Does anyone still remember 2015 and the Ida project? It all started with a disaster. An old and admittedly pretty neglected Saab 9-5 caused trouble. Not that this is Saab specific. Anyone who does not care for cars must face the consequences. Sooner or later.
The owner of the run-down 9-5 just wanted to get rid of him. He placed a humorous ad that met with media coverage. As a result, Orio and Maptun took care of the car and made it almost new. The story attracted attention and generated positive press. In the background was the idea of refurbishing old Saab models in the future and making them fit for the next few decades with original spare parts.
A captivating idea that corresponds to the zeitgeist
Because using it longer is sustainable, avoiding consumption is good for the environment. Even if Saab no longer builds cars, what would have happened if a seal of approval brought almost new cars to the public? The idea was born, it was pursued only half-heartedly, and very soon Sweden decided on a different path.
Instead of staying in the niche and further strengthening Saab's core competence, they drifted into an adventure with auto parts for other brands. Of course, no one was waiting for another supplier on the market. The spare parts for Opel and VW were often left lying on the shelves and gathering dust. Tragically, old Saab parts had previously been disposed of to make room. Today they are missing.
Failures take revenge at some point
And at the moment you can use the example of the Saab 9-5 to see what happens to a product that no longer seems to concern anyone. The market is precarious. Two extremes collide. On the one hand, there is a large number of vehicles on offer that have been behind them. It's only about residual use or export.
The list of maintenance backlogs extends into infinity. It is particularly tragic in Sweden. The 9-5 is in the Top 10 the cheapest used car in Sweden. It was traded on the Blocket platform in July 2020 at an average price of around € 1.500 (Saab 9-5, 2006). A price at which only consumption is worthwhile. In this market situation, nobody will invest and maintain.
On the other hand are the very few enthusiast vehicles. They are meticulously cared for, and despite high mileage, they have the potential to continue offering their services for a long time.
What will happen in a few years is predictable
The old 9-5, which is still a fixture in workshop sales today, will largely disappear. The prognosis is bad. Because the 9-5 is not a coupe, a hatchback or a convertible. Just a limousine or a station wagon. And with all brands they are hit first and then with full force. It has to be noted that the German market is still relatively moderate in terms of Saab 9-5.
In other countries, see the example of Sweden, prices are in the deepest cellar. The story is through, done.
One could have taken countermeasures. Just 5 or 6 restored 9-5s from Sweden a year would have been a lot of tailwind. Always good press, an interesting niche topic, a special ration of positive psychology. It has been neglected and it will take revenge. Some failures can be corrected, others cannot. You should have started a few years ago to put away good, but cheap to buy basic vehicles. One could draw on that today.
Quickly buy another Saab 9-5
Actually, you're already running late. But not too late. Every now and then, interesting vehicles are offered. Still, because the end is in sight. Sometimes prices are disturbingly low, sometimes speculatively high. When it comes to aero, mileage is low. There is no such thing as one market and one general price trend. Everything is possible.
The great variety speaks in favor of the first 9-5 series. Three series with different characters. From the original model to the facelift to chrome glasses. Every taste is served, the technology is simple to robust, spare parts apart from special components are readily and cheaply available from known sources.
It gets exciting when you have special requests.
I went out and did it. Bought an old Saab 9-5. An odyssey where everything came together. It provides the basis for a series of articles that will begin next Wednesday and will appear weekly from then on. There is enough material.
Because it took a long time from the idea to the time the car was parked in my yard.