Saab Oz – “We’re Slow”

I had to have a giggle when I saw this report in the Oz media today.

THE Saab car company is set to mount a protest against new rules that would see probationary drivers fined $1100 and awarded three demerit points for driving one of the Swedish cars.

From Sunday night, VicRoads will introduce a new definition of high-powered cars that will prevent newly licensed drivers from driving a car with a V8 engine or a car with a turbocharger or supercharger.

A stupid law made by stupid people who want a one-size-fits-all rule so they don’t have to do too much. But I digress…..

This is the bit that made me laugh:

“We are about to approach the relevant states to see if we can get the blanket ban lifted on safety grounds,” Saab spokesman Emily Perry said.

Ms Perry said the company would stress that its cars were not very powerful despite being turbocharged.

So, now you know. Your car is not very powerful and any delusions you were having about jet ancestry and getting the power of a 6 with a turbo-4 should be piled out the window along with all the memorabilia you’ve collected.

I’m kidding.

This is the Fast and the Furious generation and these laws have been prompted by a number of deaths in the last few years on Victorian and NSW roads, many of which involved kids in hotted up and turbocharged Japanese cars taking themselves out of the gene pool. As tragic as that is on it’s own, they often took someone else out with them.

It’s hard to know where to stand on this. Yeah, we need to slow probationary drivers (like this guy) down until they get a better handle on controlling their cars. Limiting their choice of vehicle is one way of doing that, but it shouldn’t penalise car companies that make responsible, safe, turbocharged vehicles like Saab do.

I’m also a little baffled as to why Saab Oz are making this newsworthy. Some teenagers from wealthy families won’t be able to drive Dad’s modern Saab? Those families have probably got enough money to get the kid a Lancer or something better anyway. The P-platers buying their own cars might be tempted by an old classic 900, but it’s going to be a fairly small percentage.

The issue as reported in the story is that Saab’s entire range here in Australia is turbocharged and the kids won’t be able to drive the family vehicle once this ban comes into effect. Are the effects from this really going to be that huge?

Probably not. But I’d join Saab in asking them to review it anyway as I think the law is poorly thought out. Driver education and good parenting will make a much bigger dent than these new laws. You can’t say that if you’re a government department, but you can if you’re a blogger.

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10 Comments

  1. Talk about a “nanny state”. You cant drive a 150bhp turbocharged 4-cylinder 1.8t 9-3 but a 255bhp 6-cylinder BMW330i is ok? Its pretty obvious someone has not done their homework on this one!

    πŸ™

  2. dip, no it doesn’t.

    The boffins that made the decision did manage to apply the right logic to diesels. Shame they couldn’t show the same discretion for petrol-driven cars as well (except for turbocharged microcars, they’re OK).

  3. Perhaps they should use the wonderful statisic that there have been NO fatalities in a Saab in Australia, ever.

    In relation to not very powerful, mmmm, I’m sure there is a 9-5 in Melbourne and a couple of Aero and Viggen drivers around who would dispute that. The 335i I gave a shake to the other night couldn’t believe his eyes and nor could the 300Z that sucked my exhaust fumes πŸ™‚

    Emily….. not a good quote.

  4. Richo,

    Is that a stat that Saab Oz claims? If so, I know of several insances even here in slow old Tassie where Saab occupants have been fatally injured.

    One involved the proprietor and apprentice of a well-known panel repair business who decided to take a customers car “for a spin”, even though he’d told them not to. At almost 200km/hr on the southern outlet they ran under a truck.

    Another involved a near new 9000 CSE that I bought from auction a few years back that claimed a bloke in his 30’s that got hit head on at fairly low speed.

    Judging by the state of some of the salvage wrecks I see, I reckon there’d be countless others.

    DB

  5. Drew

    It maybe a post-Saab Holden merge stat. I know they are forgetting early sales results to make the current ones look good

    Brendan

  6. Just spoke to God, and you’re right. He told me he had a few under his care, then he got in his Saab convertible and drove away.

  7. As I pointed out to Swade, no Victorian P-plater will ever be able to drive a post 1996 Saab due to the completely turbocharged range in Australia. I recently participated in a driving course in which there were 2 P-platers driving their own circa 2000 model BMWs. Clearly they had developed a love for the brand and chose to buy into it early. Do not underestimate the buying power of P-platers. If you want to maintain a future following for the brand as old Saabers die off then it starts with new young ones coming up. With sub 200,000km normally aspirated Saabs getting thin on the ground then some of the safest cars on the road are no longer within legal reach of a young driver.

    Saab Australia are right to get involved now as what will happen when the 9-1 comes on stream aimed at funky young cashed-up ones? I just hope that Emily did not actually say that it was paraphrasing anyway, not quoted.

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