In December 1989, sales reps found a new training video in the mail. The Swedes introduced the new Saab 9000 CDi 2.3 16v on the market. The sellers were given arguments to make the new prestige sedan from Trollhättan attractive to customers. More than 30 years later, the film is a relic of the past. Nevertheless, it remains surprisingly up-to-date. We are talking about efficiency, and arguments that spoke in favor of buying a Saab at the time are still valid today.
The Saab 9000 and its competitors
It should be noted that the 9000 was the brand's first entry into the luxury segment. A surprise success that cannot be taken for granted. The CD version was followed by a classic prestige sedan in the range. The new 2.3 liter with 16 valves and two balance shafts was the most modern art of engine building. Officially, Saab even spoke of a smooth running, comparable to a six-cylinder. Objectively, you were close. The positioning was accordingly characterized by self-confidence. And not unfounded.
Some of the competition saw the small, aspiring brand in Germany. The BMW 525i with a six-cylinder was rightly considered an active sedan with a comfortable drive. In addition, it was considered the most beautiful contribution of the Munich in the upper vehicle class. The Mercedes 260E of the 124 series was traded as an insider tip of its time. In no way as dynamic as the 300, which was also available, it made a cultivated contribution for connoisseurs. Ford drove up with the Scorpio. It was inexpensive and a fixture on the market. Rightly valued by buyers, but with long-outdated technology under the hood.
In comparison, the American contribution seems strange to Europeans. The Pontiac Bonneville never played a role in Europe, but the Spotlight films were produced for the international market. In the United States, the Bonneville was what many vehicles of its type represented. Superbly equipped, robust, inexpensive and with a large displacement. However, there were worlds between Pontiac and the Saab. The American technology was consistently simple, with drum brakes on the rear axle causing deceleration.
Volvo has nothing to oppose the Saab
In the 90s, Japanese manufacturers dreamed of the upper class. The Nissan Maxima is a representative of that time. The big plus was its affordable price, great features and a sophisticated, powerful six-cylinder. The big Nissan, with its somewhat simple exterior, could not prevail in Europe, it was popular in the USA. In this country, he was mostly driven by Nissan dealers or their relatives.
Of course, local rivals Volvo should not be missing in the comparison. Saab met Gothenburg with the 9000 in the upper class, of all places, which was previously an undisputed domain of Volvo. The oldest car brand in Sweden had nothing to counter the attacker. The 740 GLE was obsolete and it took until 1991 to find an answer to the challengers from Trollhättan. Then it came all the more convincing in the form of the 850, which was born with the help of poached Saab engineers. At Göta Älv you then need until 1997 again to counter with the 9-5. But this is another story.
The comparison goes six-cylinder against four-cylinder, classic rear-wheel drive against front-wheel drive. Saab argues very well for the 9000 CD and shows its strengths in real life. Ample space, very good passage in everyday situations, efficient use of resources. The film's themes could also be from 2020, but the vehicles are not.
The look behind the scenes, on the other side, the desk of the seller, is interesting. The Saab is not the high-flyer in the test. The BMW is undoubtedly more dynamic, the Mercedes more solid, the Nissan and the Ford cheaper. It is the alternative for everyone who has a feel for cars beyond prestige and many cylinders. Intelligent, very well suited to real life, responsible in dealing with resources.