In the last few days I have been traveling more often with one of these modern compact cars. Of course, with start / stop automatic, a turbo charged three-cylinder engine, and an automatic climate control, which always wants to take a break when the engine at the traffic light goes into hibernation.
Sure, you can put the start / stop automatic out of operation. Then the weakly dimensioned air conditioning system continues to cool. Or at least pretend. What cannot be changed is the turbo engine. Even 40 years after the introduction and cultivation of the turbo in Trollhättan, not every company is able to build a good turbo. Is it fun? Not really.
Switching from the small car that comes from a German premium supplier to the older 9-3 is always a welcome-to-home feeling. Starting with the 2 liter turbo, which cultivates its job very intensely and emphatically, to the air conditioning, which keeps its promise. And to the sovereign matter of course with which a Saab 9-3 does its job.
Does Saab drive addictive?
I had significant concerns about the blog at the start of the year. Would the project survive 2017, would the sharp drop in readership that I feared take place? At some point, every story is completely told, and Saab has not produced fat headlines for years. What happens at NEVS is still good for the periphery. The last concept studies serve the Asian taste, Saab design can only be recognized fragmentarily.
Anyone who has some insight into the development of the NEVS 9-3 and 9-3X can understand how much the Chinese financiers influenced the development. Originally, what NEVS wanted to present at CES Asia was clearly based on Saab design. The resolutions from summer 2016 still applied. That was probably too much Saab, too little mainstream for the financiers. The appearance was adapted to Chinese tastes at the request of the shareholders. The design of the 9-3 concept vehicles does not come from the studios in Sweden, which says a lot.
Let's forget about NEVS. The company has moved away from the last minimal goal, the continuation of the Saab design language. “China first” is the current slogan. What remains is what we have.
That would be vehicles that continue to age; a stock that is declining. A community that is getting smaller - nowhere near as fast as I expected. The number of readers on the blog is falling. Very gently, but by a good 5% this year. That is little. Especially when you consider that Saab last delivered quantities around 10 years ago with the 2008 model year. Is Saab addicting driving?
Saab drivers are loyal. The Saab culture lives on. Trips are elaborately planned, and the number of participants is still increasing. Those who drive Saab usually do so out of conviction. Because it's fun, because the vehicles are so wonderfully relaxed and honest. Maybe because they're analog.
Once Saab, always Saab?
I got some interesting emails over the weekend. Two readers are considering investing heavily in their Saab 9-5. A project similar to our Paul project. Only that the Saab already has 600.000 kilometers on the counter. Another reader has added to his fleet. Saab number 3 has moved in and plays the role of the classic alongside two modern vehicles. The Saab Virus is still active, in a very individual way. One person restores a Saab 9000 CC on his own. A project that will go on for years. Another has it restored and invests the amount of a compact car for it. A third person imports a beautiful 9-3 I Aero with a Viggen Body Kit from Sweden. And everyone is living their dream. And Saab makes you happy.
I'm not worried about the Saab scene. She is well placed, very colorful, and extremely lively. As a half-year balance 2017, after worries in January, I am more relaxed. There are countless ways in which the brand can continue to live. Restorations are also an expression of sustainability. To make an old Saab 9-5, with a high mileage, fit for the next few years as well.
Saab upgrade. Something fun.
There is no magic formula for keeping the brand alive. But Mark and I already have ideas on how to keep the desire for Saab. We indulge ourselves, and maybe our readers like it too. An upgrade, something for all Saab hearts who are not only into restorations and classics. It's something modern, cool, affordable. There is still desire for Saab. And specifically in the next few days as a suggestion on the blog.
There is also more desire for Saab. Not only from us, but also internationally and from many people. This too will soon be available on our pages in loose order.