Saab rates well in German quality study

Time to bring this one out from the comments section to the main page.

It’s been posted in comments by MarkoA and I’ll also include Eggs’ comment is it makes a great point about the Ultimate Driving Machine.

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First of all, here’s MarkoA’s comment. I don’t have a link for this, but it’s a great result for Saab.

The Auto Zeitung -sonderheft, Gebrauchtwagen 2008, a car inspection organization from Germany released their latest report. It shows a value which represents number of faults/100 cars. And the cars inspected are 1-3 years old.

Here´s the result of middle size class:

1. Saab 9-3 – 2.4 problems per 100
2. Honda Accord – 6.0
3. Jaguar X-Type – 7.5
4. Volvo S40/V40 – 8.3
4. Mercedes-Benz C – 8.3
6. Peugeot 406/407 – 8.5
7. Opel Vectra – 9.1
8. Audi A4 – 9.2
9. Mazda6 – 9.7
10. BMW 3-series – 10.6

Much has been made of Saab’s poor ratings in the Consumer Reports data. I don’t know how much the sample size or reporting methodology differs, but this is certainly a great showing for the Saab range in Germany.

The initial year for the Saab 9-3, the 2003 model year, was a year that caused Saab to be rated poorly in many surveys. Now that we’re in 2007 a lot of these surveys have dropped 2003 from their sample and Saab are showing much better results.

And as mentioned, I can’t help but reproduce Eggs’ comment on BMW, which will still sell like hotcakes in its own market, regardless of what this survey might say:

Everyone loves the ‘quality’ that you get with a Bimmer. I’ve said it before — their ’service package’ that includes free oil changes and the like for three years or so is pure marketing genius. Take a look at this listing. One-tenth of all new 3-series BMW automobiles must be repaired. Most of the ‘faults’ will be taken care of while the car is at the dealership for a whole day for a freakin’ oil change! The customer feels little or no pain, so they conveniently ignore the fact that their car is broken half the time! Pure Genius!!!

Indeed.

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17 Comments

  1. Swade, I have been thinking of going for an 04 vert. and trading in my 2002 vert. Problem is, my 02 vert. is tried and true and is in great shape. I work hard to keep it well. My question is, based on what you know, should I keep with the tried and true 02, or go with all of the newer technology and step into a nice cpo and I see for sale over at Hunterdon Saab? Let me know what your thoughts are. Hope your feeling better and thank you for your time.

  2. I had an 03 9-3 SS and had very few problems with it. I have since been baffled by the low quality ratings SAAB received. It is good to see ratings increase, and I am helping by returning every questionnaire I receive on my ownership experience with my new 07 9-3 convertible. Hopefully this will eventually help increase resale values!

  3. Mike C.: Follow your heart. This isn’t something that is easy to dissect.

    For me, the question is one of time. I have the ’88 C900 ‘vert, but it’s getting the rattles and major flaws of old age. I’m not really able to stay ahead of it right now, and that bothers me a great deal. I’m in the market for a 9-3 or 9-5 that I can drive while the ‘vert is in the garage for weeks on end just so that I can keep it up. It’s a pain, but I like it. You have to like it, too. That’s it from my perspective.

  4. MJL:
    I know nothing of the Peugeot, but the Jaguar X-type is basically a Ford. Jaguar’s long lamented electrical issues and V-12 maintenance are nowhere to be found.

    Mazda has never impressed me with their quality. I view them as the ‘let’s use thinner metal’ brand. For better or for worse.

  5. As I mentioned in a comment at the previous post, Saab now also offers the 3 years/36K miles service BMW offers (at least in the U.S.). Saab would be smart to emulate BMW’s strategy of using the opportunity to fix any other issues the owner might otherwise not know about yet.

    I don’t see this as “underhanded”. It’s better that they do this, not as a cover-up, but to fix problems before they affect the customer. Also, it’s much more convenient to take care of any recalls or anything else while the car is at the dealer anyway rather than having the customer make a special trip. That it increases their standing in reliability surveys is just a nice side-effect. 🙂

  6. Gripen, you nailed the nail on the head with that comment! You’d think a company would do this already. It just sounds like common sense.

  7. James: You’re missing the point. The BMW Service package has been covering up the ‘not-so-quality’ in the quality image of Bimmer for a while now. Saab doesn’t have the same reputation. We’re talking about the undeserved reputation here, not debating service plans.

  8. David,
    I think the biggest factor to influence resale value is the cash on the hood you get when you buy a Saab. You have to look at the whole equation. Now, imagine if they sold Saabs in Canada at US prices what it would do to resale value for the suckers, me includes, who paid «the full Monty». No rebates even.

  9. Mike C: talk about dilemmas! The reader’s interest vs looking after a site sponsor. Well, the reader wins every time.

    I’d echo Eggs’ sentiment. He’s a pillar of wisdom 😉 Any purchase like this has to pass the sleep test. You have to be able to sleep well at night with the idea. Your 02 is late in the model line, so issues should be few and you say that you keep it well. Sounds like a good ride to me.

    But, and there’s always a but….

    The new generation of convertibles are undoubtedly a better car in terms of their driving characteristics. They’re definitely stiffer and will suffer less roll when you go for a fun drive.

    Whilst the early sedans have been panned for some problems, I’ve not heard the same of convertibles. Maybe they don’t get spoken about because of lesser numbers? But I haven’t heard of problems. The build quality shouldn’t be a problem as the plant in Graz, Austria, is a high quality plant.

    I’d definitely check it out. With the CPO program you get a car that’s been checked out thoroughly and you get the extended warranty, just in case. And SOH will look after you. See Scot Orzillo there and tell him you’ve been talking to me here and I’m sure he’ll give you the red carpet treatment 🙂

    Bottom line, I’d always recommend that someone be happy with a new purchase before pulling the trigger, esp when their old car is reliable and making them happy. But the improvements from one generation to another definitely make this worth investigating IMHO.

    Hope that helps.

  10. I think the results of this kind of survey clearly depend on who is doing the reporting. This particular survey seems to be based on data from mechanics/inspectors, not the owners. In other surveys, BMW _owners_ probably aren’t reporting as many faults because their dealer has already caught them. I don’t see anything wrong with this kind of quality _control_ by BMW – it’s something SAAB dealers might emulate – but the German survey shows that Saab’s quality _assurance_ is probably better than BMW’s. This shows that quality control is as important as quality assurance, and perhaps more important when it comes to customer satisfaction (if it’s invisible).

  11. Funny how these rankings are almost the exact opposite of the popular quality surveys we see in the US. The X-type alwasys get a bad review (even though I know of two that have been very good cars), same with Mercedes and Audi. Where are the Toyota/Lexus cars? Do they not sell them there? I guess this just shows that realistically you have to take ALL of these surveys with a grain of salt. I’ve owned kinds of cars from all different continents and I can’t say one has been head and shoulders better (or worse) than another.

  12. Swade: Thank you for your help. I’ll sleep on it a little and see. Thank you for this web site. It’s a lot of fun and the people are great. The information and contacts are worth GOLD to any Saab owner.

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