Saab improves on Consumer Reports

I’ve shouted them down when they’ve reported negatively about Saab, and occasionally I’ve been shouted down myself because of it.

I’m still far from convinced that CR’s methodology is correct, but for what it’s worth, the Saab 9-3 has lifted its rating in Consumer Reports’ latest survey and is even on the “newly recommended” list due to it’s improvement.

As you can see on the graph below, Saab have improved from being second or third-last as in previous surveys. They’re still below the industry average, but have improved consistently enough to make the recommended list.

I don’t know if this will help to sell any cars (hey, according to CR we’re not as bad as we used to be…) but at least it’ll be less of a barrier.

You can read more about the results at CR’s blog.

Thanks to you-know-who-you-are.

Consumer Reports

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  1. Hey, check out the highest rated American brand! 😀

    I’m sure once the average model year of Saabs on the road goes up a bit, the reliability ratings will go up too.

  2. 1) All figures are due to interpretation.
    2) Make comparisons starts with defining certain fields – and excluding other aspects.

    Look at this german ADAC comparison – it’s only about quality of car-seats – if you make abstraction of seat and skoda only citroen & fiat are listed in the comparison as a foreign non-german car manufacturer. The saab-brand even doesn’t show up.

  3. This is good news. For most people questions about CR’s methodology are inside baseball of the first-order.

    (“inside baseball” meaning “specialized knowledge too arcane for the average layperson”)

  4. Tell my US $1500 maintenance bill this year that it is only due to a statistical quirk on CR’s part. It is good that Saab’s making improvements in quality. There’s a lot more to be done and the tone of Swade’s post today is just more of the ostrich with its head in the sand approach to the brand. Loyalty does not mean we can’t critique what we love. Reliability (and just to bring up the topic again, greenness) have not exactly been Saab’s forte. There is much to be learnt from the Japs on these counts.

  5. dmr, what was that $1500 for? Some parts are going to fail/require replacement on all cars. Lexus, for instance, has recently had some transmission issues… Ever priced a (Japanese) transmission?

  6. I can honestly say that each and every part that has ever failed on my 9-3 has had either “Bosch” or “Germany” written on it (usually both), so it’s no surprise that Saab is about average for the European brands.

  7. Wilfried and Greg are the mark — the CR stuff can be very misleading. I don’t know if it is still this way, but in the past, CR gave every failed component the same weight — that is, a blown relay or frayed floor mat counted the same as a transmission failure. The smaller things can add up, that’s why the luxury brands can look bad on these things — they have tons of devices that the other cars don’t have, therefore there are more failures overall.

  8. ubermich: “Ever priced a (Japanese) transmission?”

    Haha. Well technically, since a lot of us Saab owners *do* have Japanese transmissions… 🙂

  9. What’s that? is my general response to the tables linked by wilfried. Looks like a composite score of a wide array of corporate performance criteria, some of them not relevant to a car buyer. But possibly good for ranking corporate performance.

  10. “34 of the 39 models in the ‘Most Reliable’ list are Asian….” — _consumer reports_

    on the assumption that some or a lot of them are built in asia, as well, i submit the following musings for consideration:

    a) would saab (therefore) benefit, in terms of reliability, from a build on the asian continent? in other words, how much of a reliability factor is the location of an assembly plant? ;

    b) if “region” matters, should saab sacrifice the affront or insult to the buyer’s aesthetic “palate” by moving production to a more “reliability-rich” region? also, how much of a car-buying factor is the term, “made in”? and

    c) is there a palpable risk of losing more than a scintilla of sales volume due to using non-swedish craftsmanship?

  11. Wasn’t Cadillac rated near the top last year which goes to show you GM is pouring good money into a bad car. 🙁 MB does not surprise me, their current range of cars looks like rubbish and it obviously is. Subaru is a bit of a shocker as I always thought their cars looked shoddy. Saab isnt anywhere near the bottom which is good news.

  12. I doubt Cadillac was rated highly on this survey. Maybe on another one, like J.D. Power’s VDS.

    For this survey it doesn’t matter how shoddy a car looks, just whether or not it breaks.

  13. Still one hell of a hill-climb ahead !
    The reliability of our 01 9-5, my third Saab, has been horrible and makes it difficult to think of purchasing another Saab, even though I obviously like them. The principle items: DIC replacement (twice including 1 recall), Throttle body replacement,Japanese made CD player (twice), blown second gear, leaky front side-lamp unit replacement, turbo replacement, multiple PC valve modifications and to top it off: blown piston (engine replacement) before 100k miles. What else can I say except the car was meticulously serviced and was not being beaten.
    Would love to have seen Swade’s smile when he saw Cadillac’s position !

  14. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that CR’s absolute worst car, reliability-wise, is the Pontiac Solstice.
    Let us hope that this car does not get badge-engineered as a Sonett.

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