EVO talk about British Saab 9-5 road tests

The Saab 9-5 received very good reviews except when tested by British motoring magazines. This has obviously been pretty distressing because Great Britain seems to alternate between being #2 or #3 on the Saab sales chart.

EVO were one of the few British publications to come out and proclaim an enthusiastic admiration for the Saab 9-5, so like many of us, they were wondering why the Saab 9-5 had been panned by the their countrymen.

In a piece that’s actually written about the 2011 European Car of the Year winner (the Nissan Leaf), they come up with an answer:

Other cars which weren’t on my shortlist were the Meriva (all doors and no driving delight), the Volvo (nothing outstanding here at all) and the Dacia Duster (cleverly designed to be remarkably good for something so cheap, but old in technology and hardly a Car of the Year). So my hit-rate was just three out of seven. My four that got away were the Jaguar XJ (it should have won, given the opposition, but it’s against today’s austerity mood), the Peugeot RCZ, the Nissan Juke and – a wildcard, this – the Saab 9-5.

Let me tell you about the 9-5. It felt good on the press launch in Sweden, but has been almost universally panned here on the basis of the UK-market road test cars. The combination of a lumpy, agitated ride and an overall wooden-ness of feel are the chief reasons, although some have disliked the cabin’s pervading blackness. Saab GB made the disastrous mistake of specifying its press cars with Sport suspension, big wheels and ultra-low-profile tyres, and this was the result.

Stung by the criticism, Saab converted one car to non-Sport spec. I tried this car on disintegrating UK roads and it was brilliant: crisp but fluent, agile well beyond its size, an unexpectedly capable cross-country weapon. This was the car I had in mind when I said on the launch that I’d rather have one than a new 5-series or an A6, and it was a relief not to have to change that view. It deserved its place on my shortlist, being rather more engaging than the Volvo. Sadly, perhaps because some judges hadn’t experienced the Saab in the correct form, too few others agreed with me.

Chalk it up to experience. An expensive experience, but experience nonetheless. Saab have to get these launches right, first impressions and all that.

Thanks to “Me” for the link.

Saab ad competition – Day 27

We are right at the pointy end of the competition. It’s November 30 here in Australia but I’ll accept entries until November 30 finishes everywhere (around 24 hours from now).

Thanks once again to our brilliant competition sponsors: New Salem Saab, International Saab, ATS, transport services, SoonSaab, State of Nine, Maptun, Elkparts, Saab USA Parts, The Fudge A’fare and a couple of private donors.

Here are today’s entries….. all 55 of them!


Martin D kicks us off with a 2-part series, intended to be a double-page spread in a magazine (ad 1 on the left, ad 2 on the right).

Etienne from Saablog-In has joined the party with some original photography….

Matt R looks to a few other Swedish ‘exports’ to push Saab’s barrow…..

There are heaps more after the jump and as it’s done with this whole competition, they just seem to keep getting better….

Read moreSaab ad competition – Day 27

Saabs arriving in Canada

We’ve been following the story of Saab’s rebirth in Canada for a long time.

It gives me great pleasure to pass on these photos, supplied by Bernard C and Simon M, showing some of the first Saabs to arrive at dealerships there.

These were spotted in Ottawa by Bernard, who saw eight cars in total (but there could have been more getting prepped out the back). It was a mix of 2.0T and V6 engines in the 9-5, with at least one of the 2.0T’s having a manual transmission.

The dealer also received a 9-3 or two in the shipment as well.

Aparently there will be a function next week to show off the new stock.


This Saab 9-5 popped up at SAAB Suzuki de la Capitale in Quebec City late last week. As photographed by Simon M.

New Saabs arrive in Portugal

I’m pleased to pass on that the first new Saab 9-5 has arrived in Portugal….

From Miguel:

I needed to share this with you: yesterday it was THE day! The first 9-5’s Sedan’s arrived to Portugal, making the debut of the new importer and the (re)start of sales again. A Happy, Happy Day! By the end of the year many more cars will be following these first ones.

A happy day indeed.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Cyber Monday at Saabs United


Please note the following from Fredrik at Maptun (there were some early problems with the code being accepted).

The coupon code is now fixed. It’s valid until 23:59 Tuesday November 30th Swedish time.


The internet has few real traditions, but one of the recent ones is Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday is the Monday after the US Thanksgiving holiday and over the last five years, it’s become a day for online shoppers receiving discounts and special deals.

So be it. Please pay attention to the applicable dates as they vary from offer to offer.


State of Nine invite you to take advantage of a free shipping offer. All purchases over $25 in the US will receive free shipping and any international buyers will receive the same for purchases over $550.

State of Nine sell all manner of Saab accessories, including accessories from Hirsch Performance. While you’re visiting, complete their winter survey and you’ll automatically go into their weekly prize draw.

The offer is open right now and continues through until 12:01am on Tuesday, November 30.


Maptun are offering 15% off all Maptuner software upgrades. Maptuner is a plug-n-play upgrade solution that can boost the power and torque of your Saab (T7 and up).

This is a Monday-only offer, and it’s available as long as it’s Monday 29th November somewhere in the world.

Please use the code CM2010 when you place your order.

If you haven’t seen it already, I shot some video earlier this year of my friend John tuning his Saab 9-3 using a maptuner, in less than four minutes!


SaabUSA Parts have a number of different parts on sale from (Black) Friday 26th November through to Cyber Monday. All of these will be available at special prices for the full four days.

Click here for all the details.

Specials included cover roofracks, smartslot items, cargo nets, jumper cables, genuine Saab car care products, plate covers, rear spoilers, car covers and MORE!

Check the specials page for appropriate model details.



The Saabs United T-Shirt Shop also has a Cyber Monday discount happening. Note that this is for the US-based shop only (links below).

Shoppers can get a 25% discount on all orders over $40 from now until November 30th.

To claim the discount, US shoppers should use the code CYBER2010 during checkout. Canadian shoppers should use CADCYBER2010.

Click to visit….

Saab Brand Analysis and why GM failed with Saab

We have two separate article here that make for compelling reading when it comes to Saab’s past and future.


The Past – Why GM failed with Saab.

Automotive News has a great historical piece today looking at why a large company like GM failed to sustain such a small operation like Saab.

It’s a comprehensive look at “the GM years” – how GM helped Saab clean up its act in the beginning and how GM totally lost its way with Saab from then on.

Why couldn’t the world’s largest automaker help one of the world’s smallest to succeed? The conventional wisdom is that U.S. executives in the 1990s didn’t understand the brand, bungled the product strategy, allowed quality to slip and couldn’t settle on a marketing plan.

But the blame went further, say several managers who toiled for Saab in the early years of GM ownership. Many of Saab’s staunchest Swedish loyalists — and GM critics — actually praise two Americans who took turns as CEO in the 1990s, Dave Herman and Bob Hendry.

The problem, they say, was the way GM rotated executives, leaving the Swedish company with CEOs who could not be farsighted. Beyond that, Saab was forced to share parts and platforms with Opel. And GM was reluctant to fund the expensive task of building a prestige brand.

It’s a must read for Saab historians. My thanks to Oddjob for the link to it.


The future: Saab Brand Analysis

My thanks to Robert P for pointing me towards this very interesting and insightful article examining Saab’s brand awareness and some of the steps Saab can take to build it.

The article appears on Bizcommunity and it’s a very thoughtful insight into what makes the Saab ‘brand’ tick, the potential for growth as well as some potential obstacles to that growth.

Here’s a taster. Saab are the blue line in this brand awareness survey. Click to enlarge….

The writer not only analyses some of the brand weaknesses, he also gives seven ‘action steps’ showing how Saab can begin to rebuild some of what the last few years have taken away.

I particularly liked this one….

Enable Saab’s existing brand advocates. Saab has an unusually loyal core of brand advocates who promote the brand through word of mouth and numerous blogs (numerous given Saab’s small market share).

This is an area that Saab can do a lot more in, in order to connect with their customers and give them excellent experiences.


I think these two articles should give you plenty to chew on today.

My thanks again to Oddjob and Robert for the links.

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