, but you don’t want him on your doorstep.… Read more »
Tomas TL1000R
Guest
Tomas TL1000R
5 years 9 months ago

You got stepped on toes there did´nt you!

You are saying that the man did´nt have any right in what he said……..please!

Bravada from GMI
Guest
5 years 9 months ago
He absolutely didn’t. There is a marked difference between Coca-Cola (which is pure branding), Starbucks (which is customer experience and lifestyle perception) and cars (which are consumer durables and thus the product DOES matter a lot). Now, GM’s problem since mid-1980s was the product, most obviously evident in the North American market, but the results of low product development funding and contrived decision processes crept to other subsidiaries as well (GM’s lack of global integration, which is largely responsible for limping its profitability and ability to bring out great products, shielded the “overseas” subsidiaries quite a bit, including Saab). Despite… Read more »
benrp
Guest
benrp
5 years 9 months ago

True. I think Hyundai and I think cheap **** but they have grown a lot over the years and as much as it pains me to say it, its because of their product. Sure branding is importaint but most people arn’t going to spend thousants on a car based only on brand, they will compare.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas
5 years 9 months ago

Bravada, fantastic comment I loved reading it.

ivo 71
Guest
ivo 71
5 years 9 months ago

I have to say, having watched Ries and read Bravada, that I agree with most of Bravada’s points. That’s from a professional (i.e. a copywriter’s) point of view. The packaging of Al Ries’ thoughts and ideas is excellent -and I truly admire that aspect- but the content leaves a lot, if not all, to be desired.

Ivo

Curvin O'Rielly
Guest
Curvin O'Rielly
5 years 9 months ago
Bravada… Sorry you think you wasted your time watching the Ries video. Me? I’ve been reading his columns in Advertising Age for years. While I haven’t agreed with every word he’s written, most of his columns fall into the category of “applied common sense,” especially when he writes about cars. The intrinsic value of a car – why and how well it performs its utilitarian functions – is an important part of the marketing equation, but it’s only part of it. The more mystical part of the equation, a car’s extrinsic value, is really just a foggy cloud of vapor… Read more »
RS
Guest
RS
5 years 9 months ago

Curvin, how about ”Nordic automotive excellence” for Saab?

Bravada
Guest
5 years 9 months ago
If Einstein’s brilliant thought was on a figurative billboard, Al Ries has whizzed past it many decades ago, at full speed. He is the epitome of oversimplyfing what requires more thought. A slogan won’t fix Saab’s perception and marketing woes. But it would boost Al’s retirement kitty. Oh, and he’s the most off-base when he writes about cars and other complex products – he is more or less on the ball with FMCG, based on the window of opportunity he had to work on a few big projects for the sector in the 1970s. I almost feel like composing a… Read more »
Kurt Schirm
Guest
5 years 9 months ago
I agree 100%. I found his analysis to be simplistic garbage that was very inaccurate in which he took liberties to claim what certain products stand for to the general consumer base in addition to claiming that certain companies were the clear victors in product quality. Both of which were completely without foundation. He also never took into consideration that 1) years of consistent product quality helped build the brand image in the case of Toyota and conversely that years of poor product impaired the image of GM; 2) that other factors effect a brand’s success, like “Place” or distribution,… Read more »
Curvin O'Rielly
Guest
Curvin O'Rielly
5 years 9 months ago
Bravada… Believe me, I’m not promoting Ries, especially as someone who’s going to swoop in and write a tagline/slogan that’ll put Saab on the road to recovery, mainly because he isn’t a copywriter. In any case, don’t be so quick to dismiss the value of a tagline/slogan. A good one – “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” for example, or “The Most Intelligent Car Ever Built” – builds short-term interest and long-term value. For what it’s worth, I worked on the BMW and Saab advertising accounts so I know chapter and verse of their case histories. Kurt… “What if…” is an interesting… Read more »
matsvbg
Guest
matsvbg
5 years 9 months ago
I tend to think about the word “understated” or “more than meets the eye” A Saab is not one of those cars that you instantly on a short test drive think is superspecial…it’s when you live with it and take the time to find the things like the double sun shades, sit in the seats for 5-6 hours and just drive drive drive and arrive feeling…well fresh thanks to the outstanding ergonomics of the seats. Its when you drive to IKEA and find to your surprise that you did manage to get all the stuff your sigificant other bought into… Read more »
Daniel B
Guest
Daniel B
5 years 9 months ago
To me Saab is a brand that makes cars that are: Innovative -Full with smart ideas and new solutions to problems you experience using, driving and living with cars. ( think heated seats, headlamp washers, etc etc -there have been many in the history of Saab!) Functional -Every aspect of the car should be functional. Design CAN be and IS VERY apealing even if it is fuctional (think hatchback OG900, lower section of doors OG900) Driver focused -The cars shoul be communicative, predictable, fun to drive, relaxing to drive and with NO FUSS around the driver (think Night Panel, wrap… Read more »
Troels, Denmark
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

In my opinion very few cars – and other objects – are designed real progressive. Which – in my opinion – includes REAL and substantial reasons for every decision and detail. Most car-makers chooses to follow trends and sales-statistics instead – or are just trying to be different in the design (shape of car) for the sake of being different – which is just as bad (and non-progressive) as following the others just to do so…

Christofer
Guest
Christofer
5 years 9 months ago
Well to me SAAB stands for Safety and cars with a good balance between fun driving and comfort and practicality. There are more things as well but these are always the first things that I think of when people ask me why I like SAAB. There are not many cars on the market where you can drive 500-600km and still feel refreshed when you arrive. So I really hope that SAAB will keep comfort and practicality together with performance and safety high on the priority list. I do not want the result to be a stiff car that handles great… Read more »
900pur
Guest
900pur
5 years 9 months ago

intelligent

Saab build cars which satisfy your brain, it’s the “intelligent” choice.

Tomas TL1000R
Guest
Tomas TL1000R
5 years 9 months ago
Well! This site have done more to my lock at Saab than I proberbly thought it would do. But to me Saab is the underdog with the turbo engines, good locking and Swedish with good engineering. The history of aeroplanes are important (J29, J32, J35, J37, J39). I like the David/Goliat perspective. And I hope that it says something about me “Aha you drive a Saab” To me that stands for smoothness, overtaking, fast cornering and a good look. But balanced with importent responsibility as safe and that Saab care about me in details. For me it´s national pride and… Read more »
Me
Guest
Me
5 years 9 months ago

For me it´s national pride and the thought that our cars are good enough for me. I don´t want anything better then this, We are a small country and should be proud about ourselves and what we are able to achieve.

I would be so nice if more and more swedes would embrace this thought. I mean, sometimes I get the impression some Swedes do not know what great products are engineered in Sweden.

ARUK
Guest
ARUK
5 years 9 months ago

“For me it´s national pride and the thought that our cars are good enough for me. I don´t want anything better then this, We are a small country and should be proud about ourselves and what we are able to achieve”.

Q.E.D

Robert J
Guest
Robert J
5 years 9 months ago

To me Saab is an expression of independece.

Henk-Jan
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

To me, SAAB stands for a classy, slightly exclusive, safe and solid car. So it has to look good, in a form follows function manner nonetheless (it has to be practical), and it has to feel solid and reliable.

USAaber
Guest
USAaber
5 years 9 months ago
Henk-Jan: I have to grab one of the words from you – SOLID. It was the word that came to my mind and I was searching the comments to see if anyone had mentioned it. To me, it has a lot of different meanings: Solid – the feeling of shutting the doors, no tin-can “plunk” sound. Solid – the feeling of the steering feedback when you drive it with gusto. Solid – the pull of the engine when the turbo kicks in. Solid – the brakes, brings you to a safe stop every time. Solid – the design, it is… Read more »
GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 9 months ago

Yep, SOLID like as in confidence building, not like as in weight (my biggest gripe with the new 9-5, I’m sorry to say).

Alex
Guest
Alex
5 years 9 months ago

Soul.
Not meaning just the car but the brand. I’m not sure how it’s outside Trollhättan but here anyway SAAB is everything. You don’t ask if someone have boght a new car. You ask about his new SAAB. It’s so natural.

Rune
Guest
Rune
5 years 9 months ago
Family To me, my Saabs are part of my family. There’s the small details, like the handly little pouch on the front side of my seat to keep my garage port opener safe (I kept the previous one in the door pocket and accidentally vacuumed it) and the night panel to reduce eye stress at night, and so on… Then there’s the safety aspect. It has enough power to safely propell me past several slow moving vehicles (today I passed a tractor trailed by two-three cars and a big lorry — they were stuck — I wasn’t). And if push… Read more »
Zizou
Guest
Zizou
5 years 9 months ago

Uniqueness, individuality, safety, independence, being different…
Saab means so many different things to me, to pick a single attribute is just impossible!

What I can say is that it is somehow more than a car, though (unable to explain in a few words)
To summarize it (and this is what I tell most people how ask why I am driving a SAAB):

I drive Saab, all the others just cars…

Troels, Denmark
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

Everything is done for a reason: From every line and detail in the design. having a meaning for the main-shape to the great number of innovations – some low-tech, some high-tech – benefiting the well-being and the safety of the driver. Meaning, purpose and sense over tradition and fashion!

turbokalle
Guest
turbokalle
5 years 9 months ago
This is a seriously difficult question and an oh so important one. This is my view on the matter. Saab can`t be “the drivers car”. BMW owns that. Saab can`t be “the luxury comfortable car”. Mercedes owns that. Saab can´t be “the safe and reliable car from Sweden”. Volvo owns that. Saab can`t be “the rock solid quality car”. Audi owns that. To take the most important examples. Now, does BMW make un luxury, un comfortable, un safe and un reliable cars? No, of course not. They actually are on par if not better in these respects than their rivals.… Read more »
Stumpie
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

@turbokalle: I’d say there’s a real danger in marketing being different for the sake of being different. But Swedish Different might work. The basis of the brand awarenes might then just boil down to ‘Standing out from the crowd” without being flashy.

Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes will never be able to achieve that. Not with their current products anyway. Those are for corporate people. Saab’s for independent thinkers. Hmm, nice niche to be in, I think.

benrp
Guest
benrp
5 years 9 months ago

Swedishly independent perhaps?

Börjesson
Guest
Börjesson
5 years 9 months ago
Does Audi really have a rep as a “rock solid quality car”? That’s more of a Mercedes trait, isn’t it? Or at least it used to be up until 20 years or so ago, before they started cheating on materials and build. And there’s a reason why so many taxis are MB – they can take the mileage. I’m not sure what Audi’s niche really is, but I don’t think it’s about “rock solid”. Maybe their niche is “Vorsprung durch Technik”, whatever that means. As for your list of qualities, I’d say Saab is, or at least aspires to be,… Read more »
Me
Guest
Me
5 years 9 months ago

“Vorsprung durch Technik” means something like Advantage through technology
Audi really thinks that they are technology driven. They try to be the first with any innovation, but many times they fail. 😉

turbokalle
Guest
turbokalle
5 years 9 months ago

@ the Saab safety. Indeed you are right. Saab is probably the safest car in the bunch.
@ owning a niche. Thats my point. They are all pretty good at all the qualities listed. Many cars are. Thats why I belive you need to “own” a niche. Now, there are no prefabricated list of car niches to go choose from. Saab has to create its own, or atleast streamline theirs. As Stumpie mentioned, boil it down a tad.

Börjesson
Guest
Börjesson
5 years 9 months ago

OK, so let’s boil it down to a single word then: Balance. Saab is by far the most balanced car on the market. A balance extremist. A car for all seasons. The Leonardo da Vinci of the auto world. [i]Vehiculum sum, vehiculi nihil a me alienum puto.[/i]

Or lets annex the Swedish word [i]lagom[/i], as peeceepeh suggested. That’s just about as Swedish as it gets. It’s usually translated as “just the right amount”, neither too much nor too little. Saab owns the [i]lagom[/i] niche!

turbokalle
Guest
turbokalle
5 years 9 months ago

If Saab owns the “lagom” niche, I will not buy another Saab in my life. 😉
Toyota is “lagom” for me.

Börjesson
Guest
Börjesson
5 years 9 months ago

To me, Toyota is not lagom at all. They’re nowhere near “just the right amount” when it comes to style, drivability and fun. They have no focus at all on any of those qualities. Instead, they have more than their fair share of “boring”.

Still, you make a good point. Maybe the word lagom isn’t ideal as a brand identifier, since it doesn’t seem to have only positive values. For some, it can apparently mean “lukewarm”.

So I guess we’re back to balanced again. Are there any useful synonyms?

Edonis
Guest
Edonis
5 years 9 months ago

Audi = rock solid quality?

Only when it comes to the INTERIOR quality of the materials, this is where they excel. Especially the Audis from about 5 years ago were awful when it came to reliability, and it was even worse with the A4 (B5). Anyone remember the 2.5TDI in the A6 and Allroad? The 1.8T petrol wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of reliability either..

peeceepeh
Guest
peeceepeh
5 years 9 months ago
I like the word “balanced”. On the other hand, it is English, not Swedish. But Saab is Swedish, and that is an important fact to many customers. So, I’d prefer a Swedish equivalent. I realize “lagom” has some negative connotations within Sweden or even Scandinavia. But it is a word completely unkown to the rest of the world. Establishing a Swedish word all over the world would help people to identify it. Like Audi did with their “Vorsprung durch Technik”. They didn’t bother to translate it, because most probably they wanted the customer to immediately recognize that Audi is German.… Read more »
yanagik
Guest
yanagik
5 years 9 months ago

Unique design inside and out.

akzero
Guest
akzero
5 years 9 months ago
Beauty really is in the eye of the be-holder. My first Saab came to me in 1987. It was a 1982 Saab 900T. It was replacing two bad rollover experiences I recently had been in. I don’t remember why I had picked the brand other than I did research and it was one of the safest cars out there and I thought it looked cool. Upon first reading the headline of this article: “What does the Saab brand mean to you?” The first word that entered my mind… different. The car was different than anything I had driven and that… Read more »
74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 9 months ago

For me, Saab is different. There are some running around where I live, but we Saabers are heavily outnumbered by BMW, Mercedes and lexus by a long shot.

Saab is passion. During the dark, unknown days when Saab struggled to stay alive, we were all watching the employees rally around JAJ when he came to the plant. Go on youtube and watch the assembly line videos….
Saab cars are built by people who enjoy building cars, thats passion baby.

Also, Saab’s aviation heritage is a big turn on for me.I sincerely hope they continue incorporating aircraft inspiration.

peeceepeh
Guest
peeceepeh
5 years 9 months ago
For me, it’ll be “precis lagom” – that’s Swedish “for just about right”. I guess that is what people mean when say talk about that a Saab design grows you. It’s not outbursting at the first moment, maybe you even feel some sort of disappointment in the first place (I did when I first entered my ’03 9-3). But then you get to know it, understand it, admire it (now I am so used to the color combination of green tick marks and the pinkish needle on my dash board that I am experiencing difficulties sitting in another car). And… Read more »
Börjesson
Guest
Börjesson
5 years 9 months ago

What he said.

J Fan
Guest
J Fan
5 years 9 months ago

I just thought they looked cool, often had a ‘turbo’ badge, were safe, had unique seats and could carry a Christmas Tree or my bike with the boot closed. I think it’s fair to say that my opinion of Saab was mostly formed when I was about 5 years old.

Out of the current Saabs, I think the 9-3 SC is closest to my idea of a Saab.

Talladegan
Guest
Talladegan
5 years 9 months ago

My primary brand pillar for Saab is..

“The Thinking Man’s Choice”

Jan Eric Koch
Guest
Jan Eric Koch
5 years 9 months ago

Saab is a brand; individual design – turbo – safe – addictive

spidaman
Guest
spidaman
5 years 9 months ago

I was going to write “Intelligent Design,” but just noticed Range Rover is “Powered by Intelligence”. However, what drives me to Saab, over and over again, is the great balance between safety, performance and utility (esp. hatchbacks!).

zippy
Guest
zippy
5 years 9 months ago

You forgot the second part of that motto….”often breaks down!”. 😉

Talladegan
Guest
Talladegan
5 years 9 months ago

is Turbo really Saab’s any more now that just about every brand uses them, particularly every diesel engine out there?

I know and cherish the fact that Saab pioneered mass market turbocharging in cars but it isn’t a differentiator any more is it?

Kanundrum
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

I think everyone is over complicating things. The video looks at it from a marketing point of view. You can’t say intelligent and safer from a marketing point of view. But you can say individuality and different. In a sea of boring buisness saloons you have a saab that stands out because they are just plain and simple different.

Think of the top gear episode where Richard Hammond reviewed the Maloo and barthurst edition vxrs

Talladegan
Guest
Talladegan
5 years 9 months ago

+1

Caleuche_Rico
Guest
Caleuche_Rico
5 years 9 months ago
It is a difficult question, and if you drive Saab for many decades, the question gets more difficult to answer. When I started driving Saab at the end of the 70s, Saab was a real different car to many others with a lot of technical details and solutions. You felt sovereign by driving a safety car with a unique design and with a very good image (speaking for Germany). At that time the Saab heritage was well known. A lot of people remembered the Saab 96 winning the Rally Monte Carlos with Eric Carlson. My car at that time: Saab… Read more »
MarkoA
Guest
MarkoA
5 years 9 months ago

To me it is the Swedish design. It contains so many things like:
– functionality
– simplicity
– scandinavian style
– weather proven
– ergonomics
and so on..

This, to me is Swedish design and that´s what Saab is about.

Andy Rupert
Guest
5 years 9 months ago
My first SAAB was an 8-valve C900. The different factor was what hooked me: the look, seats, rounded windshield, placement of steering wheel, and ignition between the seats. Turbo didn’t hapen until my third car. While I like turbo, I think the different-ness is the biggest thing that makes SAAB desirable. __________ I work at a Volvo dealership and enjoy the cars. But I must say that the NAUGHTY campaign is not to my liking. I think they are trying to say that Volvo is more than just a safe car; it’s also one you’ll get a speeding ticket in,… Read more »
eadams
Guest
eadams
5 years 9 months ago

+1 … Volvo’s naughty campaign stinks … IMHO, of course.

J Fan
Guest
J Fan
5 years 9 months ago
Yep, the naughty thing is so stupid, it actually upsets me. We’re a Volvo house you see… And what’s going on with the V60/S60? Maybe you can clarify this for me. The V60 has no space in the boot, as Volvo admits – they say you should buy the V70 and that the V60 has a coupe-like design and is naughty etc. So, therefore, is the V60’s closest competition not from the… S60?!!? Which is also ‘naughty’ and ‘coupe like’ and seemingly aimed at the same people..! At least with the old S60/V70 there was a distinct difference between the… Read more »
Andy Rupert
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

Yes, it is quite odd (that word again) that the V60 has so little extra space. We’ve not gotten them in the USA yet, but I’ve read the reviews from Europe. I think the idea is that the S40/V50 will be done away with and the S60/V60 will take their place. If so, the V60 probably does as good a job at extra space as the V50 which was quite small. In any event, I’d be happy if SAAB brought back the C900 hatch.

Daniel B
Guest
Daniel B
5 years 9 months ago

Hi Andy,

In Sweden the motorjournos are really complaining about the fact that the V60 is SMALLER in the boot than the V50…
I checked a V60 out last weekend and compared to my fatherinlaws V50 it was….. welll how do I put it..? Like an old BMW 3-series… To get a golfbag in there was a stretch…
My OG 9-5 SC Griffin wil do juuuuust fine 🙂

J Fan
Guest
J Fan
5 years 9 months ago

That’s a pity if they get rid of the S40/V50 in favour of a 5-door C30, if from what I’ve heard is correct. The S40/V50 is, in my view, exactly the kind of car that Volvo should be making, with a small MPV of the Zafira/Scenic mould in there as well. What mother would be able to turn down an MPV with a low price, high driving position, and a Volvo (read SAFE) badge on the front in which to put her little ones? 🙂

Me
Guest
Me
5 years 9 months ago

Buy a C-Max.
Wasn’t Volvo in charge of the C-Platform ?
(C30, S40, V50, Focus, C-Max,….)

J Fan
Guest
J Fan
5 years 9 months ago

But… I’m suggesting what Volvo should do, not what the mother should do 🙂 My point is that Volvo should have had their C Max because it would have sold like hot-cakes instead of only offering the high-end XC cars to larger families.

Me
Guest
Me
5 years 9 months ago

Nevertheless, if you need such a car the C-MAX is the nearest to a small Volvo MPV you can get. Ford has also done some badge engineering in the past 😉

Troels, Denmark
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

Sometimes very correct and polite (I didnt say boring…) persons feel some kind of honour being called naughty.. – just to prove they are not boring …
(So I´m not getting upset by the Volvo-campaign – just find it ridicolous – like when Toytoa call themselves fantastic..)

Smithy
Guest
5 years 9 months ago
Their ‘move your mind’ concept is what catches me. I say individuality. To be able to see yourself in the things your purchasing. Cause in the end I believe a small amount of SU readers only see cars as transporting vehicles taking you from point A to destination B – they look at cars and specifically Saab as an integrated part of their lives. I have a related question here to share. Do any of you take a ride with no specific goal other than the actual driving? Cruising on the highway, late, with a Saab 9-3 Convertible playing the… Read more »
RMinNJ
Guest
RMinNJ
5 years 9 months ago
My first Saab was a 1992 base 900 (C900).. 2 door, no turbo, no leather. But I did buy the big rubber wing for back…had to have that to complete the look. Guess I have to agree with the simplicity slogan. What got me when checking out my first Saab was: a.) No controls on the doors…window switches and ignition in the middle. This told me the designers knew something and thought it important enough not to follow the rest of the industry. b.) The heated seats coming standard on the base model. Really the only option I could get… Read more »
RobC
Guest
RobC
5 years 9 months ago

I.C.E.

Innovative, Complete, Ecological.

JeremyP
Guest
JeremyP
5 years 9 months ago
I don’t think one thing makes a Saab or gives enough creedence to the complexity of an automobile. I often think it may sound like daming with faint praise, but it is the balance and overall combination of features/advantages/benefits that make it a good choice for many people. Not a prius, but fuel efficient given the level of car; not a race car, but quick in its own right especially when you need it most; not a school bus, but good interior and storage space; not as luxurious as a Jaguar (not that I want that anyway) but well appointed… Read more »
Talladegan
Guest
Talladegan
5 years 9 months ago

“Not a leader in any one thing except perhaps safety, but a viable performer on many levels”

I think you summed it up. But unfortunately I don’t think that sells cars any more, as they are emotional purchases these days too. You nailed it though I think!

Troels, Denmark
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

designleader – after all.. (for daring being honest and not a trend-runner)

Niklas D
Guest
Niklas D
5 years 9 months ago

Off topic: ***Sales data Denmark***

November:
9-3 – 28 (16)
9-3x – 5 (0)
9-5 – 15 (4)
Total – 48 (20)

YTD:
9-3 – 137 (102)
9-3x – 5 (0)
9-5 – 58 (101)
9-7x – 1 (0)
Saab? – 1 (2)
Total – 202 (205)

Per
Guest
Per
5 years 9 months ago

Saab, not just a part you own, but a part of you.

saabdude
Guest
saabdude
5 years 9 months ago

One word…uniqueness.

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