Setting the Story Straight

Anyone who reads about Saab on a regular basis has encountered an article that makes them cringe. Sometimes it’s because of a biased opinion, sometimes it’s from a lack of information, but the most cringeworthy articles are the ones that outright misrepresent facts. My new mission for all SU commenters: call out these BS artists and school them.

To be fair, most of the press Saab has been receiving since they became independent has been very fair. They point out the fact that Saab is struggling to gain its footing but all in all managing very well given all that they’re juggling. Most are optimistic about Saab’s financial situation, and while cautioning buyers, they don’t outright tell them not to buy the car (except for overly conservative Consumer Reports who thinks you should be driving a Camry or Accord nearly every year going back to my childhood). The recent 9-4X press drive went so well that I’ve actually yet to see a negative review, it was universally heralded as one of the best all around CUVs in its class.

But even when the article is positive, if it’s been posted online, scroll down into the comments and you’ll notice serious negativity almost always. While a few dedicated Saab drivers will defend the company, for some reason others love to kick the underdog when they’re down. The most recent Autoblog article about the 9-4X was one of the best I’ve read, and if a potential buyer were to stumble onto it and seriously consider buying one, they’d most likely also take a good hard look at what others were saying about it in comments. I asked readers to police the thread, and you’ve all done a fine job of it. One particular BMW loving fan, simianspeedster expressed the typical opinion of most Saab naysayers– that the company is in a poor financial position so it isn’t worth buying one. Nevermind that it’s the most car you can get for your money and is warrantied better than an Audi or BMW– because of rumors and innuendo, Saab seems like a crapshoot. It’s time we started to fight falsehoods with truth, that you simply can’t come close to the value proposition that the Saab 9-4X offers in the midsize CUV segment no matter how hard you try. SU regular Steve C. did a great job as a brand ambassador in comments on Autoblog:

Autoblog’s and many of the other independent reviews paint a very positive picture of the Saab 9-4X. Thinking about those reviews and some of the more spirited commentary here, I have to conclude that Saab has produced another vehicle that lives up to it’s brand promise. I’m not just talking about the visual design continuities of the brand in this CUV, I’m referring to how Saab integrates an appealing balance of many attributes in a great looking design.

When you look at all the comparative dimensions of the 9-4X with larger and smaller CUV/SUVs it could complete with, the value for the money factor is really incredible. Sure, another vehicle could be better in a particular dimension but the total package for the money is a real draw. Some of the spirited commentary makes it apparent that you have to normalize the comparative dimensions to really understand what you get with a 9-4X.

For example, the greater weight of a larger vehicle can produce slower 0-60 times and poorer EPA fuel mileage. Despite problems with how well EPA drive-cycle test number represent real-world fuel mileage, a prospective buyer can certainly figure out if fuel mileage and acceleration is consistent with other brands of similar dimensions. A test drive can certainly provide a good impression of several dynamic dimensions! I recall reading in a review that if someone wants pure performance over everything else, they will buy the BMW. If they are looking for a blend of a number of dimensions, they will pick the best fit, especially if there are many appeals.

As to comments about the risk of buying a 9-4X given the risk of Saab’s survival, there is a built-in contingency. While I believe Saab will survive and soon thrive, just remember that this vehicle will be supported over many years regardless of Saab’s survival. And, even a Cadillac dealer will be able to service the vehicle in the long-run if it came to that.

So, if you are in the market for a CUV, do your homework and take a test drive. You’ll probably be convinced if what Saab is offering is what you are looking for. It is your choice.

Get over to Autoblog and write your own two to three paragraph comment of why you think Saab is a better value, is worth buying, and why you’re convinced the company is not only going to survive but will be secure in the near future.

Next up we have two articles from The Detroit Free Press by Mark Phelan.  In the first article, he speaks briefly with Tim Colbeck about Saab’s hopeful future and how they’re learning important lessons on their way to profitability. Short, but good article. Stay tuned to SaabsUnited in the next week or so for an actual interview with new information straight from Tim Colbeck’s mouth ;). However, the second article isn’t quite as based in reality as the first. I wouldn’t call it outright lying, maybe just shoddy or quick research. Mark’s basic argument is that while the 9-5 is a great car, its sticker prices are too high, something I completely agree with him on. The problem is, Saabs haven’t been selling at sticker for a long, long time. Why Saab doesn’t lower their sticker prices to more accurately reflect dealer pricing is beyond me, but the least Mark could have done was to check a local Detroit dealer or do a basic search online to find out what the cars are actually selling for. When you look on cars.com, you’ll find this new 9-5 Turbo4 Auto for $32,850 (sticker $40,700). Perhaps he should at least update the article and critique Saab’s pricing strategy, but not their actual prices. At least then his arguments would be based in reality.

The basic point I have is that we all need to do our part to correct falsehoods spread by people who just don’t know better. It reminds me of this recurring segment from SNL, starring news expert Anthony Crispino. All of his news is second or third hand, but he recites it as though it’s always truth. If there’s no one to set the story straight, you can see just how twisted a story can get. Like it or not, as SU readers it’s our job more than anyone else’s to make sure we correct the errors we see and spread the truth that Saab is on the right track.

Romac
Member
5 years 4 months ago
The basic point I have is that we all need to do our part to correct falsehoods spread by people who just don’t know better. I did do a little to counter negative comments by sim*, and at least didn’t get flamed by him/her! However, I hope you’re not advising people to search out and flame people like this. I don’t see arguments like that in comments as being constructive generally. It can give undue exposure to negative comments and start a flame-war that begins to get personal, often due to misunderstandings. Sure, state FACTS, but don’t rise to the… Read more »
Belfast_Saab
Member
5 years 4 months ago

+1
correct mis-statments or errors, share enthusiasm and draw out the positives, but don’t get into repeetitive arguments with the naysayers who have little else to do – you’ll never win against them and you risk giving them more exposure than they deserve. On sites like Car, these guys are well know and most commentators have learned to ignore them …..

Phoenix
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Agree

phermansson
Member
5 years 4 months ago

+1 Great initiative Jeff!

jet black
Member
5 years 4 months ago

I have stopped reading comments on internet forums (except here on SU of course 🙂 ), because I always got upset by ignorant and uneducated commentators who have an opinion on everything, but no knowledge of anything.
Let’s face it, there are many frustrated and/or jealous id***s out there who have nothing else to do than writing silly comments on internet forums. It’s so easy to give vent to your frustrations when you’re hiding behind a computer screen.
I understand your point Jeff, but I personally don’t attach too much importance to that kind of comments.

whoozy2002
Guest
5 years 4 months ago

Sticker pricing needs immediate clarification. Australian reviews of the 9-5 generally agree that the pricing is way out and advise to look for value elsewhere. Online reviews – social media mean the Australian dealers are getting little foot traffic thereby finding it difficult to convert enquiries into sales. On a positive some Australian dealers have reduced the 9.3ss to under $40k driveaway, the 9.5 vector would benefit from similar action [>$70k driveavay? hirsch ecu upgrade?]. The placement of one model of the 9-4x in each Australian dealership should generate foot traffic and may benefit future sales.

Jonas Axelsson
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Well since this seems to be an invitation to speak your mind I will. This very blog has been guilty of printing so many half truths that I stopped using it as a source. If you can put in print as you did the other day Antonov’s plea for reason why did you not call him to task on his hired mouthpiece. Do not expect me to believe that Antonov did not approve or know what vitrol Carlstrom was spewing forth? He hired the man and paid him I an sure quite a few pieces of silver to sling mud… Read more »
SAAB_Andee
Member
5 years 4 months ago

with all respect – SAAB is no charity for americans who “want” to drive a saab and can´t afford it.
There are enough rabates , and loyality bonuses and you get really bargains.
Don´t blame VM – SAAB has to make profit – They cannot afford to give SAABs for free away.

And what is a resonable price for you ???

Jonas Axelsson
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Well, you mean disrespect and though it is no business of yours, I can pretty much afford what I please. I went to Saab out of a loyalty that probably dates back to before you were a gleam in your fathers eye. Watching this company spin down and by the way with tons of 2010 cars still on my dealers lot, your comment is a joke. A company must make a product that people will buy, and I BUY I do not lease, the local BMW dealer has no problem nor does Mercedes (despite poor reviews), have a hard time.… Read more »
Khrisdk
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Just for comparison with US pricing.
I bought my MY2002 OG9-3 used at 127.000 km for 29.300 USD her in Denmark.
In 2008 that would have been the equivalent of 31.500 USD
Right now the exchange rate gives a price of 28.500 USD.

That’s just flux in exchange rates.

I still don’t think that the US market is the best market for Saab unless for the 9-4x.

Did I mention that I also buy my cars Cash 🙂

mike saunders
Member
5 years 4 months ago

New car pricing =/= used car pricing 😉

New Saabs are overpriced new (based on sticker price, of course) but are AMAZING values as used cars. 😉

Jonas Axelsson
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Look at the across the board sales. I would judge the UK market as perhaps one of the stronger markets and they too are in the tank. Look at the sales in Sweden, the bottom has dropped out all over for this car so it is not a US sour grapes phenomena. Cash? We are smart if the car holds up long term as I hope they do. If the market sinks on Saab the only way I suffer is if major problems with one forces me to sell it. But things are sad in all of the European markets… Read more »
SAAB_Andee
Member
5 years 4 months ago

The question is still what is a resonable price for you… – and the spin down of the company isn´t VM´s fault – you have to look to Detroit. They had no strategy what to do …
If they had introduced new models and new technology in europe before opel the image also would be higher. (VW also introduces new tech in an Audi before the VW)

zippy
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Who blocked the dealers from selling cars at a reasonable price? Your hero Victor Muller kept the prices high. And then everyone acts shocked over the cash flow. Please do not tell me they did not. I tried to buy a car last year under Muller’s regime and the same friendly dealer we had been using before said his hands were tied. With all due respect to you maybe you should look at something that fits your budget rather than try and get a Saab ‘on the cheap’. I agree that the 9-3 probably isn’t as good a value as… Read more »
Saabman900
Member
5 years 4 months ago

+1

Jonas Axelsson
Member
5 years 4 months ago

My buying habits as an American (note the cap A), are way off topic.

My topic was the disinformation and half truths and half sentences and inane finger pointing by the hired hand Lars. Now your folks want to distance from him.

What of that issue? Oh, Vlad can’t control him? Fire him?

mike saunders
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Jeff said: “Why Saab doesn’t lower their sticker prices to more accurately reflect dealer pricing is beyond me, but the least Mark could have done was to check a local Detroit dealer or do a basic search online to find out what the cars are actually selling for.” Jeff, Saab’s pricing strategy is actually pretty simple. Premium pricing is designed to bolster the image of a premium product. If Saab priced its cars accurately, it would lose that carefully crafted perception of “luxury vehicle at an affordable price.” The high sticker pricing is intentional, and also gives dealers a way… Read more »
GerritN
Member
5 years 4 months ago

I totally agree with your comments, Mike.
I’m currently not shopping for a new Saab, so I not biased in any way by trying to get a cheap deal. The best proof that Saabs sales philosophy has failed until now are the thousands of new 9-5’s sitting on the dealer lots and loading docks.

RS
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Mike, if you’d had a $50k budget for a family saloon. What car would you buy?

zippy
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Dunno about Mike but zippy would buy an Arctic White 9-5 Aero with 19inch Edge rims*.

* assuming we are talking US dollars not Canadian. If we talk Canadian Id buy a 2.0T with the same rims and a manual gearbox also in Arctic White.

RS
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Zippy knows his… 8)

PS. Sorry I’m so used to all the whining Brits I messed up the terminology. Family sedan that is.

JasonPowell
Member
5 years 4 months ago

zippy,
I’d probably want the same, but something about all those flat black cars a year ago has stuck with me. I think I’d want a black one with the what did they call it? A matte finish? Something like that, like the cars at Geneva last year I think that’s where I saw that.

zippy
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Jason, please tell me you are joking about those matt black cars!? I saw a matt black MB CLS
when I was in England this past month. YUK! 😉

JasonPowell
Member
5 years 4 months ago

zippy, I like it on cars when they’re tuners or muscle cars. I wouldn’t want it on a daily driver, but for a fun car with Hirsch upgrades and the black alloys…. I just kind of like them. Although I have only seen the photo’s of the 9-5 online and not in person. That being said though, I don’t like some of the colors that others do like the lime green 9-3 convertibles and a lot of people love those. Maybe I’m just different.

mike saunders
Member
5 years 4 months ago
RS< That's a tough question. I'd probably buy a 2010 5 series if I could find one (they're in high demand in the NE US) ….or a 2012 Ford Taurus SHO, and bank the savings. 😉 It should have most, if not all of the features of competitors at a lower price… Jeff, you're approaching the pricing issue from the wrong end of the gun. It's not the reviewers' job to ensure accurate pricing. That's the job for the manufacturers, especially the ones who want to play the premium pricing game. They should be forced to live or die by… Read more »
RS
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Mike, your answer tells me you are not one that would buy a new $50k car. Therefor your not imho in a position to claim that a FULLY-LOADED 9-5 Aero V6 would be overpriced. Why? Because the competition is way more expensive. For the price you get a base, non-turbo Bimmer. I’d take the Saab anyday if you’d actually had to drive the car all year in four season weather. You shouldn’t confuse value with intangibles which the Germans got plenty. The current image Saab has today got nothing to do with the product. I’d bet a new 9-5 is… Read more »
mike saunders
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Unfortunately most people think image, fit & finish and 0-60 seems to be more important than quality and characteristics of a car. I just don’t want to read about it over at SU. Re-read your quote for a great explanation of why Saab is in trouble. No, Rune, people actually DO care about image, fit & finish and performance — they don’t care about some nebulous quality of Swedish “Saabishness,” which doesn’t give a competitive advantage and can’t make up for failings in other areas. Yes, the current Saab is a great car, mainly due to its DNA — a… Read more »
rune
Member
5 years 4 months ago
mike, RS Rune. (well, maybe RS’ first name is Rune too, in which case I’m sorely mistaken) But I’ll address your point regardless. a superb platform — that I can fundamentally get in a Buick. …but that is a platform heavily influenced by Saab. E.g. No Saab, no XWD. You are effectively buying the budget version of the Saab. Which is fine too. http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2010/08/saab-reliability-ratings-from-germany.html Saabs has pretty good reliabiltiy. There is not much information yet on how the 9-5 performs, but regardless: It is a stunning looking vehicle and that alone is worth a punch in the face (or a… Read more »
Bravada from GMI
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Here in Europe, we don’t get any experience of the LaCrosse, so let me honestly ask: * does it have the same seats as the 9-5? To me, the seats are worth 50% of the Saab’s price, and given that they are better than anything out there, they justify a 50% premium over any other car 🙂 * while the 9-5’s dash is a letdown when it comes to ergonomics compared to the superb previous models (including the 9-3 interior revamp), it is still very intuitive. I don’t feel the same way about the new Buick/Opel buttonitis-infested interiors. How do… Read more »
RS
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Mike, if you’ve read any of my posts in the last year I’ve been one of the loudest advocates of the following a) interior upgrades, b) flagship models, c) halo engines and d) marketing that would crystallize Saabs image by bringing forward arguments to potential customers like the driving ergonomics Bravada mentioned. Under GM Saab fell behind on those crucial points and I’m sure (hope) the current management is more than aware of this. To compare Saab with Opel/Buick/Saturn or whatever they were sharing the raw platform with is the oldest trick in the book and has very little to… Read more »
OddJob
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Here’s the time log only on Wednesday for simianspeedster: Wednesday at 6:14 PM Wednesday at 4:47 PM Wednesday at 4:28 PM Wednesday at 3:50 PM Wednesday at 3:51 PM Wednesday at 3:41 PM Wednesday at 11:41 AM Wednesday at 11:52 AM Wednesday at 11:54 AM Wednesday at 12:49 PM He’s obviously a busy guy and have written a major part of the 100+ comments. Problem is that the more comments he gets, the more he repeats his previous standpoints. If he is spending a full day in commenting a car and a brand he doesn’t like, does he sit at… Read more »
mike saunders
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Jeff also said: “When you look on cars.com, you’ll find this new 9-5 Turbo4 Auto for $32,850 (sticker $40,700). Perhaps he should at least update the article and critique Saab’s pricing strategy, but not their actual prices. At least then his arguments would be based in reality.” Jeff, no reviewer is going to cherrypick a car from Cars.com. That plays right into the hands of dealers who advertise a single car at a seriously low price, then say “Saab 9-5s FROM $32K!!!!!!!” Dealers are legally allowed to use a specific vehicle as a loss-leader, because it doesn’t quite qualify as… Read more »
stryker1180
Member
5 years 4 months ago

I need some help, a few weeks ago I thought I saw a picture of a leather-ed 9-5 dash, can someone give me the link?

Kurt Schirm
Member
5 years 4 months ago
I’ve read the replies regarding the offensive to combat against negative blogs in cars reviews and the general media. IMHO – Our goal needs to be quite simple – dramatically outnumber the negative blog comments with positive comments. Think of it like using Trip Advisor or any other review site. Most people just read them comments and fewer write reviews. The one’s who just read are the one’s who are looking for reassurance that they are making a wise decision that is supported by their peers. These are the one’s we seek to influence. Forget about “replying” to a negative… Read more »
Khrisdk
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Clever 😉

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Even though I think Mr BS over at TTAC needs a couple of personal and helpfull Trolls to keep him happy 🙂

mike saunders
Member
5 years 4 months ago

I totally agree with the premise of this — counter negative spin with positive spin, don’t just engage anti-Saab posters n their own level.

But…If someone is honestly worried about Saab because they’re not sure that the company will be around in a few years, what can you say to that?

At best, you can tell them to have faith.

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Well, you can always tell them a little about what is going on at the moment to support their faith.
And that Saab has a fighting chance.

JasonPowell
Member
5 years 4 months ago

At best, you can tell them to have faith.

Nothing wrong with that, hopefully we can spread that same message through here too. To many people on here pulling a “Camping” and predicting the demise of Saab.

rune
Member
5 years 4 months ago
But…If someone is honestly worried about Saab because they’re not sure that the company will be around in a few years, what can you say to that? It is a concern we have tried to address a few times on this site. And that is not a real question anyway. The real question is: In case the worst happens, what will happen with the warranty? What about parts? The warranty is between the customer and the dealer. It won’t go away overnight. Plus, it is not like the warranty is really long (as in ten years), so you do not… Read more »
Steve C.
Member
5 years 4 months ago
Thanks Jeff for the kudo and using my comment as an example. Kurt Schirm makes a good point about providing volumes of positive comments. My highlighted comment incorporated responses to a number of the negative comments as part of making a broad positive comment and I didn’t reply directly to or address our featured antagonist. I took a look the Autoblog page an our “friend” came back yesterday but this time he offered a better-toned and more thoughtful view of his opinion. My highlighted comment was at the top before he came back. I did reply to his latest comment… Read more »
peter
Member
5 years 4 months ago

The Turbo6 can run on regular, but Premium is recommended. After the SRX 2.8T issues a year ago with regular gas, it would definitely be a good idea to seek out the higher octane, and if you can make the financial leap for an Aero, then really why wouldn’t you pay a bit for the correct gas?

Correct, the Turbo4 runs just fine on 87 octane. In fact, the recommended fuel is E85, which is 15% cheaper than regular gasoline right now. The cost per mile is phenomenal for anyone with a highway commute and access to E85.

SAAB_Andee
Member
5 years 4 months ago

it´s usual for me to use super (95oct) 1.36 Eur / liter for my saab. But that´s the european way to handle the car 🙂 maybe this ist the clue why 300000 kilometres were nothing for an saab engine

Khrisdk
Member
5 years 4 months ago

Agree

Mine has been running on V-power 99 Oct at €1,6 for the last 100.000Km exclusively
If only E85 had been widely available here in DK it would have been converted to run on that.
Rebuilding my 2002 B205E to BioPower is just a little too much work 🙁

900_S
Member
5 years 4 months ago
I agree that friendly correcting inaccuracies and rumor is beneficial, but most of the negative comments I see are from people who wouldn’t consider buying a Saab anyway. Still, it’s better to use the comments (made by antagonists or simply mislead people) to create a dialog, a discussion about Saab. Saab isn’t the only one with brand-loyal customers. There’s no point in arguing or debating with someone who would never accept a Saab as a gift, let alone purchase one–but, it’s easy for people to be swayed (not to be confused with SWADE :D) or discouraged from considering a Saab,… Read more »
Saabman900
Member
5 years 3 months ago
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