Safe to buy a Saab in Sweden

Vi Bilägare today posted a summary of the potential pitfalls of buying a Saab in case the sky is falling.

First up they cover the warranties:

The warranty is a contract between the buyer and the resaler. This is entirely independent on whether Saab continues its existance or not.

Second issue is spare parts:

Among the most important assets that will befall the government should Saab not be able to repay the EIB loan is the spare parts business supplying parts to the 1.5 million Saabs rolling around all over the world. It will remain a profitable business for at least ten years, which translates to good availiability of parts for the consumer

The third issue discussed is the second hand value:

For Swedish business customers, this has been solved by the dealers who now guarantee the residual values. For private buyers there exists no such guarantee. But we must keep in mind that it was the OG 9-5, a completely outdated model that was struck the hardest during last years residual value turbulence. The residual values of the new 9-5, especially the new combi shipping this summer, will most likely stand more firm in a worst case scenario.

So, in conclusion: If you really want to make sure you have everything covered, then just buy an extra Saab.

Saab USA lease offers

I’m hearing a lot of talk about the need for Saab to fix leasing in the United States.

I’ve just taken a look at Saab’s latest leasing offers in the US, and I’m struggling a little bit to see what’s so lacking. In saying that, I fully acknowledge that I live in a market where leasing is not commonplace for private buyers. I’m therefore a little unfamiliar with the options available to customers outside of what’s on the manufacturer’s pages.

The numbers I’ve reproduced below are all from the websites of the manufacturers mentioned, except for the Audi A6. As I couldn’t find lease offers for the Audi A6 on their website, I used LeaseCompare (3.2l FWD model, 15K miles p.a., 780 credit score, $2,600 downpayment).

The Saab 9-5 lease is based on a Turbo4 Sport Sedan, so it’s not as well equipped as some of the higher end Teutonic competition. It’s still a cracking drive, though, and if you opted for a Hirsch upgrade (when they come online) then it’d be even moreso. I think the price differences noted here are pretty compelling.

[table id=14 /]

(1) I couldn’t find a Mercedes E Class offer on any model less than the E350 (if in fact they offer a model smaller than the 350 in the US).

(2) The base model A6 seems to be called ‘Premium’. Maybe I should have used a higher downpayment (upping the downpayment to $3500 lowered the monthly cost to $551).

As mentioned, these figures are from the manufacturer’s own websites and I haven’t gone to the trouble of comparing all equipment levels, etc. I’ve chosen the most basic models I could get a lease figure for and threw in the BMW 3-series for the benefit of those who might have doubted the validity of including a 5-series.

The G37 comes up smelling like roses in this comparo, but bear in mind the loss of rear leg room (some four inches) and a significant loss of cargo space in the trunk as well. The G37 is a bit bigger than the 9-3, but it’s more expensive as well (see 9-3 leases, below).

It might just be me, but if these lease offers are correct, then the 9-5 should be seen as competitively priced. If there’s something I’m missing, please let me know in comments.

IF the 9-5 is indeed competitively priced, as it seems, then maybe there’s something else that needs to be fixed – customer trust, dealership experience, marketing, equipment levels, etc.


The Saab 9-3 is going for $299 a month for the 2011 models and there’s 0% finance available on both 2011 and 2010 Saab 9-3 models.

That is unbelievably good value, if you ask me. If I could get a 9-3 for $299 a month, I’d be all over the sucker.

Report: Swedish Saab dealers to guarantee Saab 9-5 residuals

This is potentially a very interesting and powerful move on the part of Swedish Saab dealers.

The Local has a report today about the commencement of press drives for the new Saab 9-5. That’s stuff that we already knew.

What’s interesting is this quote at the end of the report from Peter Hallberg, the CEO of the Saab Dealer Network. I’m not familiar with this dealer network or Peter Hellberg so I have to assume is the Swedish equivalent of the Saab dealer council in the US (the presence of which I’m a little more familiar with).

Finance and leasing companies have set very low residual values, or how much the cars are estimated to be worth in three years, on Saab vehicles. However, Saab dealers have agreed to provide a guaranteed residual value for the vehicles.

“We guarantee a value on par with our competitors,” said Hallberg. “This means around 50 percent for volume models. We hope that will eliminate the worries of fleet car buyers.”

That’s going to mean big things for business customers. With lease deals tied so closely to 3-year residual values, the presence of a residual guarantee could mean a much better deal for lease customers.

The combination of good reviews (which seem to be coming out already) and good lease deals could mean quite a bit more fleet business for Saab dealers in Sweden.

The other side of the US leasing story

I posted earlier today about concerns with leasing prices in the United States. Some of those lease figures in the post are indeed worrisome for some prospective purchaers, but there’s also some other things to consider.

First, the fact that that story looked only at one model without taking a look at other offers (it was the one that I had brought to my attention).

The following is a clipping of an ad that’s been appearing in some New York newspapers in the last few days. Click to enlarge.


Those numbers look a little closer to what people expect. The 9-3 2.0T is a pretty well equipped car. It’s the volume seller and that looks more like a volume seller price for this market.

Other things:

The zero-down prices offered by some of the premium Euro marques are tempting to many (which is what they’re supposed to be) and they result in a reasonable market share for them. BUT they also result in high default rates when conditions tighten up and the lessee who aspired to something really nice (but risky) can no longer afford what looked like a reasonable risk at the time.

There is a ‘want’ factor with Saabs for many Saab customers. I’m not suggesting that Saab are trying to cash in on that. I don’t think they would dare, nor even dare think they have that luxury. But personally speaking, if I was choosing between a Saab and something else at $100/mo the difference, I’d buy the Saab. If I couldn’t afford it, I’d hold on for another deal if my circumstances allowed.

Like I said in the first post on this issue, there’s a lot of structures in this new life for Saab that have to settle. Leasing, pricing and the market is examples of these. There’s no need to shout.

Thanks to Hugh for the clipping.

Concerns about Saab leasing in the US

This might be the first bad news post of the new Saab age.

Concerns with Saab leasing first popped up on my radar a few weeks ago when one of our regular readers here, Jose N, sent me a scan of a lease ad from a newspaper in Florida.

Saab Lease Florida We don’t do a lot of leasing here in Australia so I’m not totally up to speed on the structure or value, so here are Jose’s thoughts about this in an email to me…..

I wanted to bring your attention towards the 9-3 Convertible lease offer. $599/month plus tax. This is on a $45k sticker vehicle, so its pretty well equipped. The fine print reads 48 months, 12k miles a year, with $4880 total out of pocket at signing.

As sweet as this vehicle is, its NOT competitively priced.

The Collection Audi is offering a A5 convertible for $499/month, 12k/year, 36 months with ZERO down. South Motors BMW is offering a 328 convertible for $459/month, 12k year, 36 months with $3400 out of pocket and free maintenance. Lexus is the least competitive with their IS250 convertible lease, which is offered at $499/month, 12k year, 48 months and $5k down.

Jose’s a potential customer, but he’s not the only one writing to me about this. There are a number of Saab dealers very concerned about leasing as well.

Read moreConcerns about Saab leasing in the US

Saab US leasing deals now appearing

I heard some good news from a dealer in the US today, telling me in a very happy tone that he’s finally placed an order for 20 new Saab 9-3s and 10 new Saab 9-5s.
As we’ve seen already, new stock is starting to trickle in, including the Saab 9-3x. Things are finally starting to move forward for Saab and their US dealers.
Automotive News has a good article today, including details of the new leasing deal for the Saab 9-3. This is significant in itself because Saab hasn’t been able to offer leasing as an option for customers for some time now.

Saab can move on the marketing front now that it has begun slowly building up its U.S. pipeline. The 9-3 has been trickling into the United States since late March. Before that, dealers had not had a shipment of Saab vehicles since last June…..
….Saab is offering a 2010 9-3 Sport Sedan 2.0 with automatic transmission for $399 a month with a $3,374 down payment; the term is 48 months. Advertising to promote the lease program will be primarily newspapers, direct mail, digital and social media. Some co-op advertising is planned. The program expires June 1.

There are more details available at the Current Offers section of the SaabUSA website.

GMAC to provide financing for Saab

Here’s the press release that came out while I was sleeping. The importance of this announcement cannot be underestimated.


GMAC to provide financing for Saab dealers and customers

* GMAC chosen as financial services provider to Saab Automobile
* Preferred source of wholesale and retail financing for dealers and customers

Trollhättan. Following its successful launch as an independent company, Saab Automobile announced today that it has selected GMAC Financial Services as the preferred provider of wholesale and retail financial services for qualified Saab dealers and customers in many different countries around the world.

Jan Åke Jonsson, CEO of Saab Automobile AB said: “Today’s announcement is excellent news for the Saab organization as a whole and also for Saab’s customers. It not only makes available competitive financing, but also provides valuable continuity for the dealer network which already uses GMAC services.”

Bill Muir, GMAC President said: “We are delighted to be able to build on our strong relationships with Saab dealers and customers, and we look forward to working with Saab as it begins a new chapter in its history.”


Saab had so much going against it in 2009. A perception in the public eye that it was closed, lack of finance for dealers. Lack of production volume. Lack of leasing for customers.

This announcement is a BIG fix for the finance component for dealers and customers.

Great stuff!

Marketing the new Saab

I’ve not written a serious article here on SaabsUnited in some time, and I’m going to hesitate to actually call this an article as much as it is an editorial post. It’s just a collection of thoughts that I have about the new Saab, the one that’s a division of the Koenigsegg Group rather than a division of the world’s largest automaker. The Saab that will be more Swedish and less American. The Saab that will be more nimble and less bureaucratic.
First of all, I’m not one to be hopeful or pessimistic simply because an organization changes structure (or ownership). It simply is. The new structure can be great, but it can also be the same or worse than the previous. Only change in actions will create new directions and new capabilities. Koenigsegg Group is saying many of the right things, and that’s a great first step. Now Saab can get on with the actual changes that will build a future for the marque. It’s exciting, but it’s no guarantee.
So, that begs the question: what changes are needed, and what things will make the most impact on sales? I have a few ideas, but I believe that in the current automotive market, one must start by making it very, very attractive to buy a Saab.
That starts with product, naturally. We’ve spilled a great deal of ink on that topic, and there is promise of new vehicles in the pipeline. So, what else impacts new car sales? Financing.
In the luxury car market, financing, particularly leasing, is perhaps the most important marketing asset. Personally, I believe that the lack of attractive leasing terms has been a difference-maker for Saab sales in the United States for some time, perhaps as long as five or six years.

Read moreMarketing the new Saab

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