Complaint Snippets

First complaint:

Well, an apology on my part actually. I apologise for the current banner, which looked OK on the laptop (HP windows machine) but looks downright amateurish on the Mac. It’s 11.47pm as I write this, so I’ll have to fix it in the morning (NOW FIXED – new banner installed).

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Second complaint:

This one isn’t mine, it’s a complaint from Mark S that I received via email and it’s service and quality issues like these that fuel those crappy Consumer Reports surveys I get all uptight about a few times a year.

Hi Swade

Just a little note to let you know my experience within the last 2 weeks of taking delivery of my new 9-3 150bhp diesel Vector Sport Sportwagon last of 06 model year with satnav and 13-speaker stereo).

I have to say up to this point, whilst my father has had Saabs since 1972 (one of the first in N Ireland to have one of the 99s), so I am a life-long saab-ist, albeit this was mt first.

The dealer experience was well below par for what is a £25,000GBP motor. Salesguy was better suited to secondhand Fiats. The worst thing was that when I picked the car up, within an hour I was phoning the dealership to tell them the car was ‘broken!’. I have read about this on What Car and other sites where owners share their experiences – I just thought these were unlucky souls who were unfairly trashing the Saab build quality. Now I know that this is sadly typical of Saab. My car had the engine malfunction light on from picking it up at the showroom and no-one thought anything of it (Didn’t even notice because I was so mesmerised by the thousands other sights on a 9-3’s dash in the dark. It was only when I got out of town and tried to accelerate I discovered the motor was picking up like a dying whale on the shore!

Apparently the engine kicks into limp-home mode upon any engine malfunction, so I had to take my life in my hands and snail home that night. After many calls, the disinterested dealer picked up the motor from my home and returned it that night apparently after changing a coil or something (I’m not technical). Worse still the salesman tells me he thinks there was nothing wrong with the motor and the technicians probably changed the part just to make us all feel happier!!!

Wait til I fill in the post-sale survey on this baby!!!

So, after all that, the window trim on the inside of both rear doors has sagged (this happened to two colleagues as well this year – wouldn’t you think they would check this??). Here’s hoping for a better experience ahead. Meantime thinking seriously would I replace with another in 2 years’ time?

So.

There appears to be two issues here.

One is a product that seems to be having some teething problems (to say the least). When someone spends thousands and thousands of [insert your currency here] they have the right to expect the product to be at a certain level. A car’s a complicated machine and I’m sure most of us can be forgiving of some minor issues as long as they’re fixed properly and promptly.

The second issue seems (to me) to be more serious.

A person’s ability to absorb and forgive some technical issues is going to be influenced quite a lot by the way they’re treated when they raise these issues. If my mechanic were to mock me when I come in, which he’d have plenty of scope to do as I’m a mechanical dimwit, then you can bet your bottom dollar I’d be off quicker than Paris Hilton’s frock.

Truth is, there’s a lot of dealerships out there selling Saabs that don’t necessarily want to be selling Saabs. It’s another legacy from the GM relationship that we’re enduring until the issues settle. The big problem is that it’s creating a lot of long-term problems. Mark says himself that he’s a long-time Saab appreciator with a rich family hstory of Saab ownership. With one dud customer relationship like this one he’s in a position where he’s (quite rightly) assessing what he’ll be looking at in 2 year’s time.

I firmly believe that Saab’s new vehicles are better that what the vocal minority at What Car or Car Survey report. You have a lot more motivation to go to the trouble of writing when there’s issues to report.

But the fact remains that Saab have to be more mindful of their quality issues.

And GM have to continue to train and improve their dealer networks.

Mark, thanks for writing. I love the SportCombi. I think it’s a modern Saab classic and I hope yours works out better in the future than what it has in the beginning. Feel free to direct your dealer to this URL and let him know that his story is out there. Maybe that’ll convince him there’s a world outside his doorstep and the way he treats people actually matters.

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8 Comments

  1. Mark, ya gotta be a good test-pilot…that CHECK ENGINE light is pretty obvious and certainly the salesman and you should have been aware on that first drive around the block. Did ya get a pre-delivery inspection card? Is this a Saab-only dealer? The distributor and mfg would be interested.

  2. Sorry to hear about car Mark. I can tell you my Saab, ’05 9-3 linear has been flawless for 18 months. The only issue i have is with the radio. It is with out a doubt the worst OEM radio I have seen in 10 years. Now for my dealer story. I recently went through a 2nd set of rear brake pads in about 4 months. My dealer realized that there was an issue and asked me to bring the car back for them to check the braking system. They gave me a loaner, and determined the issue was with one of the rear calipers. They replaced the caliper and pads under warranty. It took 1 day to get the parts so i had the loaner for 2 days. All i had to pay for was gas. They did a great job by me. This is my first Saab, and other than the radio, i am very happy. I will definitely have a Saab on my list for my next car. I am intrigued about the 9-1, as i prefer smaller lighter cars in general. The only thing my dealer did wrong was they did not give me a Saab loaner. I had a Cadillac CTS. This may be heresy on this site but it is a very nice car. However I think they should have given me a Saab 9-5 loaner, why not try to sell me on a more expensive model next time?

  3. I am puzzled every time I see someone complaining about their Saab. I got one of the very first 9-3 Sportsedans ever produced (#1200-something) and I haven’t had any serious or annoying problems. Maybe I’m just extremely lucky…

  4. ctm – a change is as good as a holiday 😉

    Frank – glad to hear about your good experience. I know there’s good dealers out there as I have a great one here in Hobart. The problem is that we don’t hear about them enough. I’d like to hope there’s more good ones than bad ones out there.

    And the radio is a common complaint. Apparently the new Generic Motors one is great quality – much better then the previous model.

  5. Swade, great job on the new banner!!

    Mark, sorry for the horrible service…. That’s why I always try to get a feel for the dealership’s mentality and personal-ness. But, unfortunately with Saab, there’s not many to choose from… Especially here in the US… GM needs to build larger networks to increase people’s awareness.

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