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.