My SAAB story begins in year 2008. As a junior research assistant at a chair that dealt mainly with automotive electronics, buying a car naturally was a big deal. All my colleagues suggested various models and equipment packages. One of them, who had a great affinity for Opel, wanted to get me to this manufacturer.
As it happened, he dragged me to a dealership where Opel and SAAB were offered. I had previously associated SAAB only in conjunction with the 900 Steep Snooters. Models that were not to my taste. But once on the spot, the fresh face-lifted 9-3 II caught my attention. In particular, the limousine had done to me.
Addressed by a friendly and dedicated SAAB seller, things took their course. I arranged a test drive and was thrilled. This car definitely had charisma! And I have always had a weakness for individual cars of cross-thinking companies.
But then came the next hurdle: A well-equipped SAAB 9-3 as TTiD was anything but a bargain. For me as a young professional, that was a frighteningly high hurdle, so I initially buried the SAAB plans. Nevertheless, I could not leave this vehicle and contacted the SAAB dealer again after a few weeks. Fortunately, it turned out that SAAB gave engineers special discounts. These were unexpectedly high, so the 9-3 was indeed within my budget. And so I ordered my first own new car!
After a few months of waiting, the car arrived and I was the lucky owner of a SAAB. I have been approached by many. The design of the SAAB was well received, many had not perceived SAAB so.
But the joy did not last long. After just a few days, the car started badly. First, it was just a few seconds, an unround engine, later intensified and it came white-bluish smoke from the exhaust. Off to the workshop, which took care of immediately. Too high oil level said it. After the repair, it started again after a short time. This time even while driving on the highway. So again in the workshop, this time spoke of oil thinning. The faulty self-cleaning of the diesel particulate filter is to blame, which unburned diesel fuel got into the engine oil. Unfortunately, it continued several times, so I finally spoke to a change in the dealer. After some back and forth he agreed and I got a new 9-3. Problems with the engine (again a TTiD) he had no more, however, various rattling and crackling noises clouded a bit the picture.
So far, many people around me have been very curious about the SAAB, but now they were rather discouraged after hearing about the many technical problems. Of course, I now hear the die-hard SAAB fans unaware that the diesel is not THE engine for a SAAB. Meanwhile, I see it that way. However, for me as a frequent driver a gasoline engine was not an option, especially since I find the diesel engine technically fascinating and likes its power delivery.
At some point, the bankruptcy of Saab came. As a result, my dealer relocated its SAAB service to its headquarters, which was now located over 50 km away. Like so many others, the bankruptcy of SAAB also unsettled me. With all my leisurely experiences - at times the 9-3 was more in the workshop than at home - I decided after ample reason to sell the SAAB. Amazingly, a buyer was found very quickly!
The years passed without SAAB. I had decided now for the other Swedish brand with their powerful 5 cylinder diesel engines. They were sufficiently individual and stood out from the volume models. I never had a more reliable car. After now 120.000 km I did not have a single repair case. And even crackling noises are in short supply.
But the memories of the SAAB remained. The magic remained. The moments when one remembered oneself accumulated. And so the decision was made to buy another SAAB. By the way, Tom's blog is not entirely innocent either ... The choice fell on a 9-3 I convertible in the 2002 Anniversary Edition in Midnight Blue and with a blue top. He came, so to speak, firsthand from a teacher. Full service history with complete invoice history, but also with the traces of the age marked. He showed first approach of rust in the wheel arches and here and there a few scratches and minor dents.
After a year in my possession, a lot has happened so far: dents were pulled out, rust removed, paint damage repaired, and there was a professional paint and top processing. Meanwhile, he looks almost new!
Technically, too, I had him thoroughly tested. Amazingly, I had found out that a very capable employee of my former SAAB workshop had set up his own business and set up his own business with a focus on SAAB. There, a comprehensive inspection was performed as well as a rust preventive carried out and cleaned the oil pan. There were no parts problems here. However, the hot weather of recent days has led to the carbon deposit of the instrument panel replacing. It's much harder to find a replacement here. Endurance is announced.
In the meantime, I also wondered why you always have to drive the latest vehicles. The 9-3 drives timelessly well, is very smooth running and can even be driven quite moderately in fuel consumption. Likewise convincing processing quality and details such as the thick leather of the seats. Then I hang on to the idea of where the automotive progress of the last 17 years has gone. He shows less in mechanics, but more in electronics and software. Driver assistance systems, multimedia and IoT show the noticeable progress. Who wants to have these things, will not be happy with the old sweetheart. However, what is often forgotten: In addition to the extra weight (control units and wiring harnesses), it is the energy hunger of the whole electronic helpers. This hunger is ultimately eradicated by fossil fuels. A trend that the progress made by the burners can not noticeably compensate for.
Interestingly enough, people around me perceive SAAB differently because of their age and associated characteristics. Male acquaintances were thrilled when they heard about my new vehicle. And certainly, when they got a photo to face. From cult status to timeless design or the award as an "honest car" were there. The female persons, however, were much more restrained. Neither design nor cult was understood, but instead named the disadvantages: feared repair due to the high age, lack of navigation system, outdated infotainment, no parking assistance. This perception certainly does not claim to be representative. Nevertheless, it astonished me that there seems to be a gender-specific trend. My two sons support this thesis: The big man enjoys riding a lap with me, while the little one with less than four years already recognizes other SAABs on the street and then exclaims enthusiastically: There! A SAAB! My wife, on the other hand, only shakes her head with a smile and does not understand her men.
Meanwhile, new plans are maturing ... I can not get away, I get a 9-3 II as a sedan as I had him then. No more diesel, but a petrol engine. Not a primary car, but a vehicle that is allowed to age with dignity. A testimony from an era in which the automotive industry could still afford individualism.
Thanks to Kai for the Saab story on Sunday. The submission deadline for our campaign was the 15. August 2019. The action was over and not there? Not bad! We have new ideas and will introduce them soon.