What’s Your Automotive Interest For 2014?

[hr] [dropcap]A[/dropcap] simple, quick survey.

Most of the people who visit this website share two common and related traits – they’re interested in cars and more pointedly, they’re interested in Saabs.

I’m keen to know:

NEVSSaab9-3-1a) How has your interest in Saab gone with the passing of another year? NEVS’s plans have started to become a reality but does their reality gel with yours? I was trawling through some archives the other day and the prospect of an electric car company buying Saab didn’t fare well with the masses back when it was still an open question. Has your interest changed?

b) If your interest has changed, what has it changed to? Are you looking at other brands or are you focusing on different eras, even?

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I had an email from a friend the other day, a long time Saab owner and prominent member of the Saab community in certain parts of the world. He was somewhat sad but very accepting of the fact that it was time for him to purchase something other than a Saab for his main vehicle. He’ll still have (at least) two older Saabs to keep him connected, but the time had come to move on in terms of regular vehicle use.

It’s a story I’ve heard more and more over the last few years.

Personally, I’m not sad about it. As many of you know, I maintain an interest in the company and the brand is part of my personal history, but I’ve moved on. The company is no longer the company I came to know, much less the company I came to work for. Until there’s evidence of that, I’ll keep watch but I wouldn’t begrudge anyone exploring other options as I’ve done it myself.

So what are you interested in for this coming year? Which brand’s caught your eye, whether it be old or new?

FulviaHF5

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49 Comments

  1. My interest in Saab is the same as one year ago – high. I have a low-milage 9-3 that was built 42 months ago. Since I only drive about 5000km per year, I should be able to enjoy it for years if I need to. I prefer Saab since one rainy November night in 1986 when I (with a fresh drivers license) drove a Saab 99 EMS. It was different, quirky and just weird compared to the Volvos and VWs I had driven up to that point. But something in me snapped, and I couldn’t forget it. The already mythical SAAB logotype became even more mystic and mesmerizing. That still lives on today.

    On year ago I didn’t think Saab could start production again this year, and definitely not of the old 9-3. I really thought the supply chain was broken forever. But kudos to them for pulling through, and for obviously working very concentrated on their plan. A plan that may not be very interesting from a media standpoint, but that may be the crucial foundation to build an alternative Saab future on.

    I could very well end up in an electric Saab in just 2-3 years time. My pattern off driving and my overall interest in trying to live somewhat more responsible without resorting to fundamentalism seems to fit with what they will offer. A “normal passenger car” (safe, timeless design, comfortable, good seats, sane dashboard…) that can drive about 250-300km on a charge. I think adding a very small diesel burner for cabin heating here up north and for “emergency charging” of the batteries would be a nice, but maybe they have some other solutions for that. The competition of diversified vehicle fleet is the best way to ensure new inventions and clever solutions.

    Will I miss the sound and the feel of driving with a petrol engine? Probably as much as I today miss listning to music from a 1980s stereo system with to bulky speakers 10 feet apart on the floor – that is, not so much. Time changes. Technologies evolves. History is important, but future will prevail.

    A Happy New Year from a snow-free southern Sweden.

    1. “Time changes. Technologies evolves. History is important, but future will prevail.”

      That’s the story of cars and the death of brands in a nutshell, isn’t it?

      An electric vehicle would suit our daily commute pretty well. I don’t see us getting one unless they become very accessible (and power prices stabilise – electricity has nearly doubled in price in the last few years) but it’ll be interesting to see the take-up rate.

      I’ll be keeping an eye out for 2013 e-vehicle sales figures.

  2. Nevs very interesting, This spring Stig Nodin and co should have the new organization set and we should then start to hear what kind of model line up they want to focus on, (thorugh inside sources, dont think NEVS will say anything public)
    Nevs is not Saab Automobile. But, and this is a huuuge but, that said some of the great people are back and maybe we will se the start of a new era that we really like for our Saab.

    .
    As a family vehicle the next car will probalby be a Volvo wagon, mainly for safety reasons but also due to that it is a Swedish engineered vehicle. Not looking for something in 2014 though.

    As of the auto industry, what I find interesting is the future of:

    Alfa, will we see the new RWD plan come through.

    Aston, what will the future be like model wise? No v12 and no more manuals? (AMG)

    BMW, would like a small 4-5 seat sedan, or 4-5 door coupe, to bring back the small nimble and fun to drive BMW. The BMW-Toyota cooperation is interesting.

    Jaguar, probably due in 2015 but the small 3-series competiter will be interesting.

    Lotus, will DRB fund new models or will we see a facelift of the current mostly old line up.

    Caterham-Renault. More info on the new future sports car.

    1. It’s good that those key people are there at the moment, but I’m cautious about Saab’s philosophy in the future. Many of those key people are at or very near retiring age. I can’t see Stig Nodin or Kjell AC being there more than 3-5 years. For a traditional Saab fan, you want to believe that the company will keep designing and building the Saab way into the future, but the future is longer then 3-5 years. I guess it’s important who replaces these senior guys when they go.

      Then again, if they do stick with Saab tradition and make the same model for 15+ years then the benchmark set by these guys will be around for a while 🙂

      You mention Jaguar – lots of ex-Saab people at JLR now, mainly in marketing and sales management.

  3. Well I don’t know where to start. I am a longtime Saab fan and owner of my 4th Saab. I presently own a Turbo X sport Combi with a stage one performance upgrade and plan to keep the car for awhile as I love this car. I only put about 4,000 miles a year on it now. My local Saab dealer is now closed down so now I must decide either on one of the small independent shops around or to maintain the car myself.
    For me Saab lost its MoJo. Dealer and service network gone. Just a name of some new company a long ways from here and not very exciting or keeping me interested in the brand.
    I was almost ready to buy a new Saab 9-4 but held off because I was unsure if the company was going to go bankrupt which they did. So I did move on to a 2012 BMW X-5 which has proved to be good handling and responsive oh yes Turbo and X-wheel drive in this vehicle kind of a requirement now after owning the Turbo-X. Not to happy with the dealership they always seen to try to get another $200 or $300 dollars out of you for something.
    My interest has turned to the Porsche Macan and i am willing to wait for a few years to see how this car develops. This will give me time to payoff my present vehicle and see if the Macan is a good choice or not.
    Happy new year to all

    1. The Macan’s going to sell like hotcakes, I think. Very interesting vehicle. It might cannibalise Cayenne sales a bit, but it’ll still be a good thing for Porsche.

  4. For the most part, I am in the same camp that you are in — the SAAB that I fell in love with is long gone. Things could change, but I see no indication at this point, that the NEVS – SAAB will be sold here in the states. It is also unclear to me, what intermediate plans NEVS has for SAAB and that only adds to my uncomfortable feelings about NEVS. I will continue to watch and pull for NEVS, I do want them to succeed.

    The thought of driving an electric vehicle has grown on me. However, when I read that electric vehicles; perform the worst of all cars in depreciation and resale value and will contribute to the growing rate of e-waste, I am not too excited about buying one. Yet, when I drove one, I was pleasantly surprised. If you have a short daily commute they will grow on you quite fast. In “sports mode” they are very quick cars! It all comes down to personal preference.

    I simply love the classic SAABs and fortunately with several in my collection and a more than sufficient supply of spare parts, I have no desire or intention to look at other brands as a replacement. I actually embrace the practice of “tweaking” my classic SAABs!

    1. A lot of Saab people are moving into ‘maintaining their classics’ mode, I think. I’ll have to acquire my particular classic in a few years from now – I have one in mind – but have to build proper garaging first.

    2. Allan I follow the EV scene like a hawk. The stories you see about EVs having really bad depreciation are the result of poor data gathering and interpretation. The problem is that the federal and state incentives are being counted as losses in value against the MSRP values. The truth is that EV used values are almost so good that it makes more sense to buy new.

      As to “e-waste”? Well the future hasn’t been written yet but on balance properly designed EVs(not the Leaf) appear to have far longer useful lifespans than ICE cars. The servicing my Ford Focus EV needs is a simple coolant change well north of 100K miles. Most likely will never need to change brake pads. There are a bunch of wear parts on an ICE car that simply do not exist on an EV. Rubber and plastic parts start to succumb to deterioration in an ICE because of the hostile environment inside the engine bay with extreme heat and exposure to oil and gas some of which forms acids that attack the rubber and plastic. The inside of an EV is a comparative paradise for all the various components that reside there.

      Also good to remember that we should see battery packs that have come to the end of their useful life in a car to be used commercially as grid storage since the packs will still have life left over even if the range in the car was not ideal and a new pack needed fitting. This will extend the lifespan and therefore environmental benefits that batteries bring over the long haul.

      If you built and EV and an ICE and then proceeded to chunk them both in the trash bin then the EV would have been the one to cause more environmental damage. Over the life of the car though EVs win big time.

  5. I keep thinking of picking up an old Saab to tinker with but I see mainly a Volvo XC60 in my future (mainly for safety plus the R-Design package. Volvo still seems to know how to build a car with timeless design), or if I can’t afford it, one of two outliners a Mazda 6 or CX-5, or, and it surprises me to say this, a Kia. Both Mazda and Kia seem to be on a roll at the moment with some pretty nifty designs, and both seem to at least give the driver some ‘fun’ in driving.

    1. The jury’s still out on Kia in my mind. Nice new clothes, but I don’t know what’s underneath. Mazda, on the other hand, seem to be kicking goals everywhere. Can’t wait to see their collaboration with Alfa on the Spider/MX-5. Hopefully we might get a peek this year.

      1. The Kia that I rented about a year ago in New Jersey was positively awful. It was the Optima base model, which felt like a scared squirrel over anything other than smooth pavement. The Chinese tires on that car were horrible which made it worse.

  6. Saabs working fine, so some years still time,to wait what nevs can offer. It is not only electric car company. They have many times told that they will offer both conventional and electric vehicles and they let customer to choose which one fits better for their needs.

    weird that saab fans driving and purchasing very old cars and no plans to purchase brand new moves on. There is still plenty of,quite new saabs available so no nees to move on that sense. Maybe they were only wanna be fans not real ones.

    it takes still time,to rebuild saab but i am optimist. There is now real opprtunity that innovations can came back to trollhattan. Have they needed resources for development. That we see in,tje future.

    vag/audi will consume billions of euros to beat bwm. For muller’s saab 1 billion had been enough to run company some years…

    1. Part of it goes to what was mentioned above, there’s very limited dealer support now in the US, and I doubt NEVS will be shipping cars to the US for at least another 5-10 years (if any). The first cars coming off the production line are still about 3-8 years behind what else is on the market, and when you’re talking about a $30-40 grand car, you want to make sure you’re not making a mistake.

  7. I am like Swade and many of the posters above in my current feeling towards Saab — it’s an historic brand and the new incarnation isn’t the same. No need to rehash all of the good words above about that; it’s just time to move on.

    I’ll probably always have the 1991 C900 ‘vert. It’s the car that I’ve always wanted.

    Unfortunately, my 1999 Saab 9-5 SE (2.3 lpt) met its demise on I-65 during evening rush hour about three weeks back. There were no injuries in the crash, so that’s good. Frankly, I was sick of the thing anyway. At 14 years old it was showing its age, and parts were a royal pain for that specific car. It was time. The insurance payoff was more than expected, so there’s a bonus.

    Since then, I’ve borrowed my parents’ spare vehicle, a 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300D (2.5 turbo diesel). It’s made quite an impression on me. It is solid as a rock, no squeaks or rattles. There is no shimmy or wavering at highway speeds, and it’s completely reliable at 21 years of age. The negatives: the 1980’s slushbox design is certainly a step backward in time, the ride and handling are a little floaty and some of the electrics don’t work (a rear window, the sun roof and the stereo are inoperative). The positives: the turbo diesel gets over 30 mpg even at this age, the seats, although a bit discolored, are still very serviceable and comfortable and the brakes are monstrous. Seriously, the discs on this car are virtually the same diameter as the wheels themselves. And this is the cheap Benz.

    I’m now thinking my next vehicle will be a 10-year-old Mercedes. Hopefully the big one.

    If not that, then I’ll be getting an Audi A6 or a Jaguar XJ/Vanden Plas. We shall see!

    PS: For those of you that don’t know my driving habits, let me share the basics: I don’t commute daily as most do. I work from home and thus my car tends to drive to the airport, stay in the airport lot for 2-3 days and drive home during the course of a week. No more than 3,000 miles (5,000 kms) per year. Thus, I can’t really justify an expensive vehicle for that.

    1. I’m not surprised by the Merc diesel providing a positive impression. I’m getting to an age (slowly) where a Merc would be a nice option. It depends on our budget, but diesel might be in the frame for our daily driver, load lugger, etc, when our 9000 eventually turns up its wheels. I don’t know if there are any big Merc diesel wagons for sale in Oz, but maybe that’ll be where we look.

      I love your XJ idea, too. I’ve had a soft spot for those since I was around 15.

    2. Eggs, the Mercedes your parents have is the most solid Merc ever built – the W124 chasis. They are revered by taxi drivers around the world, and fetch better money used in Europe than the model which came after it (even though younger and more up to date). I remember that Mercedes said that the new model that replaced the W124 cost 30% less to build even though the new model had many more features. This tells you something of the build quality of the W124…..I suspect you will be dissapointed with the build quality of subsequent models of Mercs.

  8. I saw this post earlier today before anyone responded, but I felt too disheartened to reply and decided to see what others felt. I’ve been hoping for a rekindling of the old pre-GM Saab (like 1949), but I can’t see that happening because NEVS is looking to sell in large volumes. They wouldn’t be satisfied with a niche market.
    I’ll just keep hoping and console myself with restoring my 1966 Saab MC 850, not many of those on the road. I’m just at the dis-assembly stage (pulled the engine today), and I have to replace some structural panels due to rust and accident damage (I’ve already got those from a donor I cut up), so I can console myself for a long time to come.
    I’m driving a 2013 Ford Escape SE with 2.0 Ecoboost and AWD. It’s nice, somewhat Saab-like but not a Saab. But then, when I see what our dogs do to it on a trip to the arboretum for a walk, I’m glad it’s not a Saab. 🙂

    1. An MC850 is one hell of a consolation prize, Ted. One that many would be pretty jealous of, I reckon. Time to get it done and enjoy the rewards.

    2. Ford Escape — close kin to my recently departed Dodge Journey. It just works for a daily driver. Knock the genre for being average in performance, but for utility, crossovers simply work.

      And, as Swade says, I’m jealous of the Saab. Bon chance, mon ami!

  9. When you asked awhile back about what Saab owners thought they would do if/when NEVS started producing their own versions of Saabs I responded by saying that I would be seriously looking for a used Acura TSX Sportwagon. Having thought it over and conferred with “She Who Must Be Obeyed” I (we) have decided to sell/trade our ’99 Saab 9-3 SE for whatever we can get for it and get a 2004-10 Volvo V70 instead. Since we already own a ’91 Volvo 245 and we have a fantastic relationship with our Volvo master mechanic it only makes sense for us to keep our car ownership “in the family”. That being said, I still wouldn’t be averse to having a 95/96 or C900 to tinker with, but any future Saab I own will definitely not be from the GM era.

    1. Lots of people I talk to are looking at Volvo. It’s a Swedish thing, but also a uniqueness thing. They still have an identity of their own.

  10. 2014 finds me contemplating not owning a Saab for the first time in almost half my life. Had things gone to plan and Saab prospered I had hoped to buy my first new Saab at the end of 2014. Alas things went badly for Saab and they have gone greatly for me. I am happy that Saab is producing cars again but remain somewhat sceptical of what NEVS will eventually do. So far a re-hashed 9-3SS has no interest for me even if it made it down here to Oz. I never liked the 9-3SS/SC much anyway and it’s way too long in the tooth now. Somehow it’s not quite like the C900 or even the 9000 that could be built for 15 years and still remain interesting. At least not to me anyway.

    I will be test driving the Kia Pro_cee’d GT 3 door when it arrives here in Australia shortly. I find it quite an intriguing little warm hatch and a lot prettier than the Hyundai Veloster Turbo which shares very much the same mechanicals. The Pro_cee’d GT may not be a Golf GTI but starting at $A30,000 it’s a heck of a lot cheaper. I’m guessing Kia Australia will add the C’eed GT 5 door a bit later as there’s nothing in it’s Cerato range it can really steal sales from. Interestingly the Pro_cee’d/C’eed GT have 150kW and 265Nm from a 1.6 litre turbo which compares favourably with the 147kW and 280Nm from the 2 litre B204R in my 9-3 Monte Carlo. Well that was before the BSR stage 1 kit. But the Kia is a little lighter.

    I’ve owned my 1999 Saab 9-3 SE Monte Carlo for almost six and a half years now. That’s the second longest I’ve owned a car. It’s only beaten by almost ten years ownership of a C900 turbo. The C900 is still definitely the most characterful car I have owned.

    1. We have a few Veloster Turbos here in Hobart and they certainly turn heads. I still love the idea and admire Hyundai’s bravery for making it.

      Haven’t seen a Pro_cee’d GT on the road yet (has it been released) but the pictures look promising, that’s for sure.

  11. As far as Saab goes, I’m very excited about what they do with the next gen electric models, but that probably won’t be seen in 2014.

    Keen to see the 4C launched, and interested in how the Model S pans out down under for Tesla. Would love one.

    Also interested in seeing what else Subaru can stuff up!

    For myself, I’m probably sticking with my trusty 9-3 coupe. It’s got plenty of legs left. Needs a bit of TLC but it’ll see us through to a second car once this year’s big job is done – building a house (my design!). Then we’ll probably get a 2nd hand wagon. 9-5 Aero or a 320i are current candidates. Might move the 9-3 on at that point.

    And yeah I will be keeping eyes open for a small Italian and maybe something else – in my dreams I want to build a little rally car and run some stages but have neither the mechanical nor driving skill! All in good time.

    Happy new year Swade and fellow Swadeolics!

  12. The ‘tribe culture’ that SAAB loyalists know of runs deep. And bit by bit it wanes as time marches on and our cars get removed from the roads. Many have moved on, some like me have yet to and may not for many years yet. Maybe it comes down to how much heart and soul one has (had?) left for the badge and why it is that we were attracted to the cars in the first place. Possibly the respect for the unusually different but superlatively clever engineering is the core philosophy the drives what is left. In the older models particulalrly. I still get a little buzz when I see the cars in the driveway in the morning. The headlight profile of the 440 gets me every time. The Hirsched 9-3 is a weapon that is demanding and challenging to drive, but it does amazing things on track days and eats anything locally made with a V8 in it on a trip to the beach, come to think of it anything German too.
    The rear side window ‘signature’ of our 9-5 estate is arguably the most attractive window line on the road after all these years. And the car just swallows up couches, beds, kids, dogs and tows so well. And how the heck does it still give me 5.5 Litres/100km on the highway after 12 years and 190,000km? Engine maintenance is paramount, and following the recommendations of the Forums, i dropped the sump, changed the breather system, and changed the rear wheel alignment set up, all to preserve its life span. Which it has. Yes I do all my own repairs if I can, and I am self taught with a small box of specific saaby tools that go way back. Why is it that I actually want to do my own work? Not sure, but I am not letting someone else do it if I can help it. Saabs need regular TLC and reward you for your efforts when you get it right. A lot of people find this an attractive part of owning the cars and while many can’t wield a spanner they will get the car repaired at their local garage because they want to keep the car on the road, possibly defiantly so, just to show that the cars are still alive and kicking.
    I suspect that in the next year or two the cars will not get that level of treatment any more and will be driven about with wierd noises until they stop altogether. Which is not unrealistic and a bit sad at the same time but that day will come. And the owner will look at another brand.
    Back to the question at hand, would I buy another one?
    Only if it was an Aero, only if it was rare, and only if it was immaculate. Chances of that happening are increasingly more remote as time passes.

  13. I feel next to nothing for this new Saab. No real heart-strings being pulled. That said Saab runs through my veins and I desperately want them to move my heart anew. The problem is they are starting by taking my least favorite Saab of all time and trying to have a go with that. I understand the predicament they face but I can’t get on board with that.

    Ironically it is NEVS themselves that have driven me to my new love-Tesla. When I started hearing about NEVS taking over Saab I started to do research into EVs as I like to have informed opinions and I saw a bunch of people back then seemingly reacting reflexively against Saabs as EVs. Tesla embodies everything I loved about Saab and wraps it in an even more sexy shell. They take an engineering first approach to car design that has a decidedly pragmatic bent all the while putting massive efforts into real-world safety like Saab always did. The Tesla Model S is the first car since the 9000 Aero that I can “sell” to my friends with the honest descriptor as “best car in the world”. There are quite a few petrolheads that have called the Model S the “best car in the world” or even “the most significant car since the Model T”. It really is that good. My heart is now with Tesla but I still pine and pain for my old Saab.

  14. There is, imho, no alternative in long distance individual surface based transportation, to an electrified car. Agro fuels are not, and will never be, available in the required quantities, nor do they seem to fulfill their initial promises. So, that I find my preferred car company at the fore front of this development certainly is a good sign. I need to admit that the battery problem (regarding capacity and price) is unsolved, and hence, it will probably take some time until an EV having a battery makes sense for me, or I could even afford one.

  15. We will need to give NEVS a few more years to see what they will do. Its too early to tell. They have only just started and to get production restarted is no mean feat. I think that a few of us have started to change our attitudes to EV. If they can keep the Saab design ethos and build quality then I will look at another Saab if I’m able to buy one in the future. So I will continue to follow their progress with a high level of interest. In the meantime I will continue to maintain my existing Saabs and I’m thinking about buying a classic 900 convertible. There is a yellow one for sale with 99k. Body and paintwork are in great condition. Need to get it checked by my mechanic but could be a fun project. Last year we built a new garage so I have a place to store and look after a car like this. And if NEVS doesn’t work out I’m still hoping to be driving a Saab for many years to come.

  16. I think my interest in Saab remains about the same as it did a year ago, which is to say I am intellectually curious about NEVS but emotionally ambivalent about what is happening there. I would liken my interest in NEVS-Saab to watching a sporting event in which I have no rooting interest in any of the teams, but like some of the players because they used to play for my favorite team. The Brooklyn Nets would be an example if P3 and KG weren’t so decrepit.

    It is somewhat liberating when thinking about automotive desires and interests post Saab. I would like to replace our 2002 9-5 Combi with a newer one, but nobody seems to be parting with one. Then I start thinking about alternatives. Though I work with Subaru now, nothing there speaks to me. If I had the $$, I’d spring for a Flex EcoBoost. It’s madness and it’s a bit odd, and that’s what I like. We have had, in the family, our first non-Saab (other than a truck) purchase since the 1980s–oldest son Andre bought a Focus ST which turns out to be a very nice replacement for a Viggen. Of course, many friends come to me for car advice, and these aren’t the car crazed, just regular people who’ve been driving Saabs and now feel lost. I end up making all sorts of recommendations which are mostly predictable–Volvo, Audi, Mini (closest driving position to C900 I’ve found), VW, BMW and even MB CLA. Youngest son Marcel is on the hunt for a 318ti, though his real lust is for a 190E 2.3 16 Cosworth. Diversification has come to our household.

    In an interesting twist in 2013 wife Susan revealed recently, and she had never told us this, that she’d love an SPG. On the one hand, this isn’t surprising given how she so resisted giving up her 9000 Aero. But she has also grown to love her 9-5 automatic, our first and only two-pedal car. She was working with Saab when the SPG first appeared, so I’m sure this has been a long-held desire. I’m keeping an eye out!

    1. “It is somewhat liberating when thinking about automotive desires and interests post Saab. ”

      My thoughts exactly. An interest in Saab’s future and an interest in other brands are not mutually exclusive. It’s a car guy thing.

      Susan’s after an SPG?? God bless your lovely wife – a woman of impeccable taste, obviously 🙂

    2. I, too, like the Flex. I think it proves that great design need not be busy. Additionally, the interior on those high-end models is superb, I rented one in Houston about two years ago, and I loved the thing there. With our hills, it may not be as adept.

  17. Our family still has an interest in Saab but it is changing. Last year my wife decided to that she wanted a new vehicle and she traded in her 2008 9-5 SC for a 2013 Buick Regal GS. The vehicle has been great and she has 10k miles on it in 10 months.

    My youngest son is presently looking for a new vehicle to replace his 2009 9-3 SC which is approaching 200k miles and is need of a new paint job. His daily commute was a round trip of 75 miles not counting any side trips at work.

    For myself, I still am interested in what NEV’s is doing, but will probably just maintain my present vehicle. It is a 1999 Saab 9-3 Viggen. I purchased it new from the dealer 7/10/1999. At the present time it just turned 149k miles, it is highly modified with a stage 4 tune by JZW. After 14 years of driving this vehicle, I still smile when getting in and getting out. For a vehicle that is approaching 15 years of daily driving that still is fashionable and from a performance standpoint exceeds 95% of the vehicles on the road why would I change.

    I would send you pictures of our vehicles but do not know how to include them in this comment.

    I personally have followed your blogs from Trolhatten Saab, Saabsunited, Saab in Sweden and Swadeology. You have very interesting thoughts on the automotive scene.

  18. Nevs is interesting but more from a local employment perspective, the cars even remotely interesting so far. Personally its all about keeping the daily’s running at minimal cost and getting the 914 started towards actually screwing things back on the chassis.

  19. Right now, we have the near perfect Saab for our needs, a 2011 9-3X-SC. We bought it “new” with 65 miles on the odometer 13 months ago and since then have clocked about 18,000 miles. And there’s the rub. We’ve always leased new Saabs for 3 or 4 years and turned them in at about 60-70,000 miles partly because we could afford it, partly because we like to take advantage of what’s new, and partly because we need a car that’s reliable every day and don’t care to baby it as it ages. So, we’re in good ahape for now. But 3 years from now?

    I have nothing per se against electric, or hybrid, but it will have to have the performance we have now. It will have to have a range of at least 500K in the winter. It will have to be as comfortable and have as good handling and safety as a Saab. And it will have to have the cargo capacity of a 9-3 or 9-5SC. If NEVS can build that, we will come (but not if it’s built in China). But NEVS sure doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy as a partner in a major purchase. Their lack of communication; their lack of reaching out to former Saab owners; their decidedly uncertain plans for the US…..all give me pause. Saab owners love their cars, but they most also felt a connection with a special group of dealers that seemed different than most, and they also had a good feeling about the company and it’s history and it’s ethos. NEVS will have to earn that.

    As to alternatives, right now I would say Audi or Volvo.

  20. on one hand i’d like to own a tx manual [cheapest available in oz asking 39k, wishing i hadn’t sold my 900 aero, still have a very clean 9000 carlsson], reality bites so it looks like the manufacturer with the best warranty will win out for the daily driver [maybe the kia optima]….

  21. It appears from what is being offered here that those with Saabs that are running well will keep them going for a fair while longer. The emotive element still remains strong for many to some degree at least and clearly more for some than others it seems, and no-one has really bonded with NEVS despite what they have done in recent times. Why do I feel a bit ambivalent? I struggle with that to be honest. On one hand I have huge brand loyalty and on the other I can’t see where things are going with any certainty to have any sense of direction. It would be good to get more information from NEVS to hang off. It would also be good to see a car that you can announce to your skeptical mates that “we’re back!” But I can’t…I’d like to though and have some sense of validation that the cars I own and drive have potential longevity for the future. Maybe that’s it. Just hanging out for the future…

  22. Swade,

    Very interesting post. I asked myself the same question a couple of weeks back. There are very few cars in my price range (USD 45K-60K) which stir me emotionally. I have a 2006 9-3 SC Hirsch TDI with 105K Kms on it, and this is serving primary family duty. It is getting a little long in the tooth and normally I would replace it at this point, but I do not see the need to do so as the car really is in great shape, is serving me fine for the time being, and the resale value would be terrible.

    I find myself connecting more and more emotionally with older cars (maybe because of all the Petrolicious.com reading I have done lately!). In the last two years, I have purchased and restored a 1997 9000 Aero (in my view, probably one of the most versatile cars ever built – especially with the Abbot Racing additions to the chasis I have made) and I just purchased an almost fully restored 1978 99 Turbo three door (am doing the final work to it as needed to bring it up 100%). I would rather drive these cars over anything offerred new today which is not rediculously priced. I am also looking to buy either (or both) a Saab 900 three door SPG (1985 if possible) and a pre 1994 Saab C900 convertible (as late a version as possible). I believe that going forward I will be stuck with buying and servicing classic Saab models to move me from a passion perspective, and will always have one modern car as the primary family vehicle (which currently our 9-3 serves the role as). Funny enough, I am finding myself interested in older Saab vehicles I never had an emotional connection with to date, such as the Sonett III and the 96.

    If I had to buy new today, I probably would be buying BMW all else being equal. They seem to get the cars right – my colleague has a 525D with the M package, and the thing is fantastic – great materials, fantastic chasis and engine, and sweet looks. That said, it costs USD 75K here in Hungary which is a pretty sum (not sure I like it that much). If the family grows beyong the four we will be at after this summer, I probably will go with something completely utilitarian (like a Sharan or Ford S-Max) or a used Land Rover Discovery. I do have other automotive interests than Saab, but again I do not feel moved by most new car designs out there. The few cars other than BMWs that move me are (i) the new Jaguar SJ (too expensive and not practical), (ii) the new Range Rover (ditto), (iii) the Audi A8 (this could be an option eventually used) and (iv) the Mercedes CLS shooting break (very sexy roof line, but way too expensive even used). But none of these cars combine the same values of versatility, a feeling of being different than the crowd, space, elegance and performance that Saab did (which is why I loved Saab).

    If Saab were still alive today, I would be purchasing a 9-5 Sport Combi for sure. In fact, it was my dream (back when Saab were still alive) to buy one new this year (the thought was that by now the gremlins would have all been worked out), and to try to arrange to pick it up in person at Trollhattan and drive back to Budapest with it. I now have come to realize that this dream will never be realized (am now thinking of sourcing my next classic Saab in Sweden and driving back with this with a stopover at the Saab Museum at Trollhattan).

    I like you do not place faith in the new Saab. It just does not make sense. And I do not believe in the “if you will it, it will come true” line of thinking. There is not a single rational part of the current NEVS operations in my view – if it smells like a dog, barks like a dog, and walks like a dog, rational people normally come to the realization (no matter how much cheerleading is done to the contrary) that it is a dog. Building cars in Sweden for export to China makes no sense whatsoever. Bringing a new car to the market by a company which basically has ceased operations in today’s market requires resources that are beyond reason (so I do not have faith in these plans either). I come from a Saab family, so would want nothing more than for Saab to rise from the ashes. But we have to be realistic. I have stopped reading SU (although I have been a faithful reader going back to TS in 2007) altogether because they simply seem to have lost touch with reality. I do hope with all my hear that I will be proven wrong with this!

    Excellent thought provoking post Swade – thanks again, and a very happy New Year to you and your family!

    Best,

    Ed

  23. On my interest in NEVS, I would say it has increased significantly over the last year. Basically because of a few tibits I heard, which seems to point at that the old (pre-GM) Saab spirit is once again on the rise. When we will see it is another question, not sure what we will see in the summer when the facelift is expected (as the engine isn’t certified for EU use after 31 August 2014), and also, the ng9-3 is not the Saab I really like best (The 9000 is, and the reason is that it’s the car that makes me feel best after driving on the daily commute, of all cars I ever driven. And, in the end, this is what matter most..)

    Now, from a business point of view, I think NEVS basic strategy (EVs for China) is one of the more solid ways to restart Saab, and getting a sustainable business is key. Once the company is up to speed, intoducing new cars and expanding lineups is much less risky.

    Also, I think the focus on EV have a good chance to pay of splendidly in 5-10 years time, because of lowered electicity cost (once solar cells, and especially end user solar cells, take off, and this is just around the corner), battery cost drops (because of wastly increased volumes and new chemistries), and limited oil supply (which is bound to come into play within a few years, but the full impact may be deades away).

    I expect it will be several year before NEVS will produce a new favorite car for me. Maybe it will be an EV, maybe not, because it depends a lot on infrastrucure.

    So, while waiting for the Phoenix platform version 2 based car I got myself a rust-free 9000 CS and rebuilding it, and I intend to keep it for at least 5 years, maybe several decades if everything else fails. Probably as a daily driver once my current 9-5 wears out.

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