The diesel death

"The sales figures of diesel models have been rising for months for the first time again" - So or something similar, the news was read last week in any newspaper. The diesel scandal. Already almost four years old, was almost forgotten until last week. And that despite the fact that, as a native of Hamburg, I had the first traffic prohibition zone of the republic virtually on my doorstep. But for free.

No matter where you look
Diesel die-no matter where you look


At that time, when the scandal became public and environmental bonuses sprang up, I already had a hunch that this would not leave the Swedish brand without a trace. Although a turbo petrol engine has its merits, many 9-5 and 9-3 models also had a diesel engine under the hood. At that time I feared that many of them would disappear from the market, exchanged for a few thousand premium euros, and then be replaced by a new make from VW, BMW or Mercedes.

The premiums went so, according to VW more car makers were unmasked and the story took its course. Auto recyclers were overrun to get the allegedly so environmentally friendly scrapping evidence.

Suddenly, press and TV teams became interested in the nation's junkyards, which no longer knew where to go with all the diesel models. A coincidence so that on my doorstep the largest junkyard in Germany, maybe even (North) Europe lies. For years I have not paid him a visit. Why was that?

Despite its size, it was rarely found, SAAB models have been sought in vain over the last few years, and if so, they were quickly slaughtered. Getting good parts meant searching for the needle in a haystack. But back to the beginning. The increased sales let me brooding on a ride in the 9000.

Visit to Germany's largest junkyard

I had never checked whether my fears were confirmed. Hoping to be wrong. But I was looking for the final confirmation, and I wanted to convince myself that, as always, I would not find any SAABs if I visited the place again after years.

So on the way home a departure earlier taken, with the 9000 in the direction of Norderstedt, just outside Hamburg. Shortly before closing time the 9000 is parked near a Volvo 850. In addition to old Opel, and VW Lupos with oversized tailpipes I do not want to turn off the 9000, so park next to the Swedish neighbors.

Run quickly across the square, past countless rows of Audi, Mercedes, BMW and VW. The German brands dominate clearly. Already noticeable: the vehicles look very young. The road to the Swedish corner is lined with rows of cars from Wolfsburg. Various Caddy, Touran and Golf models. Even though I give the brand from Wolfsburg as little attention as possible, it is enough to say that most models are not 10 years old. Residues from the adhesive of the engine designations indicate: 100% Diesel.

In the far corner you will find yourself. The corner of the exotics. Volvo and SAAB mixed. Together with Rover they have found their own place. And what I see there makes me more than amazed. I am completely unfamiliar with a picture. And my fear has come true. You can count various SAABs, at least 15-20 pieces. As much as in the last 10 years together, neatly lined up.

Diesel die-no matter where you look

And here too: almost 100% diesel. Diverse 2.2 TID Diesel 9-5, whether sedan or station wagon, the same with the first 9-3 model. They are becoming increasingly rare in the streetscape, here I suddenly see 5-6 models. A silver SE creates short-term variety. Also a 9-3 with full equipment has landed here. When trying to expand the SID split the rare Carbon Dashboard. An 3.0 TID or a chrome glasses. Feeling all colors and shapes are to be found. Almost all vehicles can still attest a good condition.

The leather upholstery is hardly worn out, carbon or wooden dashboards were installed or destroyed when trying to remove it. To my regret, the electronic speedometers prevent a look at the mileage. I would have loved to know how many kilometers the Swedish products have been moved.

I saw more than enough after a few minutes, and I start thinking again. Not only have I almost shocked the entire SAAB models, I question the whole system of pollutant classes, driving bans and environmental premiums.

Driving bans, environmental bonuses - consumption?

The SAAB corner is emblematic of excessive consumption and shows once again in what a blatant throwaway society we live. The SAABs all in a condition that would have been enough for one or another ten thousand kilometers. Instead, disposed of and most likely for any premium and thus a newly produced car exchanged. The situation is similar to the Swedish neighbors has almost a comforting effect. What is sustainable or environmentally friendly and ecological is incomprehensible to me as ever.

Back in the parking lot, I meet the owners of the Volvo, brief glances are exchanged, one is happy about the more than well-kept Sweden, a short greeting, thumbs up. The almost typical. What remains is the pure conscience of not being a part of this society, which is tempted by lurid bonuses to acquire any mass-produced or corporations that do business with the customers' hopes, again with a clear conscience through the environmental zones to drive German cities.

Instead, the 9000 is kept running, wearing parts are replaced to keep the car as long as possible. An attitude that actually seems sustainable and environmentally friendly. But with the sight of the Diesel one could be completely deceived, it almost seems as if sustainability is defined with a newly acquired motor vehicle.

No matter how. To the SAABs it is a pity, waiting for them in a few weeks and months the last walk to the press. Then they are gone and with them a further small part of historical cultural heritage.

53 thoughts on "The diesel death"

  • @ Ebasil,

    I think it's not that extreme, not that one-sided and unambiguous ...
    Close links with the state are shown by larger automobile companies in different countries.
    Funding policies, protectionism and corruption have many ways of playing football. The scrapping bonus in D was counterproductive in many ways. Also in the sense that German tax money was distributed over the domestic market but above the global automotive industry. Targeted funding looks different.

    Ask Trump or Xi Jinping if they underestimate the key role of their own auto industry and whether they can learn something from German politicians. The question is either interpreted as a very joke or as a personal insult, you reap the laughter or a sack.

  • @StF

    Thanks for the link, interesting article. Whether that's right, is of course the question, but worth reading in any case. I can only agree with the second part of the comment, a very differentiated approach.

    But what can be more than confidently doubted is the assumption that the German government would “not throw a stick between the legs” of foreign manufacturers for fear of relations with foreign countries. The opposite is obviously true: In no other country in the world is the domestic auto industry so strongly regarded by the government as a “key industry”, subsidized and promoted (2 x scrapping bonus, etc.) as in Germany. No German government messes with the big German three (some of which are state-owned), whose hand reaches into the Ministry of Transport and beyond. Nowhere is the domestic automobile lobby as strong as in D. If it could, German politicians would “throw so many clubs between the legs” of foreign manufacturers that they can no longer walk in order to stay in the picture. With his “key industry”, D does not shy away from even his best EU friends. Just remember the theater about the labeling of cars with regard to consumption and emissions. Repeatedly postponed by D, watered down, questioned - in order to make the German PS machines and SUV toners look good compared to the French small cars.

    The background in relation to the foreign diesels must be different, which we - unfortunately - all do not know.

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  • As for new Saabs, because the old 6 is years old, it's true that most of us would wish for cars to be rebuilt in Trollhättan, and hopefully buy them, provided they have the means and the opportunity. If you are convinced of the brand and the successor is better than the old, it is understandable that you want to improve. As for the diesel dying, so I was talking recently with a friend and also Saabfan that it now probably many 9-5NG diesel combis with Euro 5 and 9-4X if it would also get a € 5 diesel, would give if Saab would not have gone bankrupt and these would probably be sold in Germany now due to the driving restrictions at low prices. Of course this is purely hypothetical and theoretical, but I wanted to apply this honesty. But this is how we try to keep the existing one as well as possible.

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