Another “Consumer Report”

Last week I went a little postal on Forbes and Consumer Reports, and to be truthful I’m happy to stand by my post 100%. I think a lot of the reports that are collated in the manner of Consumer Reports are bound to be quite subjective and are therefore skewed.

Regardless, I’m happy to post another. This one’s from Road and Track and is featured in their most recent issue.

Things to note:

1) this is a 2003 to 2005 survey. The 9-3 came out in 2003 and two thirds of the vehicles sampled were from this model year.

2) Only owners that bought new and had at least 10,000 miles were surveyed.

So you have new owners with a new generation of car in it’s first release making up the bulk of the participants. Not surprisingly, the 9-3 showed some teething problems with electrical glitches dominating the gremlin list.

The article isn’t online yet as far as I know, but here’s the chart at the end with some of the featured results.

R&T 9-3 Quality Test.jpg

To me, this brings home 3 basic thruths.

1) The 9-3 wasn’t perfect on inception, a fact that no-one would dispute.
2) At face value, the 9-3 is a very enjoyable car to own (performance, handling, styling, safety all high raters), but it should be remembered that:
3) With 90% of respondents rating dealer service as good or better, yet dealer service/parts availability making the top 5 worst attributes – these surveys are inconclusive at best, yet quite influential when put into print.

Like many brand new models, the 9-3 had some teething problems. Were I able, I’d be quite happy to park one in my garage right now.

Thanks to Brian for the scan.

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  1. I’m one of the administrators in the Southern California SAAB Club and I recently received an e-mail from a new member of the club. I’ll post his comments here, but edit out his info for his privacy. I think this definitely goes to many of the reliability issues raised by both CR and JD Power.

    I originally was interested in locating some Saab owners’ message boards to get an idea what was wrong with out 2004 9.3. Just got it back from the dealer today. This time the immobilizer failed and the car wouldn’t start so it had to be towed. Diagnosis was that the battery had an internal short, which sounds suspect to me.

    Like a lot of cars, the 9.3 drives well, but it’s been the most troubled car we’ve owned in over 20 years and it’s been more trouble than our 87 Alfa was.

    Fortunately, we have only 8 more lease payments and we’ll be out of our misery.

    We’ve had recalls for brakes, keys and door locks. Gotten stuck with the parking brake refusing to release (twice) and had all kinds of erroneous error messages come up.

    Fortunately, my 98 C230 with 116,000 miles is always there for us

    I know this is just anecdotal evidence, but I was just speaking Saturday with another Club member who owns a 2003 SS owner who has had an ongoing (electrical) issue with his stereo system that SAAB seems to not be able solve for months now.

    Seems to me that the SS (at least the 2003 model) has more than just “teething problems”.

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