Hands up if….

The primary purpose of this website is to provide Saab enthusiasts with some information and a place where you/we can mutually enjoy all the good things that make up being a Saab owner.

As far as that’s concerned, I think the site has done OK. I’m proud of the quality of the articles that have been published here over the last two-plus years. I’m also pleased to note that there’s been an increase in Saab’s presence on the web in the last couple of years as well. I’ve been scouring the web for Saab info since early 2005 and there’s certainly a lot more places to look now than there was back then.

One of the things I’m interested in getting a feel for is the value that this site, or other Saab enthusiast sites or forums, may have played in helping people research a new car decision.

I’d never expect that a site like this plays a fundamental part in informing a purchase decision, but there’s an outside chance that either TS, SaabCentral, TSN, TSL, SaabHistory or one of the many others has fostered some brand loyalty or helped someone to understand the Saab marque a little better as they’re going through that process.

This is not supposed to be a backslapping mission. But if you’ve found this site or one of the other Saab resources on the web to be helpful in a purchase decision, then please share how. I’d certainly like to know if the site is helping people in this way, and I don’t think any of the Saab enthusiast website operators would mind Saab knowing about it either.

If you’re a dealer who’s referred clients to one of the many Saab enthusiast sites out there, use a nom-de-blog and let us know why and how it worked out.

The comments section is open, so please feel free to share your experience.

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24 Comments

  1. I can not say that your site helped me in making a decision to buy my SAAB as I did not know about your site in 2003 (if it was even around then.) What I can say is that your site has fostered a greater pride of ownership and contributed to my enjoyment of my SAAB. TS is an influence that is making me think that I can replace my 03 9-3 SS with nothing other than another SAAB, hopefully an SC TTiD XWD!

  2. I agree with David. I bought my ’99 Saab on a whim. But, it is TS that turned the “I bought that other Swedish car” feeling into a love for the brand. I can’t imagine buying anything but a ’93 drop top next year when I’m trading in. Thanks, Swade.

  3. I’m not sure how aware a prospective new Saab purchaser is of your site, but I think it may be the best comprehensive source for them to get a feel for what Saab is and what Saab offers to them, e.g., the “Road Tests” link, the positive attitude in your articles, info about the Saab ethos, etc. I think the other forums like Saabcentral and Saabnet, although very good and well intended, might scare potential buyers away. It seems that every time I see a post from a potential buyer seeking information, there’s a bunch of posts from MY 03 buyers complaining about all of their problems. I wouldn’t buy based on that. I loved your recent entry “Is a Saab for you?”. That’s the kind of stuff people need to see. The question is, how to make your site more visible to those people? Maybe somehow redirect all Google searches for “Consumer Reports” or “Saab” to Trollhattansaab;-)

  4. The site is just wonderful to keep in touch with all saab news. I’m born as a saab driver and I want to continue. This is my 6th saab now, and the next one will be a saab again, if the price is right. I have convinced a few friends already to change their audi’s or merc’s for a saab, and most are very happy with their decision. Keep up the good work

    Peter

  5. Here at a Dutch dealership, I / we often give customers the URL of this site.

    The last 2 months, it happened more than once a day that people asked about the MY08 9-3.

    We just took them to the nearest computer, opened this site and checked out the most recent images. 😀

    Nothing better then this site when it comes to Saab! 😀

  6. I have always been intrigued by Saabs, but never have had the courage to pull the trigger yet. However, I’m currently in the “pre-planning stage” for selecting a car to replace my 2000 VW Passat Variant, and right now it’s a horse race between a new Passat Variant and a Saab SportCombi. This site has taught me a lot about the Saab brand, and has also served to remind me about the core Saab values that piqued my interest in the first place — so in that regard, consider your Mission Accomplished. I, for one, would really like to see Saab do well in the coming decade…and grass-roots enthusiasts will likely play a critical role in that success.

  7. I had already been introduced to the brand before I bought my ’02 9-5 Arc last October, but this site has truly given me the enthusiasm and excitement for Saabs that will definitely cause me to buy another in the future.

    What I’ve learned here also enables me to talk to others about Saab in a knowledgeable way. Without getting the true pulse of the brand, how could I ever explain it to someone else?

  8. this site has helped grow my saab like into saab love [read: obsession buring with the fire of 1000 suns].

    :p

  9. As a dealer for most european brands, we always try to give our customers the best perspective. But I have to admit, that especially in the case of Saab, we refer to your site Swade and other Sites for Saabs enthusiasts. I do not know any other premium brand that deserves to get this much credit when it comes down to pure style! Our customers even more tend to buy a Saab after reading what the heritage and pride is all about! It is the permanent dedication to Saab that people like you spread in the world, Swade. We can not thank you enough – this sort of community is what helps Saab to regain the special “feel” that divides it from competition and it improves sales, one way or the other – no doubt about it!

  10. I bought my (latest) Saab 3 years ago. I really wanted the old 9-3, so there was no hesitation. But when I think back 2 years ago, there was a big possibility that I would go with something else the next time. There was all the negative press about Saab and no real commitment from GM. I know that Saab is a brand that has passionate owners, but I still had the feeling I was just a breed that was about to go the same way as the dinosaurs. Even as a Swede, I felt uncertain about the future of Saab and buying a new car from them.

    Enter Swade and trollhattansaab.net. First, I was glad to see a true enthusiast site about Saab. Then I was hooked by the things that appeared here. It was not the usual “Saab is the best, **** the rest”, or just stupid rants about things the blogger didn’t like. That stuff is all to common on the net. No, it was Saab news, is was rumors, it was personal stories from people all over the world, it was pictures, it was really well written thoughts about Saab and GM and the auto industry. It was real passion for the brand and it’s history and the future, but still enough honesty to tell the truth when there was something wrong in the world of Saab. It was just inspiring.

    True, Saab is in a better position today than two years ago. But I’m not sure I would have been this interested in Saab today if it wasn’t for this site. And I’m planning to buy the new face-lifted model next year when I had my current 9-3 for 4 years. I do not think about other brands any more.

    Swade, it been said over and over again by us, the readers. But you do a fantastic job promoting ALL things Saab and doing so with a true heart. I’m really glad you could go to the Saab Festival and got some special treatment by Saab. You really deserve it!

  11. my first saab was a ’94 900SE (v6). i got that car because my dad had a ’91 900 turbo cabrio. i learned a little about Saab….then i found TS! Wow, what a huge impact it has had on my unhealthy obsession with Saab.

    I got a 2003 9-3 last August. My biggest resources were TS and Saabcentral. With these sites and Dad’s approval, I got the car. I am pleased that I can find such a plethora of information (and a fantastic community) about a small swedish auto company. Thanks to SWade and the rest of the Saab community!

  12. 5 years ago, I bought my first saab, because 15 years earlier, I was totally enthralled with the look of a 900 turbo as I tried to keep up with it as it winded up and down a mountain road. 6 months after I bought it, my clutch went out, and all these ‘I told you so’ cockroaches came out of the woodwork and told me this was the beginning of my ‘sob’ story. I felt exactly the opposite, that this was a mere blip in an erstwhile terrifically made car. That was when I found your website. Since then, I have learned more tribal knowledge about Saab the company and the car than I could have any where else. That tribal knowledge really solidified for me that my decision was a solid one, and eventually led me to buy my 2nd, a 9-3. Bottom line, my first purchase was purely emotional, the second was very informed and intelligent. Btw, I have owned other cars I liked, but NEVER bought a newer MY-xx or even a car from the same mfg. So it wasn’t just because I liked the first Saab.

    If you visit most auto sites from either dealerships or carmakers, which have the new car buyer top of mind, they will try and keep you in the emotional side of the purchase. Pay attention to their ads-it’s almost all emotional. Even their features have no value, other than emotional merit. This site may not be suited for new buyers or tire kickers. But once they’re in the clan, I can think of no better place to find the connections to justify their purchase.

  13. Can´t add anything but what would be interesting is how many visitors TS has per day or since you started Swade!

  14. As a neo-customer, this was the first and only website of its kind i have used to guage the ownership experience.

    The information, discussion on this web site has helped considerably in my decision and i think i may have arrived here by accident while doing a google search for Hirsch performance (which i don’t think is avail in Aust).

    After being very dissatisfied with the service of my Honda Euro i began looking into similar cars with a bit of character and with a more rational service period and support (third party or otherwise).

    After reading some overly negative opions (i thought so) on the 9-3 i decided to research it further. After checking out the “Dogs & Lemons” guide noticed that the only real concern written in there was the fact that the 9-3 was built on a Vectra platform (so what?).

    With such conflicting opinion and after checking out the Volvo S40 (yes i did), decided that the 9-3 was more in line with what i was looking for.

    Ironically, the GM association i found a plus in that i expected typical spares (clutch plate etc) to be more affordable than they once were and better than my Accord Euro. The prospects for alternative fuels was also quite attractive.

    This site led me to lot of this info, but more importantly, to a source of info and opinion (biased or not) which was valuable and introduced me to a culture which i find a breath of fresh air. The balanced info and points of view (mostly) are what has mainly kept me glued to your site as it gives it credibility.

    For me the next purchase is about:

    1. Post sale support (dealer or otherwise). To be able to find SAAB credible service which won’t rip me off.

    2. Reliability. Not having to worry about it being taken off the road every 5 mins. I drive 100 kms /day.

    3. Robust. I drive through the mountain areas regularly and need to know i can rely on the cars torque and strenght of the engine. Ie: doesn’t start leaking at the drop of a hat like a holden or Ford.

    4. Longevity. If i keep the car for more than 5 yrs , the quality is such that it typically doesn’t start falling apart in an entropic reaction (like many holdens and fords).

    Sorry for the rambling but maybe this can help build your pic of what some potential customers may see in your website.

    Despite my recent crticisms of the new 9-3, i think you do a great job with this site and i REALLY think SAAB Aust should giving you some/more material support.

    The intro to SAAB through this site will have added at least 1 new SAAB customer and possibly new loyal cust to the SAAB brand.

  15. Thanks to your site I got myself a brand new 9-3 SS , model 97 that is… I don’t like all of the bling bling on the new one.
    The “old” model suits me fine , and thanks to SAAB’s anniversary , it’s really loaded with options. With the additional Hirsch performance “fun pack” on my new 150HP , the cars performance even comes close to the new TTiD…
    Keep up the good work Swade , you’re doing a fantastic job. I check your site everyday…

  16. “I’d never expect that a site like this plays a fundamental part in informing a purchase decision” — obviously you ARE fallible, at least this once.

    Actually, I stumbled upon your site about three weeks ago and have been a daily (multi-daily) reader since then. I don’t even own a Saab.

    I found the site when researching the purchase of either a 9-3 sedan or sportcombi. Your site, and the articles contained within, convinced me in no uncertain terms NOT to buy.

    There was no question about it, once I saw the in-person reports of the MY08 unveiling I told my wife we weren’t setting foot in the dealership again. Even though I estimate it will cost us, I expect, we’re holding out for an ’08.

    In fact, we may even take european delivery!

    The site is fantastic, with what seems to be the perfect mix of opinion, fanaticsm, information, and good, old-fashioned reporting. And the quality of the writing is excellent (something I usually find severely lacking in many blogs).

    Keep up the excellent work! I’ll keep reading it!

  17. With the purchase of our first Saab in 2000 I did a fair bit of reading online but things have come a long way since then. While we kept the Saab I also bought another make of new car and followed forums for that over the last few years. It came time to replace and I was heavily leaning towards the other Swedish brand for a lack of a 9-3 wagon. When the Sportcombi was released I started to check back on Saab sites. What I have found on most forums, Saab ones included, is that many go there to ‘resolve’ problems and positive stories and commentary are in the minority. The heavy negative nature of 9-3 threads on certain forums almost scared me away from the purchase as it has many others who are new to the brand. I did notice an underlying love of the cars despite the problems but as a new car buyer that is not always enough. It was my past Saab experience as well as actually jumping in Saabs that sold me.

    If I had relied solely on web and written sources I would have believed that the Volvo V50 was the better bet. In reality it is cramped, has poor functionality and an OK engine, ride and handling. The first time I drove a 9-3 (even though just a 1.8t) I found it a revelation. While it seemed underdone on paper (and is certainly no stormer), thanks to turbo-charging it had beautifully unruffled pick-up that stayed on tap as the gearbox kept things nicely on the boil. Also despite the design being a few years old it was supremely comfortable and practical with a very well thought out interior that is great for a young family; the Anti-SUV. What this underscored is that no amount of reading and research can substitute getting your body in a car and driving it’s wheels off.

    I found TS a short while after buying the Sportcombi and it was just the thing I needed. While I was very happy with the 9-3, it is great to feel positive about the brand as well. Zines and forums are not good for this as far as Saab is concerned. TS, on the other hand, is a celebration of Saab and a goldmine of info. I no longer feel that I have to scour the web for Saab stuff as all roads lead to TS. Some of the great things have been seeing JL Racing kicking butt in Canada, watching the despair at GM mixed with optimism that the Saab brand can win through, and the fervour with which people support their favoured Saab models. The site has helped maintain my respect for the brand and we are now a 2 Saab family after having sold the old 9000 we now have a 98 Anniversary which I love.

    All the reading and blogging aside though, there is no substitute for being in one of my Saabs, something I look forward to several times each and every day.

  18. Though I’m not yet a Saab owner, this site has helped me tremendously!!!

    This site was th first site, besides SaabUSA, that I had even looked at Saab information. My only experience with the brand was seeing it in magazines and riding in a hatchback 9-3 back in 2003.

    Though my curiousity was sparked already, without this site, I do not believe that I’d be so close to buying a Saab… Prolly woulda’ ended up with an Audi or VW. Thanx Swade!

  19. Swade, I have never owned a Saab but because of your non-stop up to date information on the 2008 9-3, I will own a Saab. In fact I thought of buying a 2007 until I first saw the 2008 on your website. You have kept my mouth watering for months. You do an absolute bang up job. Thank you so much for your time that you devote to this site and fellow Saab enthusiasts.

  20. Quite frankly guys, this site is keeping us all hooked up to anything Saab and has made a massive contribution to our esteem and loyalty of the brand. Many of us by now would have drifted by now to the other Swede and/or the Teutonic options (I won’t even name these) if it wasn’t for the work that Swade is providing at no cost. The information in the public domain is so vitriolic against Saab that would discourage any die hards if it wasn’t for this forum. As for potential new fans this site is simply the best to report in a true, authentic and with the highest integrity what Saab is all about that anyone can find. Swade, you are a hero and without your work many of us would have been gone in disillusion. You are a great inspiration for a good cause !!!

  21. Thanks guys for the great feedback. It’s good to see that TS and other sites are hitting their mark.

    I posted this as I occasionally wonder if the advance news sometimes hurts Saab. I think the overall effect is a net positive, though. Speaking with Jan-Ake Jonsson at the Festival dinner, he did mention that any time a good photo of a Saab is published and noticed it’s a good thing. As long as it’s not too far in advance I guess it’s Ok then, and it helps the enthusiasts like us keep abreast of what’s going on.

    Thanks again.

  22. Like others here I bought my SAAB, a 2004 9-5 Aero, before discovering the site.

    I always knew I wanted a SAAB but I can now explain why. Reading the articles on this site you can see why SAAB owners are so passionate about their cars.

    You’re doing a great job Swade.

  23. I’ve never posted a comment here before, but I’ve been lurking around for the past few months.

    About three weeks ago I bought a 95, and I was reading your blog throughout the shopping process. One of the big factors that moved the 95 ahead of a BMW 5-series for me was the community and passion for the brand. Your blog was part of what got me excited to own a Saab! Thanks for all the work, I still visit almost every day. The new MY2008 9-3 coverage in particular has been great; I’ve been passing the information off to my father, trying to convince him to go with a 93 Aero XWD instead of a Mustang. (He had a 900 convertible a couple of decades ago.) Keep it up!

  24. I wanted to post earlier this week but hit blocking software where I was at. I found this site right after my wife decided she wanted a 2006 9-5 2.3T and we leased it. Our parents are GM Family and we grew tired of the same old GM commodity-car models. Wanted something different that was in financial reach with the discount. I didn’t like the 9-5 at first but now am a huge fan after taking it on several 400+ mile round trips to Atlanta. Awesome car for the money and is completely overlooked.

    This site was the primary influence of my 2006 9-3 Aero lease. I wanted to get the “Saab experience” before GM de-contented the dash. The enthusiasm and maturity of the Saab community pulled me in. I didn’t relish being one of the bimmer-boiz or an audi-snob. I was frequenting many of the car brand web-boards at the time, and a good 4-5 Saab sites.

    Then, last December, I had trouble with my dealer ruining my 9-3 dash and carpets with an air freshener chemical spray. I was going to abandon the Saab brand. The dealer made good. Swade got all this great info for 2008 when my leases are up. I’m coming back to Saab for both cars … not sure what models yet.

    Trollhattansaab.net is now my one-and-only Saab site. The discussion forums are too hard to follow and don’t always have the best info. I come here first to get news and model information and then check GM’s Saab sites to see if they got the news. 🙂

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