18 thoughts on “Sotw, Chris gets a 9-3X for the family”

    • I guess it depends where you live. For the vast majority of consumers living in the U.S. (some exceptions of course, but I’m talking vast majority) front wheel drive is enough to get the job done. Car companies have rolled in the profits like pigs in mud, convincing everyone that they need all wheel drive or 4 wheel drive. There are people with Range Rovers who won’t drive them in bad weather because they don’t want to get them dirty—-yet they “had to have” a 4 wheel drive vehicle. If you drive regularly in the snow or live on a mountain without paved roads (I have a weekend place like that) it helps to have all wheel drive. But even that weekend place—I normally only go in the Spring/Summer/Fall—-I can access with a Prius. A well engineered front wheel drive car with decent tires will get you through most bad weather driving and road conditions.

      • Angelo, a lot of buyers wanted AWD and SAAB didn’t have it which cost them existing and new customers. Whether or not every one of those customers needed AWD is beside the point.

        • Absolutely true—-car makers created the demand and Saab didn’t have anything to answer with. That’s when you need a good advertising campaign and good internal marketing/outreach to dealers to make an effort to educate consumers about wants vs. needs and how wants sometimes end up costing thousands of dollars up front and with repairs. Saab’s messaging pretty much sucked. Point well taken though—sometimes you have to give the people what they want regardless of whether they need it. People wanted V6 and V8 engines too, and Saab didn’t deliver that—they stuck with 4 cyl. Should they have gotten into the more cylinders game?

          • SAAB offered V6 9-5 and 9-3 models. Apparently the problem was that traditional SAAB buyers preferred the turbo 4 engine and the 6 did not attract many owners from other brands. One reason for this is that the power from the 6 versus the top 4 (e.g. the Aero) didn’t vary all that much. Undoubtedly the 6 could have been tuned for more power, but the limits of front wheel drive (i.e torque steer) limited the potential. So, another lost opportunity for SAAB due to the lack of AWD was the inability to offer a 6 with significantly more power than the 4.


            • And lest everyone forgets, there was the 300 hp Saab V8 for the 9000 that Saab proposed to their new partner GM for production. GM nixed the idea and pushed the Opel V6 on Saab. Just Google for Saab V8.

            • I know they offered the 6 for a time, but ended up selling very expensive cars with 4 cylinder turbos—-and made that a selling point—-their brochures did a good job of demonstrating that they could maximize full power from smaller displacement as the turbo king and give buyers fuel efficiency. Hey—-I don’t disagree with you about them losing out without AWD—-but I guess I’m saying maybe they could have tried to assure buyers that their FWD technology with traction control was surefooted in poor driving conditions and it had fewer vulnerable parts that AWD for reliability—and was lighter weight, increasing fuel economy. Look—-that appeal wouldn’t work on me, but as the “ecological alternative” to big, thirsty luxury cars, it was worth a try.

              • Just in the last few weeks I have seen VW ads on TV touting the fact that VW turbo 4 engines offer the benefit of power and torque keeping the car fun to drive while also fuel efficient. It was a bit sad to think that if Saab were still active and viable now, they could run ads welcoming the rest of the automotive world to the values Saab had followed for years.

                • Saab used to have the same type of ads and yes, I’ve seen those VW ads too—-talking about all the models they offer with turbocharged “fun” engines. Their website currently has a promotion for a $1000.00 “Turbocharged” reward card for buying a VW turbo model. They are settling into Saab’s old position I guess. I have said before and stand by my assertion—-if Saab was playing closer to VW than to Audi, there would still be a Saab and we’d still be able to buy new Saabs in North America. Volkswagen’s price range is from under $17,000 for s stripped Jetta, to almost $65,000 for the Touraeg hybrid. There’s absolutely no reason why Saab couldn’t have ranged from low 20s up to 50 or 60, putting them very close to VW’s range. You say there’s no way they could build a Saab in Sweden and sell it in the U.S. for $23,500 for a base model? Fine, then build that damn model in a different country with lower labor costs, like VW does. This isn’t rocket science, it’s very basic. Everyone’s doing it and Saab could have too.

                  • Yes. Getting the product out of Sweden could have not only reduced build costs, but increased build quality, not unlike VW.

                    Could have changed the entire market- dynamic of the brand.

                    Water under the bridge, as they say….

  1. I’ve got to say that having the AWD is terrific. Sure, it’s obviously good on snow and we had a lot of that in the New York area last winter. But it also sure feels much safer when driving fast on rain wet roads, or roads cleared of heavy snowfall but with patches of hardpack here and there.

  2. The later model year Saab 9-3 Sport Combi’s were very nice automobiles. The AWD version was a great addition to their lineup. I had an ’09 9-3SC and it was an incredible car. Put 40K trouble-free miles on it in two years without one glitch. Oil change every 5K miles plus the other required maintenance was all that was necessary. I sold it to take advantage of a great deal on an ’11 NG 9-5T4 Premium. I’m a SC kind of Saab guy and wish they lived long enough to produce in numbers the NG 9-5 in the SC version. That would have been my ultimate Saab!

  3. What’s amazing about the Combi, Is the amount of stuff you get in the back of it. We use our Combi, and our 97X, for business. When using the Combi the we get over 30 miles a gallon. Which reduces our cost factors by over one half. US government gives you the same deduction, .56.6 cents per mile gallon, no matter what you drive. I would’ve thought NEVS, would’ve produced the Combi first, and the sedan second. Not that it would changed things much.

    • In the U.S., I think the 9-3 Combi might do better than the sedan if they were to be introduced again. For one thing, there aren’t as many combis on the road, so the design looks fresher. Also, it could be marketed as a sort of “outdoorsy” vehicle like the Subaru outback—-for young adventurous people on the go. Alas, NEVS, oh Neville, never made it out of neutral. In the drag race of business, they’re still at the starting gate.

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