The good and the bad of Saab Service

Because I’d like to finish on a good note, let’s cover the bad first.

I wrote about Saab’s growth in Romania the other day. It seems that post has prompted at least one response from a local there. Calling himself ‘SaabOwner’, he’s got little good to say about Augusta, the importer in Romania. The full story is here in comments but in brief, SO had a gearbox problem that needed to be fixed. They wanted to hit him up for a vehicle in the meantime, until they were advised not to (that’s me reading between the lines). So they hit him up for part of the repair price instead.

At the completion of his lease, he paid the car out and tried to have his vehicle insurance transferred, only to be told by the insurer that the policy didn’t exist. It seems Augusta took the money in advance, sent him some bogus paperwork and self-insured. No refunds were forthcoming, nor were any apologies.

The end result, SO still has his Saab, but his recent new vehicle was wasn’t a Saab as he didn’t want to have to deal with them again.

With sales growing there, I hope Augusta have picked up their game. If not, they’ll probably kill Saab in that country for the next few years.


But there’s good service stories too. This one’s from the US. It’s fairly basic – just a very happy new customer with his newly purchased Saab. But it comes with a photo, so it’s worth a post just to feel reassured knowing that there’s a bunch of Saab people out there and they’re representing the brand in the appropriate manner.

The happy owner got out of a Honda Oddysey for a new 9-3 SportCombi and had this to write to Peter S, the guy who led him through the transaction:

Hi Peter,

I just wanted to thank you again for your very personal and professional service in leasing my new Saab. It’s rare to find people in your industry that can make the whole experience as easy and comfortable as you did. I am loving my new 9-3 sport combi and wanted to send a photo of the Saab on location in Lybrook New Mexico on Sept 12 @ 6 am. Thanks again.

Nice work, Peter.

Saab 9-3 SportCombi

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  1. Re Sabb service, and on a larger scale, GM policy and repair capability resources:

    GM recently decleared the sudden by-itself deployment of both side curtain airbags on my new 2007 9-7X 5.3i a defect, they said they will repair under warranty. Problem is that the parts are “back ordered,” meaning that they have to be newly machined or taken off the current assembly line in Ohio and shipped to the dealer in Missouri for vehicle repair, according to what the the dealer’s service manager told me. He knows not of what decision has been made by GM.

    Vehicle has been inoperable since the incident, on 8/29/07. The OnStar automatic monthly diagnostic, on 9/8/07, said everything working property with no issues, including airbags. So much for OnStar!

    Being that GM’s Customer Service is clueless after many conversations with them, on 9/21/07 I personally spoke with an engineer at Autoluv, Inc., the firm that manufactures the Saab airbags. He took down my detailed info, VIN, et al, and was referring all to the head side curtain airbag engineer. The enginner I spoke with appeared VERY concerned. No, I have not seen a copy of the GM engineering report that reviewed the airbag incident on my 9-7X.

    I have been in email contact with Steve Shannon, Saab’s General Manager, wherein he stated, a few weeks back, that Sabb will look into this issue.

    I don’t know if the defect is GM or Autoluv related, or both, as all I want is for the vehicle to be PROMPTLY repaired or replaced.

    There is a precident re replacement, as a new 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer SS [built in same GM factory, a techno sister of the 9-7X] recently had the same sudden side curtain airbag deployment wherein the owner told me that his vehicle was replaced with a brand new identical one. I have the GM Service Number for his case, his name and have communicated with him, so I know that the story is true.

    Otherwise, have no complaints re Saab service, though my 9-7X only has about 5,300 miles on it thus far. It’s a 27 month lease, from GMAC, so any future service concerns down the road will be those of whomever buys the vehicle at the typical end of lease auctions.

    I also own two new EX-L Honda Accord V-6s, wherein their quality puts BMW & Mercedes to shame! 😉

  2. Most car manufacturers are experiencing these type of problems with their new models in one way or another. Shelly, at least you are getting “some type” of a positive reply. If you stay persistant, you will get results. Don’t feel bad, just google “chrysler sebring convertible top problems” and see what comes up. SAME FOR THE VOLVO C-70… BMW and Mercedes usually blame the owner for everything.

  3. Understand, but the 9-7X is NOT a new model, and essentially the same as the Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Envoy, with the exception of some Trollhattan superior engineering. It’s all speculation re the actual defect cause, whether air bag assembly, installation, module software, hardware, sensors, et al.

    Worst case scenario — besides any injuries or deaths caused by sudden defective deployment — is a massive GM recall of all such SUV type vehicles manufactured at the GM facility that used same part(s) and/or assemly procedure. Could cost GM tens of millions of dollars, let alone lost new sales.

    Zero defects for any vehicle is a fiction, it just is a matter of degree of the defect and ability and time to affect repair.

    In this specific side curtain airbag defect case, GM’s ability and time to affect repair appears compromised by their just-in-time inventory policy that most all USA manufacturers use wherein they attempt to minimize the cost of purchasing & storage of dormant inventory, here being auto parts. Probability tables are calculated re what parts are expected to fail at how often and at what vehicle use stress & age and, based upon those results [a stocastic analysis], x quantity of those parts are stored in inventory. In this case, it is/was not, presumably, expected for the side curtain airbags to deploy as such and, if deployed correctly in an accident or rollover, a calculation is made re how many units have to be actually replaced, being none if the vehicle is declared a total loss.

  4. CORRECTION: Spoke with Autoluv, Inc. wherein they claim that they only manufacture the electrical components to the side curtain airbags, not the airbags themselves. Their attorneys are concerned re the curtain failure and are following up.

  5. Shelly: I hope the GM strike does not slow down the process for you. I hope Saab has put in a nice “Saab loaner” while all of this is going on. After-all, you are paying for it in the lease payment being made every month.

  6. Got a phone call from the Saab dealer today, said the correct parts are today being shipped air freight and that the vehicle should be repaired by this Friday, 9/28. We shall see???

    The loaner is a GMC Yukon, from Enterprise, paid for by GM.

    I made a LOT of noise with GM, Saab, GMAC, and the airbag electrics manufacturer. So, after 27 days, perhaps now things will move toward completion. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease!”

    Would I lease another Saab? Sure would, as no other auto manufacturer is immune from defects, particularly Toyota & Volkswagen of late. IMHO best made autos are Hondas and Honda’s Acura . . . I say this from experience of three leases.

  7. Glad to read the good news. I would be suprised if the Saab dealer didn’t do the proper thing for you. I have a 2002 9-3/SE convertible that I love… Have to say the dealer treatment has been SUPERIOR all the way around. Had a few minor problems that were rectified in very short order. You should make sure that only a Master-Level Saab technician works on your 9-7 at all times. NEVER LET THE JIFFEY LUBE GUY CHANGE YOUR OIL. If I were you, I would get another saab when this lease is up, it could one day save your life.

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