Another Saab safety story

Master T-shirt technician and good friend of TS, Ivan, has sent me this image and story from Hungary, where he lives.

One of his friends, in a Saab 9-5 TiD SportCombi, was involved in an accident last night. A drunk driver in a Suzuki Swift tried an illegal overtaking move, causing a partial front-on collision. The Saab is a write-off.

Ivan’s friend had his wife and two kids in the car. The only injury reported in the Saab was the wife suffering a cracked sternum. She’s under observation, but is going to be OK. Everyone else was unhurt and all the doors on the Saab except for the driver’s door were opened OK.

9-5 crash

The driver in the Suzuki was very seriously injured, he may not survive, and it sounds as if his passenger was seriously injured as well.

Lessons learned:

    1. DON’T drink and drive

    2. Always drive a Saab

No car’s perfect when it comes to safety, but a Saab will protect you better than most.

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  1. I kind of got a friend of mine to buy a Saab this summer because of the safety. She had an almost new Opel, but needed to buy another car. I asked what she wanted. Having two small kids, safety was number one on the list for her. She is also likes Italian cars (Alfa) and had owned an Saab 600 she liked to tinker with, so I know something like a Toyota Corolla was out of the question. OK, why do you have an Opel then? Saab is about as safe you can be. A coule of weeks later she was a very happy owner of an older 9-5. 🙂 And she was even happier a couple of weeks ago when a rear brake light died. Took her 30 seconds to change it. “In the Opel its not even close being this easy!,” was her comment…

  2. Based on the first unofficial informations the Saab’s speed was 50 km/h, the Suzuki came against with at least 70-90 km/h.
    The Saab has been forced to moved backward several meters because of the crash.
    After the accident the Suzuki was so badly damaged that the length of the car became 1m shorter and the rescue workes should cut it off to take the driver and passanger out.

  3. Thing is, was it the old model Swift?

    They are well known as weak cars that collpase totally in an offset frontal impact (and were once sold in the USA as an early version of something called a GM Metro – I think) The same body shell was also sold as a Subaru Justy in Europe- but with 4WD added.

    Anyway, if this was in fact a new model Swift- a strong safe small car with a top EuroNcap rating, then that is very concerning – and would show teh contrast between barrier tests adn real world crashes- something Saab can tell you a lot about..

    And was the wife’s cracked sternum cauded by the air bag- if she was sitting close up to the steering wheel of passengers side?

    Notice the minimal A post movement of the Saab- just what its all about.

  4. Right.

    Small low-end Korean and Japanese cars have been flimsy for years — in the late ’90s I was involved in an accident on Georgia highway 400 just north of the 485 (Atlanta residents will know that to be a frequent location for wrecks). I stopped (miraculously) inches from the rear of a 4-door Hyundai Excel that had plowed into a three-car wreck ahead of him. A Ford Explorer rear-ended me at relatively low speed causing my car (my ’96 Sable) to ram the Hyundai. My Sable showed a little damage from the rear collision (scratches and a left-leaning sag to the bumper), but the front end popped back into place. However, the Hyundai was completely crumpled, the rear window shattered and the trunk about about 18 inches (500 cm) shorter. The fenders slashed both rear tires.

    The airbags in my car deployed, which was fun (not), but otherwise the car was driveable and showed . His Hyundai was not only a total loss, it would have been a HUGE death trap had anyone been riding in the back seat. Fortunately, there were no back seat passengers.

    I promised myself at that moment to never consider any Korean-made cars without HARD evidence that the safety features had improved.

  5. Ivan, I have gathered, from comments you’ve made in the past, that insurance is a tricky thing in Hungary. Did the other driver have insurance? Will your friend’s car be replaced for him? Give our greetings to him and our best wishes for his wife’s speedy recovery – from the ‘International TS community’… 🙂

  6. denverbewbie,
    Thanks, I will forward it to them. 🙂
    Yes, the insurance is tricky. But if the situation is clear, I mean, it’s obvious who was guilty, the association of the hungarian insurance companies will pay even if the drunken driver may not have insurance.
    There is a fund which the members of the association reserved for this kind of situation. Hopefully it will work.

  7. Eggs – your are spot on about low-end korean stuff. Its only in the last 12 months or so that the Koreans have started to score acceptable barrier tests resutls at IIHS and NCAP.

    I think its was 2005/06 that the IIHS cited a Korean car as having the worst test result seen in years. A certain small Korean car touted as the latest fashion icon (especially for girlies) in the UK suffers major cabin intrusion in NCAP- but then so do the big Korean people carriers and SUVs – except for the very latest ones..

    Oh to be a car crash lawyer…citing allegedly less safe than they could be designs as culpable…

    Ivan’s crash photos are good. Pure Saaby

  8. The weird thing is that very likely this Saab will be “rebuilt”.
    There are some half-legal enterprises (we call them sarcasticly magic garage) specilized to buy the strongly damaged cars for small money then rebuild them somehow and sell them as undamaged second hand car to unsuspecting buyers. :(((

  9. lance, I wonder if the guy who’s wife purchased the Mazda, has seen this posting. I wonder if still thinks your over sensitive when it comes to safety.

  10. Mike,


    Oh and if he is reading this, buy a copy of Saab 99 and 900 The Complete Story – the chapter on safety uses the word ‘obsessive’ in its description of Saab and safety – and it (the book) was written by some bloke called Lance…..

    Ho hum.

    Anyway, is his Missus made a purchasing decision based on looks, radio, seats, toys and value, etc etc with no (as stated) thought about safety, then their not really of the Saab purchaser IQ are they….

  11. Arktos, not true.

    I recommend you viewing the episode of Fifth Gear (rival to Top gear in UK), when they crashed a Volve 940, aginst a Renault Modus.

    The passengers of the Modus (would there be any), would have survived the crash with minor injuries, the Volvo’s driver and front seat passenger won’t be so lucky.

  12. Ying

    That test is not of two cars of diverging weight, only of diverging generations.
    The 940, although larger, weighs in at roughly the same weight as the Renault – although the Renault is a “smaller” car.

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