Bluetooth for the US

Sparked by an email from Sergey and a thread at Saab Central, I’ve done a little bit of digging into the arrival of a Bluetooth unit for Saab in the US.

I’m not a bluetooth user myself (I’m a dinosaur when it comes to phones) but it’s my understanding that the European market has some different characteristics to it from the US market. Saab made the 9-3 SS bluetooth capable from the get-go, but not in the US. The Euro version involved the use of a sim card in the car that allowed the phone user to dial from that luscious buttonified dashboard.

This video from Saabvideos shows what was apparently the Euro experience. Watch Domenic as he literally sails through his morning’s tasks with ease….

None of this was available in the US up until recently and there’s still some questions over what’s going on in terms of compatibility etc, but there’s definitely something going on.

The SaabCentral thread mentioned a unit going on sale in the US for around $320 or thereabouts. It’s hard to track down on the web, though, and a lot of people seem to have questions about what model year it’ll work with, compatibility with Nav systems, Onstar etc.

I decided the best place to go for answers was Saab USA themselves and received this reply in the mail this morning:

This kit, which comes with Saab-specific connections and instructions, is now available through Saab dealers in the US. It can be fitted to the 9-3 from MY03 onward and to 9-5 from MY01 onward. No problem to fit together with Nav. Only caveat is that it cannot be fitted to vehicles equipped with OnStar.

Short, but it does answer a few of those issues.

I suggest that if you’re interested you check out whether your local dealership has got a unit on site that you can test. There may be some phone-compatibility issues as well so it’s always best to try these things out.

And dealers, if you haven’t got one in yet, get on the phone.

You may also like


  1. “No problem to fit together with Nav. Only caveat is that it cannot be fitted to vehicles equipped with OnStar.”

    That doesn’t make any sense, considering Saab USA’s web site “Build Your 9-3”:

    Navigation System
    (Requires OnStar and deletes CD changer)

    So the Bluetooth works with the Nav, but not OnStar. But in order to get the Nav, you need to get OnStar.


    I cannot wait to trade-in my TL and get into a MY 2008 9-3 SC – but without Nav and Bluetooth, that transition will be very hard.

    Swade, could you ask SaabUSA for clarification about the requirements of the options?

  2. SAAB is at the mercy of OnStar. As long as SAAB is tied to OnStar and OnStar can charge $0.30/minute to use their service they’ll never allow an easy integration of your own cell phone at vastly cheaper rates. The American SAAB consumer is held hostage by OnStar. In order to get Nav you must also purchase like a $700 OnStar option making navigation cost almost $3000. OnStar is a parasite.

  3. Swade,

    This Blue-Tooth issue has been quite a hot topic since the 9-3 Sport Sedan was heavily marketed about having Blue-Tooth from the start.

    I know a number of people with the first edition 9-3 SS in 2003 and all had On-Star as far as I know.

    I am willing to bet that Blue-Tooth works with the On-Star, just not in concert with. This seems to be a clearly a business decision not a technology issue, but I may be wrong.

  4. OK folks, go back and read that again, >= MY 2003 9-3 and >= MY 2001 9-5. Not all of those had Nav and OnStar forced upon you, now did they???

  5. In Canada Onstar offers a service with Bell Mobility for $20 a month you can access your Bell cellular service. Sadly or now luckly I have a MY06 which was NOT offered with OnStarin Canada. I heard of this retro-fit coming by my dealer last year..inquiries have been made. Bluetooth the phone through the audio system,heaven! No more silly headset – priceless!

  6. As far as I know, all 9-5s came with Blond Star starting MY01. I guess it became a (uselees ) option in 06. It works well in the city but it’s out in the boonies it could really get you out of trouble. Now with digital cell service, the areas not covered are even greater. Your better off with an old analogue cel phone. At least it will roam between cell areas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *