9-5 continued

Just continuing on from the 9-5 Snippets post the other day. 

I’d encourage all and sundry to read Stefan’s comments on the post.  Even though the reports are stating that the new 9-5 is a better drive and is now cheaper than the previous model (or better value with better specifications for the price), it’s Stefan’s comments and decision that I feared the most when the facts about this facelifted 9-5 were emerging back in August-September 2005. 

In short, they killed the character of the car.  He’s now driving an A6 and part of me is sympathetic as to the reasons why.

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  1. I’m new (about one week or so) to this site and I have been reading all the way back to Feb 05 some of the key discussions (I am on my XXXs/New Year break with a lot of time to follow my beloved Saab cult). From what I’ve read so far there is a high degree of fascination with all the bad/wrong things that Saab as a car maker is going through that invariably is associated with GM’s wrong doings and how the brand is being killed. Maybe all this fascination is what is indeed killing the brand not so much GM. What we must acknowledge are market trends that are forcing many car makers to comply with the market directions.
    The dashboards with round knobs and less fines is a key market trend that even BMW, Porsche, Audi and many Jap makers are following. Should we then blame this on to GM, Ford, Volkswagen, Renault etc etc or should we just blame the consumers themselves for setting this trend ??? I read in the local automotive press (here Down Under) that the dashboard of the 9-5 looked “out of date” and “out of fashion’ and it should be brought in line with other suppliers. Well, now it’s done and we still don’t like it !!!
    I find too the comment on the 3 hole grill that is missing also quite critical for no real basis. On the one hand we are hammering day in and day out at GM for not using enough of the last prototype development headed by M. Maurer and now that the front of the new 9-5 has that inspiration we also not like it ??? The kind of communiqué we are generating is damaging the brand indeed more than their owners !!! Is Volvo being slaughtered at the same rate as Saab since Ford took over that Car Maker ??? Volvo has also a limited number of models and very similar to Saab with only one extra option in their series 90 4WD (SUVs for the Yanks). I’ve read too that many see that the ageing of the 9-5 is the reason for non respectable sales, have the readers seen how often leading Jap suppliers like WRX’s Subaru make a major/radical model change other than face lifting the same basic model ???
    As an owner of a late 01 9-5 Aero and an 02 9-3 Aero sedan I would not change these cars for anything out there other than more updated Saabs simply because no other car maker can come close to the Saab branding with all the ins and outs that no other brand can offer.
    Why don’t we all embark more on the positives rather than all the negative personal perceptions and speculation on the viability of this brand ??? Don’t get me wrong, I do not like many decisions/directions that Saab has taken and do not agree with these. But the market forces have been the real evil that has dented so much from the Saabs we all love. Let’s dwell more on the positives and perhaps we will invite existing and future customers to join this Saab culture more and help the brand get better.

    Joe Lobo

  2. Interesting words Joe and certainly food for thought. I’m probably as responsible for the occasional GM backhander as the next bloke but I’d like to think that a more positive approach is the better way.

    I think that we also need to consider that Swade started this as a news blog and so its all about what is happening now with an undercurrent of what we love about Saab. Its not a car club site (although it feels like one most days).

    FWIW, I love the current cars and will buy either a 93 s/combi or 95 estate when my current lease is up. Perhaps before if the numbers add up.

    As the dalai llama says: focus on the positives, make your efforts there. The rest will then fall away.


  3. Joe, I’m not sure we can blame consumers or commentators for small design themes such as rotary buttons for the climate control. And the criticism that’s been around about that element of the new 9-5 is not that they’re rotary dials, it’s been centred around the fact that they’re to be found in quite a number of other GM vehicles that are targeted below Saab’s market position. It’s parts-bin engineering done in a way that, rightly or wrongly, draws some criticism.

    WRT to the 3-hole grill thingy, that was a bit of an indulgence on my part, but it isn’t completely without merit. I love Michael Mauer’s conceptual work, but what made me cringe just a little was it’s application to the 9-5. the aggressive front treatment on Mauer’s 9x etc was welcomed as it suited THAT vehicle. I’m not sure it’s application to what are basically the standard 9-5 lines is a really good fit. The 2005 9-5 was a superb looking and refined vehicle. I’m quite sure the 2006 will be an excellent drive, too, but I’m unsure as to whether the half-baked application of the 9x nose is a real positive and progressive step in the design language. I think I’d have preferred to see this new design in a new car, even if it meant I had to wait a little longer for it.

    About the criticism that GM gets at this site, believe me, it’s not made unless warranted and it’s FAR less than what they cop elsewhere. They’re big boys and they get paid a lot to cope with it. Added to that, I’m also quite sure that a anything written here would make a miniscule, if any, impression on their radar. Some GM suits see this site, but they don’t acknowledge it and I’m sure they don’t notice it much.

    This is a fan site as well as a news site. It’s meant to foster the enjoyment of the brand and that can mean appreciating the old stuff more than the new philosophies some of the time. But I try to keep it balanced wherever I can and I do look forward to the future for Saab, regardless of what you might see here sometimes.

    PT, I’m kinda partial to the 9-3SC myself. Will the lease allow for an Aero? Grrr Grrr

  4. Great feedback and I am glad that most seemed to appreciate my words. It is clear that there is a great deal of fans out there that are fed up with a lot of the direction and decisions that Saab is making. I am as frustrated and disappointed as many of you but when I look at what is happening to other brands, there is a fair bit of other nasties happening to other car makers like BMW, Porsche, Audi and the likes. In particular the current range of BMW is awful to say the least and to add more to my frustration, the new models are selling well. Why ??? Is my big question.
    Merc is another brand that when it comes to quality, innovation, appeal is going down hill at an alarming rate if you compare the current range with the old one yet the public buys them by the truck at a time.
    From what I read the main reason why these brands (and many other Japs and other Europeans) are selling well is because they are delivering what the market wants. One of the worst decisions that Saab made in my opinion was to kill the hatchback, I hate this one with a passion. But when you look at the fundamental reason why it was because the market did not buy it since 4WDs was the go. The station wagon has been killed (nearly) by 4WDs since that is what the public wants. Maybe we Saab devotees are too smart and sophisticated for the average !!! Only joking but these questions cross my mind.
    I strongly believe that our beloved Saabs are underrated, under promoted and there is some calculated agenda in the main press out there not to highlight all the good things about Saab. So, I’m all with all of you but by the same token what can we do to reverse this negative trend that is contributing to all the bad vibes that Saab gets ???

  5. Joe, don’t worry about signing. Your name appears with the comment anyway. You a member of the Saab Car Club of Aust? There’s a group in all states except SA. If not, you should get in touch. There’s a link to the club website on the right sidebar, or let me know in comments and I’ll get in touch.


  6. Joe,

    We only bash Saab (and GM) because we want them to stay in business. To run against the other Euro-sedans and the Japanese techno-rockets like the 298 hp G35 and 306 hp Lexus IS350, Saab has to bring something special to market.

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