I’m feeling a little reluctant to write this post, but a quick look at Autoprophet’s VW post urged me to address the topic wth reference to Saab. Autoprophet writes as follows:
VW has poor quality, high prices, and perhaps the biggest sin of all–bland styling. They are neither a premium brand, nor a performance brand, nor an economy brand.
I’ve made plenty of references in the past to GM’s claim that Saab are their global premium brand. Usually the reference is accompanied by a plea for GM to actually treat them that way. Are GM really positioning Saab to be a player in the premium segment of the market? We’re talking about being players with BMW, Audi, MB and others. I know Saab aren’t there yet, but are they on the right path?
One of the key elements to figuring this out is the quality of the products on offer. As I’ve taken a peek around several spots on the web, I have noticed several concerns that people have with the Saabs they’ve purchased. And to be honest I’m surprised.
CarSurvey.org is a site where people can write in their own reviews of cars they’ve purchased. The review can be good, bad or indifferent and there’s a good mixture in there. Of particular concern to me were some of the reviews of the 9-3 Sport Sedan. I had never, ever heard of anyone complaining about Saab seats before. To me, they’re one of the most enjoyable things about owning a Saab.
Yet there’s this, about a 2005 model Vector:
The seats are terrible. There is no adjustment on drivers seat (on this model) for leg support… none at all on front passanger seat! You can actually feel the metal sub frame through your backside after driving for over 30 minutes.
And this, again written about a 9-3 Vector:
Drivers seat has “Sagged” already and developed a frustrating squeak! (and I am not a heavy person)
This review has multiple comments attached and many agree with the observation about the seats.
The other disturbing element I found among these reviews is the poor quality of the stereo system. Given that I don’t own a 9-3 and have only ever driven them for short spurts, this hasn’t been an issue for me to observe. The owners that provide these reviews are quite critical, however…these are taken from the post noted above (link here) and associated comments.
The sound quality from even the seven speaker upgrade on this model is dreadful, almost pathetic…..
The Audio System is terrible. No depth to bass, muffled sound at volume. £20+ k for this car and fitted with what appears to be a early ’80’s Amstrad… at best!!…..
I was really shocked by the disgracefully poor stereo system installed in what is supposed to be a luxury car. Saab seems to think that installing two 3.5 & two 4 inch dual cone speakers & no tweeters is a stereo system…..Incidentally my drivers seat sagged.
The Sound System (if you can call it that) is so, so terrible. Rubbish in-fact.
Returning to Autoprophet’s assessment of VW, I don’t think anyone could ever accuse Saab of having bland styling. They’ve always evoked a reaction from people, either good or bad. For the size of the engine, they certainly do squeeze out a lot of performance, and package it in a manner that suits safe, yet fun, everyday driving.
What that leaves, then, is quality. If Saab really are to become the premium player that they are more than capable of being, then basic issues like the ones noted here should be addressed and overcome. Premium cars don’t last long in the segment if they’re found wanting. If GM really do want Saab to be it’s global premium player (and despite all that’s been said by GM, it’s no certainty in my book – if it were, then why would there be such a big push for a 9-3 sized Cadillac in Europe?), then they need to invest in the product and ensure that it’s worthy of it’s placement in the segment.
Saab has so much upside potential. Here’s hoping the nodding heads at GM realise it.