SAAB Of The Week

This weeks SAAB Of The Week comes to us from hughw and is a picture of his 9-3X on a ferry from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard. Below the photo is a copy of the email sent with his picture. Thanks for sharing Hugh and I hope you get the chance next year to experience your XWD in the snow. As always, please keep the photos coming to [email protected].

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Here’s my 2011 9-3X on the ferry from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard. The license plates read “CHILMARK”. the town on Martha’s Vineyard where we have our country home. We’ve had the plates now for close to forty years and often receive comments in the strangest places. And now, with the new 9-3X, we get questions about Saab’s new model, are they still alive, etc. And from our Saab friends, who know a bit more, we get questions on how the heck we got a new car when Saab has not been producing for two years. The answer is that we scoured the internet last fall looking for a “new” 9-3X with Nav and found several including one in South Carolina and another in Minnesota. But luckily, we found this beautiful baby with just 65 miles on the odometer closer to our home in New York at Gary Blake Saab in Exeter, New Hampshire. They had purchased the car by auction from California and shipped it east on a flat bed truck. Their salesperson, Keith Wallace, told me on the phone that the car was in great shape despite sitting somewhere in California for a couple of years. So I risked the 284 mile drive up from New York to New Hampshire to buy the car and trade in my 2009 9-3SC, and I couldn’t have been more delighted to find such a perfect car. My only disappointment has been that I was looking for a lot of snow to give the car a good workout, and we had hardly any in New York. Long Live Saab!!!

Hugh Weisman

22 thoughts on “SAAB Of The Week”

  1. Very interesting. Nice car! Let me ask you all this: When was the last time you threw your mountain bike in the back or on the top and went for a ride. I have my bike in the back right now and I’m going for a ride. When was the last time you went for a trip and slept in the back of the car overnight. When was the last time you treated your Saab like you have a Saab? When did you last throw your skis on the roof and went to the slopes? C’mon!

  2. OK, lets discuss the 9-3X since you decided to call it the Saab of the Week. I have a different take on the strategic decision to bring this car into production at a time when Saab was bleeding cash.(2010) I don’t understand and maybe someone can help me understand in this blog why Victor and JJ gave the go-ahead for this car, when they should have been poring in every resource into the new 9-5? We here in the United States only received a few number of the 2.0 manual 9-5’s and no diesels. Can anyone explain why we never got the 55 MPG 2.0 diesels here in the U.S.??? TO me this was the biggest mistake in the Victor Muller era at Saab, and even though I like Victor and respect him and JJ I don’t understand why we never got the diesels. Because I believe sales for that car would have been much better than what the 9-3X ever did or could do.

    So please feel free to tell me something that might make me reconsider what I just said. But if you look at how many 9-3X were sold and what the profit margin was for that car, I can tell you this was a poor decision. The current 9-3 was just fine, and frankly I don’t see the difference between this car and the regular 9-3? If it was to be more rugged or more durable than the 9-3 why not continue with the 9-4X or bring it to market?

    • From wikipedia: “During 2009 the 9-3X was launched at the Geneva auto show.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_9-3)

      By 2010, the car was already ready for production (if not actually in production, as I think a 9-3X was one of the options I pondered in Dec 2009 when Saab went into liquidation). AFAICT not much marketing dollars were spent on the 9-3x (vast amounts were spent on various marketing efforts in general, but it is difficult to spot just _where_ that money was spent — the payoff was certainly lackluster at best). In any case, Victor was not running the show when the 9-3X’s fate was decided. And he certainly was not running the show back in ca 2001 when the first 9-3X project was shut down.

      Without Antonov’s backing (thank you EIB and SweGov), Victor simply did not have enough funding to cover all the bases you mention (and in the end did not have enough cash to cover even the areas that were fundamental for survival). I’m not sure a diesel 9-5 in the US would have made much of a difference given the lack of advertising for the 9-5 in general…

    • @saabboy1
      9-3X was launched in automn 2009 as modelyear 2010. I bought mine early february 2010, before the GM/Spyker-deal was done!
      Best car I ever had in my 25 year SAAB experience :-).

    • Saabboy,
      the 9-3x was part of the original 9-3 portfolio back in 2001 and in 2008/9 Saab got the go fro GM to finally build it. IMO it made no sense to stop production of the 9-3x in 2010.

      Regarding the Diesel engines, the Engines that Saab used were not homologated for the US market, I think even BMW Audi and VW were not allowed to sell their “clean” Diesels in all the states back then. I don’t think Saab would have had a ROI if they had decided to get the NOx levels of those engines (new exhaust after treatment system, new engine mapping) to US standards. They waited for GM to move in that direction, but that move is taking place now, 3 years to late. 🙁

      • Any American who is frustrated because they can’t get a great diesel that they see sold in Europe and other places—-needs to lay the blame on our federal government, who has made it crushingly expensive for manufacturers to certify engines/cars here. It’s irrational to believe that diesels (or other engine types) being driven in Germany and Sweden (among other places) would pose a danger in America. The end game is that the harder they make it to get new cars certified for sale (including U.S. domestic models by the way), the more government bureaucrats they hire to “review” and “approve.” The agencies responsible for this sort of thing have swollen like leaches the last couple decades. While others are struggling, somehow, they’re flush with money—-making it harder for industry and more expensive for consumers.

        • Angelo,
          this time the US agencies have been more coherent. The worst pollutant that Diesel engines produce is NOx and not CO2, but the European functionaries, with some help of the car industry, have concentrated their efforts in making people believe that CO2 is the worst pollutant.

          The EU has a pollution limit for cities for most of the pollutants and many European cities have problems to keep their NOx level below the maximum allowed. Now the EU administration has a problem, after they have convinced a big amount of the Europeans to buy diesels to save the environment, now they have to tell the same people that they should not be allowed to drive those cars on many days in winter and summer till the pollutant concentration in the cities decreases below the limit.

          • As I had commented elsewhere—-it’s a big country. I seriously doubt that our cities would become filled with diesel cars. I think a lot of the people who like diesels (based on previous sales figures) live in suburban or rural areas and drive longer distances—-want the better fuel economy and longevity that diesels offer..

          • You’re right, but not only the governments are to blame. Automotive media has acted as a microphone stand for both car industry and the CO2 hysteria.

            But it goes in waves, in a few years we will get the big “replace your diesel car” campaign, and factories will be busy again…

  3. Here in Australia every Tom, Dick and Harry wants an SUV, or failing that they’ll buy something that looks like it. Sales of Subaru Forester, its cousins (and small cars) far outpaced the ‘large car’ sector – to the point that Ford has announced they will stop producing the locally built Falcon (about the size of a 9-5) and GM Holden needs my tax dollars to continue producing the Commodore (meaning I partially own my neighbour’s new car)

    Whilst the 9-5 Diesel is economical and would have been a great proposition for US (and Australian) buyers, it is still a large car and therefore may not fit the trend towards smaller passenger cars and larger “family sized” SUVs. In addition, I understand that Diesel as a road fuel is still being discovered by US car drivers – a transition that has taken place in Australia only over the last 5 years or so.

    I imagine that a ‘beefed up’ 9-3SC was intended as an economical way to jump on the Forester bandwagon and as a smaller brother to the 9-4X. I believe it did that successfully, and I personally loved the look so much that I bought a brand new one in November 2011 – in Arctic White, still love it every time I look at it. To me, it has a ‘cool factor’ that a standard 9-3SC misses out on; it has what the French call a certain “I dun’t knuw whut”…

    Since then I have added a 2012 9-5NG Vector to the stable. Whilst the 9-5 may be a much more modern car technically (the 2.0T drivetrain in the Vector is much more eager and smooth than the one in my 9-3X) I still tend to reach for the keys of the 9-3X. Somehow that car and I just get on better.

    Finally, as an aside related to the previous ‘Name a Car’ discussion – Tim, is it worth suggesting to NEVS that they start with dropping their Chinglish company name before they consider naming their cars? I’ve tried to get used to National Electric Vehicle(s?) Sweden over the last year but it sounds as counterfeit now as it did when I first read it. If Saab Cars AB is in any way possible under the licence, I recommend they use that in the strongest possible terms.

    • Michiel,
      NEVS is not allowed to call the Company Saab, or any Saab whatever combination. Only their products can be called Saab.

      But I agree with you, something like TCC (Trollhättan Car Company) or SCC (Swedish Car Company) might have been better, at least for me.

      • I think there is a great respect for Swedish safety, innovation and design—-I’d be fine with NVS (National Vehicles, Sweden). They just need to drop the “E.” For the most part, people will know them as Saab anyway—-but the little identifications required to show the parent company will be misleading and, how can I put this…”screwy” if they’re selling hybrids and ICE vehicles—-and “Electric” still has to be in the mix. It was silly beyond belief when I first heard about it and it hasn’t gotten any less silly over the last year.

    • @ Michiel Mees: did Saab Australia sell many NG 9-5? has it been reliable? went to view a NG 9-5 vector diesel but was unimpressed, cannot see Saab/NEVS selling their product in Australia due to low volumes…

      • @baas900i: I’m not sure how many Saab Australia imported before they went bankrupt in December 2012, but I haven’t seen any new/demo NG9-5s for sale since I bought mine at 5000km in March. I did a quick search on Carsales last week and found no NG9-5s at all.

        Our Vector was owned by Saab Australia (registered August 2012) and has now done 13,000km and hasn’t missed a beat so far – Mance Saab sold it with 3 years extended factory warranty from Swann Insurance and they insist they have lots of parts stock.

        I never tried the diesel, but I understand they went like hotcakes when the price dropped after bankruptcy. What were you unimpressed with? (apart from most things on the dash coming out of the GM parts bin)

        Who knows if NEVS will sell their products here, or what they are up to generally. Most European manufacturers are represented here though.

  4. Congratulation Hugh and welcome to the club :-)!
    I own one since early february 2010 and the experience in snow is really great. I love my “beauty” in arctic white. Sometimes she is very beasty… wonder why??? She is hirshed up to 240hp and 400nm torque :-)!

    Have fun and enjoy driving…

  5. Very nice car!
    Truly unique and different, with suitable plates. 40 years matured….
    I find the SC (especially the 9-3X) is actually the most interesting designed Saab lately, and just got a low mile TXSC to replace my TXSS. To frame the roof line and a touch of utilitarian look I have found a pair of the lower roof rails as well. Still waiting for some TLC to be finished before taking onto the road, then a tune…
    Long Live SAAB!

  6. Ahh, too bad. I’m driving up from New York on Friday but leaving the Saab in New Bedford and taking the fast ferry over without it for the weekend. I just read that BMW has announced their new i3 EV which will go 186 miles with a range extender. That;s pretty good but still not enough for us. If that’s the best that BMW can do at this point, I have my doubt that NEVS can do any better.

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