Why would I buy a Saab in 2010?

Some legitimate questions have popped up in comments that I thought I’d try and add my 2 cents on here.
The main question is why buy a Saab nowadays?
On paper, there’s not necessarily a whole bunch of compelling reasons, to be honest. Fuel economy is reasonable but not necessarily best in class. Ditto for performance. Safety is a given in this class of vehicle. Overall, there’s not too many ways to go wrong spending Saab-level money on a car.
But that last statement (and pretty much any notion of buying another brand of vehicle) has an implication that rides along with it. The implication is that the total package – the brand and the combination of elements that make up the vehicle – doesn’t matter.
I think for many people, that implication doesn’t carry any weight.
Let’s face it; Most people who buy anything that represents more than just adequate transportation are being brand snobs to a degree.
A Tato Nano would be adequate to get from A to B. A basic Subaru/Toyota/whatever would be adequate to get from A to B in a safe manner. Any requirements beyond safe, reliable transportation involve choice and that involves the dismissal of choices that are deemed inadequate.
Some of those choices involve genuine perceived ‘needs’ and some of them involve ‘wants’. I’d wager most of the deciding factors are ‘wants’.
So, assuming you’re looking within your budget, it all comes down to a matter of meeting your desires. In no order of priority:

  • Does it look how I’d like a car to look?
  • Does it have the equipment that I want?
  • Does it gel with my self-image? (this may be sub-conscious, but it’s there)
  • Does it perform the way I’d like a car to perform?
  • Does it speak to me?
  • etc etc

For me, when it comes to answering those sorts of questions, there are very few companies that could tick all the boxes – and the #1 candidate is always Saab.
I’ve said for 5 years now that my Saabs have always given me the best possible combination of comfort, safety, performance and utility for the money and I stick by that 100%.
Comparing lists on paper and numbers on a screen can lead you to draw certain conclusions, but you’ll never really know what you want until you get out there, drive the cars, spend your money and live with the consequences.
How important is fuel economy? Do you really need industry-best fuel economy on paper if the real world experience is lots of torque-driven fun and your budget means that you can live with industry-ballpark (rather than industry-best) fuel economy?
How important is it to have the best sound system in the world when a car is a less-than-ideal place to experience top-quality sound?
Does the quality of interior materials outweigh the interior design if the materials are nearly the same?
Comparisons can only do so much. The answers to the nitty gritty questions are up to the individual.
Over the last few years, I’ve either test driven or bought and sold several cars that are considered cult classics by many people and the main reason is that they never delivered the combination of things that I wanted in a car.
For me, a Saab always has.
They say that a very high proportion of people who test drive a Saab, end up buying a Saab. I don’t know what those magic trolls in Sweden do when they’re making them, but in some sort of subliminal way, I feel like I know why.
So to answer that question in the headline – why would I buy a Saab in 2010? – I’d have to say the following:

  • First and foremost……Because the cars are fantastic to own and drive.
  • Becuase they meet my needs as a driver looking for that elusive combination that speaks to me. I know that sounds touchy-feely, but it’s true.
  • Because I love the company, its history and philosophy.
  • Because I’m an engaged member of the Saab community.
  • Because for me, there’s very little else out there that would feel as right as a Saab does. That may be snobby, but it’s true.

Very few of those things show up in an internet comparison, but they’re all there.

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