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.