I recently posted here about an Australian report that unveiled Saab as the most poorly promoted carmaker (i.e. by owners) here in the Australian market. The theory being that if you rate your experience with your vehicle highly, you’re more likely to promote that vehicle to friends, acquaintences etc.
So that got me thinking about how I am as a promoter of the brand. Given that I eat, sleep and breathe Saab (and in between I produce this weblog), I don’t really have a problem with seeing myself as a promoter. But what sort of things can someone do to enhance their motoring experience to the point where they’re more likely to be a promoter?
It doesn’t cost anything (much) and I find I enjoy more car/driving time more as a result. Here’s a few suggestions:
1. Buy the Saab you always wanted
For a lot of us that’s quite possibly an older Saab, a 900 Aero or something similar and if so, then it needen’t be overly expensive. Whatever it is, go out and find one that you can afford or one that you’ll be happy with in the meantime. My philosophy about cars has always been “If I’m going to spend X-thousand dollars on something it better be a lot more than just adequate transport”. Getting the car you’re really happy with goes a long way towards your natural willingness and tendency to promote it.
2. Delve into the culture
One of the great things about Saab is that it has a rich history; unusual design, innovation, a bond with it’s end user and their environment, not to mention motorsports. Saab, through the years, truly have punched above their weight in the contributions they’ve made to the development of autmotive technology and safety.
3. Join a car club
I can’t put enough emphasis on this one – if there’s a Saab Car Club in your vicinity, then go along and check out what’s happening. Every group of people has it’s loonies and car clubs are no exception, but overall you’ll get some great exposure to some magnificent people and some great vehicles. There’s a hell of a lot of experience and inspiration out there in car-club-land.
4. Take it to the track
This one’s usually made easier when you join a car club (see point 3). A little bit of track work can go a long, long way in you understanding your own limitations as well as your Saab’s outer boundaries. They’re awesome track cars as well as great daily drivers and you’ll learn a hell of a lot and be buzzed for weeks afterwards.
5. Get some literature
This sort of ties into the ‘culture’ point at no.2. There’s not as much Saab literature out there as there is for the more famous makes, but there’s still some very good reading to be had. Reading about historical models and how advanced they were was one of the primary motivators that got me interested in owning them. Imagine owning a slew of 1980’s cars (like I did) only to read about a 1972 Saab that was more advanced than all of them in many areas. If you’ve been amongst the Saab community for a little while then some of this might have already filtered through as head knowledge, but to read it in total and see the full gamut of Saab technology is an eye-opening experience (I’m a big advocate of reading in all areas of life).
6. Wash and detail your car
Put this in the same category as “why do soldiers shave when they’re at war?” It’s a morale thing, a pride thing. I’m as big a sinner as anyone else in this regard. But boy, my Viggen looks 200% better following an afternoon with the lambswool mit and I feel a lot better driving it too.
7. Road Trips
Whether it be a long holiday or a bunch of Sunday drives, doing something different with your car can give you a better appreciation of its capabilities. It’s not just about driving either – a decent trip can be a good reminder about the Saab’s humungous load carrying capacity as well. Re-reading this one, it sounds like I’m a relationship counsellor or something, but you get what I mean.
8. Support your local
File this loosely with joining a car club. It’s not always possible to buy a new Saab from your local Saab dealer. I’ll probably never buy a brand new one in my lifetime as the cost here in Australia is prohibitive, especially given my late start to working life and current mortgage circumstances. But I’m pleased to have developed a good relationship with my local dealer, and I know that if I’ve got any queries etc I can go to him and get a straight answer. The same with my local repairer, who’s a vast recepticle of Saab knowledge. These relationships have given me a much greater appreciation for the marque and make me much more comfortable recommending them to any friends looking for a new ride…..which leads me to the last point:
9. Talk about them!
The previous 8 points were all about fleshing out your experience and the way you feel about owning and driving a Saab. If you’re to become a natural promoter of the brand they’re all pretty valid, but they’re all quite moot in this discussion if you don’t actually promote. It doesn’t take too much and we’re not talking about a Mormon mission here – just as and when circumstances present then be happy to share your experiences (car club, track runs), share some facts (that you’ve read about) or talk turkey about why your car (the one you’re so happy to have bought) looks so good (after your detailing session).
It’s just a few thoughts, an incomplete list, but one that you could lambaste or add to as you see fit. I’m reminded of Olav from Norway, who always signs off his emails with “from Olav, who always takes the long road home”. There’s a promoter.
I’m a steadfast believer that Saab made/make vehicles that are amongst the best in terms of all-round, practical and performance driving. It shocked me to see that Australian experiences were so negative in recent times. I’m not talking about being blind to the truth if it’s negative, but being honest and enthused about the car you enjoy if that is indeed the case.