More on that 9-2x crash

Great UPDATE at the end

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I reported last week on a crash involving a 9-2x that left one of the occupants with a mild back injury after the seat broke on impact. My comment at the time was that it was a worrying event given that Saabs (and Subarus) are generally known as being very safe cars.

The owner of the car, Jon, has got in touch with me via email and I asked if he’d mind giving us some more details about the event. Here’s his story:

The wreck happened the night of August 18th. Hurricane Erin made landfall the previous day in the southern U.S. Naturally, it weakened as it came on land, but then it began to reorganize (which is rare), and by the time it reached the area I live in, it was back up to a category 1 hurricane.

We were on our way home from dinner with friends, and it had just began to rain when the accident occurred. We were stopped waiting for a car in front of us to turn left across oncoming traffic into a neighborhood. Just as that car made its turn and got out of the way, we were hit from behind. The roads were wet, but I didn’t hear and skidding before the impact. I can only assume they didn’t get a chance to hit their brakes. The speed limit on the road we were on is 40mph (64kph). The car that hit us was a 1995 Dodge Intripid. The front end of the car went up over the back bumper of my car and most of the impact was absorbed in the back hatch area. The car also hit a little more on the passenger side. All things considered, the car held up pretty well.

I was driving, my friend was in the front passenger seat, my friend’s wife was in the back driver side seat, and my fiancé was in the back passenger side seat. At this point in time, everyone’s injuries seem to be minor, but we’re all under ongoing medical care just to be sure. Everyone has a good case of whiplash. My fiancé has a bruised back, bruised knee, and a concussion. My friend’s wife seems to have made it out with just the whiplash. My friend however, received the worst injuries because his seat back collapsed.

He’s a good sized guy, weighing in at 280lbs. (130kg) and is about 6’0″ (183cm) tall. Regardless of his size, the seat back should not have collapsed like it did. The Subaru Impreza is one of the safest cars on the market. I’ve owned a 2003 WRX sedan, and my friend injured in the accident currently owns a 2005 WRX STI. I believe the seat back failure was a fluke, but it is still unacceptable. As a result, he hyper-extended his back and received a severe case of whiplash, backlash, and a concussion.

I was told by the insurance company a couple of days ago that they’ve written the car off as a total loss.

Small photos only, I’m afraid.

Calling this one a writeoff gives me some fears for the fate of my Viggen, I must say. There must be some chassis damage there that we can’t see as the front of the car (not shown here) looks 100% OK.

I’d like to thank Jon for sharing the story with us and I hope he finds another car that’ll keep him happy soon (the 2008 9-3’s an absolute corker, Jon!!). I also hope his friend makes a speedy and complete recovery.

Saab 9-2x crash

Saab 9-2x crash

Saab 9-2x crash

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UPDATE:

Jon emailed me again a few days after sending me this story with the news that his soon-to-be-father-in-law was so impressed with Jon’s 9-2x that he went and traded his Hummer H3 for a Saab 9-3, a 2007 model with the 2.0T!

SaabUSA: safety stories do matter and more than that – don’t ever let safety be compromised in the design of new Saabs.

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15 Comments

  1. When talking to people about cars, it amazes me how many don’t even consider safety an issue.

    There are so many cars out there that I wouldn’t even consider driving around the block in, much less own.

    Saab, Subaru, and Volvo about about the only cars I would consider owning.

  2. The wrecked 9-2x here is…was my car. I would love to replace the 9-2x with a new 9-3, but I recently bough a house. I also have to save up for a wedding and honeymoon!

    The 9-2x will be replaced with a 2008 VW Rabbit.

  3. I’m not at all surpised the car’s regarded as a write-off. Both rear fenders which are part of the main chassis (not bolted in place) are busted and that’s alot of work to repair that and get a result that wont be noticable.

  4. JON buy a used Saab 9-3 insted of VW it is still safer… you could buy a 10 year old Saab and get the same safety as in most new ones… and the extra fun of it being a Saab 🙂

    Good luck with house and wife!

  5. My suggestion, get a 9-3 SportCombi. I, too, had the 9-2x and loved it, but love my Combi more. The only thing I seem to desire that the 9-2x had was AWD, but the rest of the car makes up for that. Bigger, just as safe, and you can pick up a MY07 now for as much as the 9-2x Aero cost brand new, infact, maybe cheaper – For under $26k (with rebates)! You won’t regret it!

  6. I told SAAB USA President Steve Shannon this story over drinks at the Fahrenheit bar in the Ritz Carlton Georgetown last Monday (boy this name-dropping is fun!) and explained that even though the 9²X couldn’t be considered a “true” SAAB per se, the name recognition got Jon’s father-in-law to buy a SAAB 9³. He agreed with my assessment that oftentimes people don’t weigh safety heavily enough when purchasing a new car until they or someone close to them is involved in an automobile accident.

    One of the other journalists there was telling Steve how his fiance was driving her SAAB while he was following her one night and she flipped her car multiple times in an accident right before his eyes. The extracted herself from the wreckage unhurt. She replaced that destroyed SAAB with a nearly identical one. He had brought his MacBook laptop with him and showed Steve the pictures of the crash. Steve was astonished at the account of the story and seemed very genuinely touched by it. He was telling Jan-Willem Vester that they really should get this story out. I guess Mr. Shannon knew that SAABs are safe (his wife drives one), but he didn’t realize just how safe they are until he saw these pictures.

  7. “I told SAAB USA President Steve Shannon (…) / (…) I guess Mr. Shannon knew that SAABs are safe (his wife drives one), but he didn’t realize (…)”

    Mr. Gripen, does that mean the Saab Usa President isn’t driving a Saab by himself ????

  8. Jon, hope you and your friends survived the crash well and are recovering quick.

    I have had a 9-3 (1st gen) in an accident in 2001.
    The car was completely devastated at the back and at front wasn’t recognizable as a saab anymore.

    (IVECO truck driving in on me at traffic lights – the truck first hit a VW LT wich was then sandwiched between the iveco and the saab, the iveco pushed the VW LT away and pushed me further under a smaller Ford Transit PickUp truck, the Transit hit a ovlov V40 in front of him – all drivers and co-drivers were brought to hospital except me and the iveco driver – the vw LT driver was injured badly and all people in the cars standing in front of me had a whiplash injury – the stiff cell of the saab 9-3 acted good and the SAHR-system did is work, front doors could easyly be opened – on the back doors there was needed some force to get them open.
    Arriving at the spot, the ambulance people couldn’t believe that i managed to get out and having no problems at all)

    Of course i was a bit shocked – and driving around the couple of next weeks all bigger cars and trucks showing up in the mirror made me a bit nervous, but the one thing a new, just getting out of the wrecked saab, i want that same car again, and not just for its sport- and quirckyness.Which was exactly what i did, buying a 2nd hand 9-3.

    (before the 9-3, we used to drive with vw golfs generation 2 – thank god wasn’t involved with these in an accident, but i don’t know how a vw my 08 will perform – i would follow nevitz’s advice and get a saab – even 2nd hand – i have never regretted it).

  9. Don’t get me wrong. I would absolutely love to replace the 9-2x with a late model 9-3, but it’s a question of finances. With the wedding, honeymoon, and new house, we really don’t have the funds for the 9-3 right now. The ’08 VW gets good crash test ratings, and is in our price range.

    Perhaps, the good folks at SAAB USA could lend a hand in the form of a discount?

    (You never know until you ask.)

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