Bring Back The Hatch!!

A great little owner’s story here – a subject matter we’ve covered before and one that I’m sure just about every Saab owner can identify with from one time or another in their lives.

This comes to us from Richard P:


I’m sure there are a hundred threads at TS on this subject, but I thought I’d throw in my 2 cents with some visual proof as to why I only buy Saabs with a hatch. A buddy of mine needed to pick up three boxes of steel shelving from Costco. He only had his Honda Accord and was getting ready to do some bungy cord magic on the roof of his car when he called me up asking for some help to transport the remaining two packages.

I told him not to bother with the bungy cords for his car and that I’d be right there. He was quite skeptical that I could get all these large, heavy boxes in the Saab. But with minimal effort and nothing protruding out the back, we slid them in and shut the lid. My buddy is in the market for a new car that has utility and fuel economy, and I think I gave him some food for thought after seeing the Saab swallow up these behemoth boxes. At 170 pounds a piece (for a total of 510 pounds of cargo) and just over six feet long, the attached picture is exactly why I love these Saab hatches. What other non-SUV, non-truck vehicle can handle this weight and length of load? I say none. And I could even venture to say that some wannabe SUVs would have to break out the bungy cords.

Saab hatch

My buddy said if they made diesel Saabs, he’d slap the cash down now. But of course we in North America won’t see diesels for quite some time because we only get the leftovers from the superior spec’d European models. Perhaps another good reason to continue offering the European Delivery Program.

‘Nuff said! πŸ™‚

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  1. Unfortunately it’s been explained to me that Americans in general don’t see the hatch as befitting a vehicle in the price range of Saabs. Saabs are targeted to folks who can pay someone to deliver and assemble the stuff they buy from the furniture store, not “DIYers”.

    I think one of the best features in Saabs is the cargo rail system inside the trunk of the 9-5 Combi. I have no idea why the 9-3 Combi didn’t get this innovation as well. The system is so strong I understand that at one auto show years ago Saab suspended the entire car by cables attached to the cargo rails! I definitely think that the 9-4X needs to have this utilitarian system included. Did Saab innovate this system? I’ve never seen it in any other car.

  2. Yes, a small number of Americans are willing to buy a hatchback. However, of those who *are* willing, a substantial percentage would in fact buy a Saab.

    And there are upscale consumers who would buy utilitarian features in an upscale car. Right now, those people are buying X5’s and XC90’s. Or Subaru Foresters, or Audi Allroads. Saab can sell a hatch to those people. Hatches are useful and they don’t look like wagons.

    Interesting that you mention Costco. The Costco where I shop is filled with Mercedes, Audi, Volvo, and assorted mid-luxury SUV’s of all kinds.

  3. True, Greg. However, I think that more “upscale customers” would buy a luxury marque SUV for their hauling and utilitarian needs than a hatchback car. It’d probably be harder to get someone to buy a Saab hatchback than a BMW X3 SUV.

    And believe me, I’m a huge hatchback fan. I own two Saab hatchbacks and would never buy a Saab sedan. I just think that not only am I in a minority in even considering a Saab, I’m in an even smaller minority in that I’d want to buy a hatchback. Plus, I’m not a target customer for a new Saab (can’t afford one), so my opinion in the matter matters little. Saab doesn’t build cars for customers who are second or third-hand car buyers.

    Saab just makes what people want to buy, right? I wonder what the sales numbers would look like if the 9-3 and/or 9-5 were also offered in a hatchback variant. Would they be worse?

  4. “What other non-SUV, non-truck vehicle can handle this weight and length of load? I say none.”

    My Subaru Outback wagon can handle that, and some. I recently brought Ikea’s mega “Mongstad” mirror home in the ‘Ru.
    It’s 37″x 74 3/4″ x 4″ and i rode home with all doors and windows closed.
    But given the opportunity, i’ll be trading that in for a 9-3 hatch.

  5. I hope saab brings back the hatch so that toppolas will be back in demand, and maybe put back into production. Mamma wants a saab camper! πŸ™‚

  6. Hatch rules.. I transported a refrigerator in my 3-D 900 -97 that didn’t remotely fitted into my friends Fiat Maeira Combi.. =)

  7. Unfortunately, I believe the above comments about the general car buyer’s aversion to hatches are probably true for most markets. It is ironic that Saab has built such an iconic, utilitarian, sporty and unique vehicle that appeals to folks like us, but then it is that individuality and uniqueness of the car that has stifled their North American sales. Greg’s point about the hatch not looking like a wagon is a huge factor for me. I don’t have to drive a wagon, but still get that massive storage capacity that very few vehicles in any market can compare to.

    I suppose if I had the option of owning a fleet of vehicles – one for every household function – then I might consider purchasing a sedan and then some other utility vehicle. Actually…never mind. I wouldn’t do that. The Saab is here to stay in my garage. Until the return of a new hatch perhaps…

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