Questions on the US release of the 2008 Saab 9-3

UPDATE below!


I’ve just been reading the US press release for the 2008 Saab 9-3 and I have a couple of questions.

Here’s the bit of the press release that sparked the first question:

At the rear, all new 9-3 models now feature smoked white light clusters.

I thought it was a requirement in the US that all rear lights (i.e. brake lights) have red lenses, hence the SportCombi having red instead of the ice blocks. Am I wrong on that one or are there some special loopholes there?

My second question is one that I’ll be posting to Saab USA directly right after I complete this post. Here’s the text that it’s concerned with:

In addition to the already high-level of standard equipment, Saab adds OnStar, XM Radio, rain-sensing wipers, tire pressure monitor, ‘quiet package’ to reduce road noise and remote open for the convertible top for the 2008 model year.

It’s the words “quiet package” here that made me sit up and take notice.

On the test drive that I did with the 9-3 TTiD SportCombi in Sweden, the car was noticeably quieter than the 2007 model TiD SportCombi rental that we had as a companion car that day. Par Brandt from Auto Motor and Sport deliberately hired the 2007 model so that he could do the direct comparison.

When I see the word “package” I immediately think of options that cost people money. My worry here is that Saab USA will be selling a ‘regular’ 2008 Saab 9-3 and a ‘quiet’ one at some extra cost. This is the first I’ve heard of this ‘quiet package’ so I’m going to email Saab USA and ask a few very direct questions:

1) Is this “quiet package” an option on the 2008 Saab 9-3 and if so, what’s it going to cost?

2) If it is an option on the 2008 model, how does it compare to the cars driven in Sweden at the launch of the vehicle? Were they fitted with the quiet package? Will a car that’s not fitted with the “quiet package” be comparable to a 2007 vehicle in terms of road noise etc?.

I don’t want to be seen to be going off the deep end here, but this is the first I’ve seen of the “quiet package” and I have had access to the US specs for the 9-3 for some time now. The press release does read as if those items listed will all be standard, but it just puzzles me that they’ve defined it as a ‘package’. Why not just say you’ve added better insulation to make the car quieter?

I’m not trying to create a panic here, but they’ve written the words in the release so I’m going to try and find out what they mean so we can all be clear on it.

You’ll know as soon as I know.



I’ve emailed Saab USA but as it’s after hours over there right now I don’t expect a response too soon.

Whilst I’ve been doing that, turbin provided some very basic advice – go and Google “Quiet Package” and check the GM results. D’oh!

So I did. The GMC Envoy is the first one to come up and the basic description for the Quiet Package is: “includes strategically placed elements of sound insulation”. And it IS a standard feature on the Envoy (so I assume it’ll be so on the Saab).

Click through on the QP link and it gives some more details – Laminated windsheild with some acoustical stuff between the laminated sheets, double-fibreglass insulation at the front of the dash and extra insulation in areas such as the doors, pillars and speaker areas.

Which is all fair enough.

....rant commencing.....

But why mix the language? You’ve got packages that you pay for and now packages that are standard? Isn’t that just standard equipment? And as mentioned above, why not just say “We’ve improved the insulation and the car is now a lot quieter”???

That phrase actually says what you’ve done and the result. Simple.

Why does there have to be a catchy phrase for every-bloody-thing? As it appears to be standard, it’s not as if customers have to choose the Quiet Package, so remembering it shouldn’t have to be that important. If they’re talking to their friends about it, they’re not going to rack their brain thinking of the catchy title for ‘insulation’.

As a matter of fact, you’re probably just setting yourself up for problems. One day a dealer is going to get a customer come in and ask if Model X has the ‘foam package’ that his friend’s Saab has.

And if we’re going to do ‘packages’ for insulation, then why stop there?

I’ll have a 9-3 with the seats package, the engine package and the A-pillars package, please.

Make mine a 9-5 with the 9-5 package thrown in. Cheers.

Someone fire the freaking copywriters and spend their salary on vehicle development – please!!

.....rant concludes.....

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  1. Quiet package????

    Silicon lubricant spray?

    Saab branded earmuffs?

    Knobbly tyres so tyre noise drowns out engine and cabin squeaks?

    Duct tape to shut-up passengers?

    White noise CD?

    Meditation CD?

    Top gear style sauna interior?

    Saab – Boggle Your Mind

  2. On the topic of clear tail lights: No, they are not illegal in the us. All (I’m pretty sure all) Lexuses come with them. They’re also a popular mod with boy racers.

    I’m not sure what the deal was with the SportCombi.

  3. Hi, You are not going to get anything out of SaabUSA customer service. They are worthless…it takes 3 days for them to reply with some corporate line bullshit that you know is bullshit.
    Sorry to be negative.
    As far as bluetooth – if the car has Onstar (at least now it is digital), you cannot add official bluetooth. But you can buy a parrot or motorola kit with a harness and do it yourself for 1/3 the cost.
    Digital Onstar can be tied in with Verizon cell phone plan as a second line for $9.99. Basically you pay for your primary line, plus $9.99/month to have another number for your Onstar and share minutes…. not a bad deal…but you have two numbers which sucks. Overall, Onstar should be on option and not shoved down your throat.
    I used to have 2003 9-3SS with onstar and did A LOT of research on the onstar/GSM built in phone in for Europian cars. If you want to hear more, let me know.

  4. For Sale: 2004 Saab 9-3 Linear 2.0t

    Loaded with leather, A/C, power everything, moon roof, 17″ sport wheel package, and ‘rattle package’ for the ultimate in road to driver communication.

  5. If they say that it has “insulation,” it doesn’t sound special. If they say “specially engineered, innovative Quiet Package (only available in the new Saab 9-3) to cut down on intrusive road noise so you can pilot your new Saab with less distractions,” it sounds special. We know it’s just insulation, but your average car buyer might not. Besides, all cars have insulation, but only Saab has the quiet package. They can legally say that insulation is a Saab exclusive this way.

  6. By offering the quiet package isn’t GM basically saying that the 9-3 isn’t as refined as a BMW or Audi? Not very clever marketing on GMs part! IMHO!

  7. Don’t blame the writers, it’s more likely “Package” notion comes from the Marketing Dept. At my job Marketing has final say over which technical support articles are posted to the public – anything acknowledging a problem an end user might encounter quickly gets the kibosh from them. It seems to me that the Product Managers’ zeal as advocates for the widget often far exceeds their consideration for the consumer. Apologies for over-generalizing, but Swade’s rant was contagious.

  8. I’m torn on whether the Quiet Package should be standard or extra.

    On one hand, the competition would make it standard. So if it is to be an option it shouldn’t add much to the price.

    However, I wouldn’t want to pay for extra options and weight if I’m satisfied with the non-Quiet Package NVH. Simpler and lighter is good.

  9. Too bad my 2003 came with Rattle and Squeak-package, topped with Unreliability-package. I would have taken them off the list if I’d known.

  10. Turbin,
    Don’t have a clue why that happened to you, but you have too many quotes around your href. You have “” at the beginning and ”” at the end. The system seems to like to add some trollhattansaab stuff to your link if it doesn’t see just one ” from your keyboard at each end (can’t use the ” style).

  11. …also the system stupidly changes what you type. The quotes you see in my post aren’t what I typed. I hate software that thinks it’s smart enough to change things. ;-( (Not blaming Swade though—just stupid programmers).

  12. MagX is right. I was about to mention Lexus and their God-awful tail lights, but he beat me to it. I think Saab’s approach to the ice-block (Sportcombi) and smoked on the sedan is executed in a more elegant way.

  13. Quiet package… Well, that is a GM advertising moniker if I ever heard one.

    As an enduring follower of the Generals clever marketing efforts I would have to point out a few other notable efforts through the years:

    E-Z cool glass (was standard on Cadillac’s in the 90’s and saved many customers from the suns harmful rays..)
    “Dynaride” (kept our Buick customers backs in alignment with variable dampening struts)

    And you can always Google (drum roll) “Quit Steel” which was standard on the US built Chevy Cobalt… to learn more about that innovation.

  14. Swade,

    I’m not sure on the official laws or anything, but the lenses on tail lights here can be white or clear assuming that the bulb (eg LED) is red. It’s on quite a few of the newer cars.


  15. Allow me to split hairs …

    The release clearly uses “”quiet package”” (lowercase and in quotes) and not “Quiet Package” as they do with (for example) “Cold Weather Package” … one might suggest that if you don’t like the same word used in different manners, English is too rude for you! or … If you don’t like the same word used in differnent fashions, English may not be very chic? lol … ok, I made myself laugh at least

    As to the lights, US DOT regulation does not say the lenses have to be red … just that the brake lights light up red (from the lense or the bulb) & that there are integrated red corner reflectors that are visible from the rear and the side. The new lights certainly have those reflectors … they do kinda stand out from the rest of the assembly & I doubt there is any way you can miss them if you look at the new tails

  16. Really sorry to see all these packages in the mail. It’s a price increase in disguise and not something a brand that is selling on value should change. “Quiet package” = embarrassment as a Saab owner.

  17. RE: post 10

    The rain sensing close on the CV was actually mentioned as a feature in the original MY04 dealer blurb but never made it onto the road for some reason? (then again neither did the cargo-wing!).

  18. Yeah Swade, can you please use your magic to find out about Bluetooth for the MY08?

    We are all assuming it’s a no-go becasue OnStar is now standard. I guess we will haev to cut the harness and by-pass it. Such a shame.

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