9-3SC Cruisin

David R got sick of whatever it was that held up the delivery of his new 9-3 SportCombi Aero. So he flew from his home in New Mexico to San Diego and picked it up himself!

Due to the outrageous amount of incentives Saab USA has been giving to current owners on 2006 models, I traded up the ladder from a 9-3 2.0t to an Aero SportCombi this last month. I am betting that the rest of the world wishes they were as cheap as they are in the US. It feels like you can buy them in gumball machines on street corners using small coins.

Due to shipping problems, I ended up flying out to San Diego, CA to pick up the car and drive it home this last holiday weekend. I have learned several things from it

1) Not all Saab dealers are alike (stay away from those combo dealerships where I had to pick the car up from, Hummers and Saabs don’t belong in the same room),

2) the 9-3 has to be the most comfortable car around to drive across the country with and

3) even if you go to IKEA, its hard to fill up the back of the SportCombi.


My kind of guy.

I did a similar thing with the Viggen when I bought it, flying to Melbourne to pick it up before taking an overnight boat ride and a four hour drive home back to Hobart. What better way to get to know your new car that on a decently long drive home?

I’m actually more inclined to look long distance for a new car for that very reason. Add to that the increased choice in the bigger cities and it’s a no-brainer. But that’s buying used.

Buying new? David’s got a decent idea.


He did his trip from San Diego to Albuquerque, NM. But if you weren’t afraid of a long drive, maybe you’d consider this:

If Saab wants to boost sales, do little things like delivery of the Saab in New England in the fall so you can drive it home in the changing autumn colors, something that makes you bond with the car right away in a way you won’t forget.

Not a bad idea at all. It’d have to be cheaper than European Delivery, wouldn’t it?


And what about the car itself? My drive home was gave me enough to let me know that the Viggen was something special. The Aero?

After owning the 9-3 2.0t already, what a difference the Aero badge on the back makes. The sound of the engine alone is enough to make me pay the premium just to hear that every day. Driving up hills is just effortless now. I love the way those seats hug you as well. With the aero badge, it’s those little things that add up to create an experience like you have not had before, which is why I love it

Finally, the dealership experience. I don’t like to provide bad publicity for anyone in particular. It doesn’t do anyone any good. But a lot of people have concerns about Saab dealershps being combined with other brands and it leading to poorer service for the Saab customer.

This seems to be a case in point….

The reason for I took the trip was because the dealer here had some “unknown” problems with getting the car shipped. I waited more than 2 weeks to no avail after putting a good faith deposit on the car. On Friday of the third week I called up and said I would just come, buy the car, and pick it up the next day in San Diego.

That went off without a hitch. However, when I got to San Diego, things did not go so well: when I got to the dealership, luggage in hand, besides the weird looks I got, I was told the person who was going to give me the car was not there! Then after 25 minutes of waiting the guy who was “not there” showed up with my car, so dirty you could not see in the windows, and full of bird poop. I was handed the keys and told to have a nice day. I discovered that the car had tire damage that was not disclosed by the dealer in San Diego. I argued that I was not told about this, as well as the fact that the car was very dirty and had no gas.

I didn’t feel like driving across the country with a bad tire, but the Saab sales manager didn’t seem to care. I then got an earful from him: since I was causing so many problems he was just going to buy the car back from me and sell it to someone else immediately, “I could have sold this car 10 times by now!” he said.

After consulting with the dealer in Albuquerque who in turn called the dealer in San Diego and had some spirited conversation, I was told to just get out of there by the guy in Albuquerque. When I got back the dealer here took great care of the car and all was made right. Steer clear of those combination dealerships, unless you want service as though you were buying a chevy!

Not good enough.

Thankfully, David’s got the car he wanted, enjoyed a great drive home and it sounds like a car wash in San Diego got a bit of his money.

Now for the ‘New England Delivery’ scheme – over to you, Saab USA.


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  1. I too purchased from a combo dealership. Got the Pontiac/GMC mouth-breather, knuckle-dragger treatment. My dealership didn’t know Tech II options and significantly damaged the interior of the car with an air freshener. I visited a Saab-only dealer in SW Ohio for some Tech II info. What a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE!

  2. I had a different experience with a combo dealership (Hummer, Cadillac, SAAB) near Seattle. I have nothing but praise for the treatment I got from MaryKay before and after the purchase of my SC Aero. I ordered my car through the military purchase program so the dealer ship made no money, but I still got treated like I was paying cash. I have had my SC for over a year now and I still get a thrill from driving it!

  3. Thanks for posting my story. I really had a blast driving back and would recommend to anyone. After owning for 1 week I still havent turned the radio on. The sound of the engine is music to my ears!

  4. Your dealership experience was horrifying. I can’t believe anyone would treat a customer the way you were treated. I do understand where the San Deigo dealership was coming from though. The dealership normally makes a profit from a sale and part of that profit goes to pay for prepping the car for delivery. Since this car is a “trade” to another dealership, there was no profit for him and thus, nothing to cover the cost of detailing the car and filling up the gas.

    I’m curious how the San Diego dealer handled the temperary license permit for you since its a New Mexico car? (Another task the dealer would have to do without being paid for).

    In any case, I’m glad you got what you wanted in the end. However, I would ripped off that big red advertisement where the license plate goes (gee I wonder which dealership he got that bad service from?!?!) and threw it out the sunroof as I drove off!

  5. MKB = Marvin K brown?, that’s like, San Diego. They don’t know much about Saab, I could replace all their salesmen.

    My other option around here is Continental Motors, Saab/BMW dealership, 25 miles in the opposite direction. Mike Lynch there knows a thing or two. Anyone in SD should go to Continental in Oceanside…

  6. That is truely a terrible dealership experience, and its disappointing to hear. I remember Jay Spenchian saying somewhere that the dealership networks in the US are fine and they have no further plans with them, which i disagree with. There are many dealerships where Saab ends up being pushed to the side, I’ve seen the Saab division moved around between dealerships with the moves taking over a year to complete and Saab again being pushed to wherever corner is available, and of course I’ve heard great stories and terrible stories – and I have some of my own – from multiple dealerships. In short, its inconsistant, and I believe something needs to be done about it.

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