A re-born Saab and price vs value

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There’s been an interesting discussion going on between some former Saab employees on one of the professional social networking sites. The discussion has focused one the things Saab could do to improve itself if/when the company is purchased and re-launched some time in the future.

My main contribution was concerned with better utilisation of the talent within the company. Personally, I felt that we made too much use of agencies to do work that we could or should have done ourselves. It might have meant hiring some more specialist staff, but done wisely, I think it would have centered our work/thought processes, produced some more consistent results and ultimately, I think it would have saved us money.

A recent contribution to the discussion has mentioned the need for Saab to build better product and the challenges Saab will face in doing so now that many key staff have gone to other companies. I agree that the staffing issue is a big one – people are usually a company’s greatest resource and that was definitely the case at Saab.

Ignoring the staffing side of this problem for a moment, the product side does warrant some discussion because I think, and fear to some degree, that Saab’s demographic and product offering are going to have to shift upwards if the company is to become profitable and build a sustainable market for the future.

Under Spyker’s ownership, Saab reportedly had a business plan that could see the company become profitable with sales of as few as 100,000 to 120,000 vehicles. We never got to test that plan and Saab never got their breakeven point that low prior to December’s bankruptcy, so it’s hard to comment on the plan’s viability.

But what of the future?

GM have come out as recently as this week and said, once again, that they do not plan to cooperate with a new Saab ownership group. That means the task facing a new owner is going to be all the more difficult with a minimal product offering over the first few years of Saab’s re-emergence. This is going to put incredible strain on the cashflows of the operation in what is a very capital intensive industry. A new owner will have a very narrow window of opportunity to make the right market decisions.

What product should the company develop?

Which market segment should they appeal to?

What price/product package can they afford to offer, or perhaps more importantly, what package will he cold hard facts of business compel them to offer? My view on the car industry tells me that a company can compete on either one of two levels – price, or value.

To many, those alternatives might come across as meaning the same thing, but they don’t. This might be the reason why such companies tend to use price sensitivity tools like Conjointly’s Van Westendorp PSM or other tools that can determine what the customer needs and the adequate price an average customer can pay. Competing on price means offering a product that people will shop around based on price rather than on product. Competing on price means offering a product that people will shop around based on price rather than on product. This buyer will compare some features of a vehicle with other vehicles in class but they’re driven primarily by the bottom line – how much can I afford to spend on buying and running this vehicle?

Value-oriented customers, on the other hand, exist within all segments of the market. They are people who compare the product more than the price. Saab’s former suitors, Koenigsegg, admit that their cars cost a lot of money, but argue that they represent very good value – and they’re right. Value-packaging means that you offer the customer a product that compels them to buy at the price you’re asking. You pick your segment and you provide a fantastic offering that includes styling, driving dynamics, safety, utility, equipment, refinement, and reliability.

It’s an old cliche, but it’s true – you have to build up to a standard rather than down to a price. It’s going to be critical for a new Saab to get this positioning correct as it re-emerges under new ownership.

Saab will not be able to compete based on volume pricing with General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda or others in the segment. Saab will not have the economies of scale to compete with them, nor the dealership network to bring such a volume of vehicles to market.

Saab will need to distinguish itself on something other than base level affordability, and that will have to be value. The company will have to design and build cars that overwhelm, which is going to be a challenge for a brand that has hung its hat on understatement for decades, a brand formed in the same country that by its nature, lives for the most part according to a philosophy of lagom.

In considering this, nothing should be off the table. Even something that would seem completely contrary to Saab’s philosophy – something like rear wheel drive, for example – should be weighed, measured, and either ruled in or out. As I hinted earlier in this article, I do not believe that Saab can sustain a product/price mix like the one they carried in 2010/11. I think the company is going to have to move upmarket in terms of price, which will mean a definite and significant shift upmarket in terms of product.

Saab will be fortunate to get another chance at life. If they can get the right people (back) into the company, if they can get excellent new product developed within a reasonable time, and if they can recruit a dealer network in enough big-spending markets….. if they can do all of that then they might have a decent shot of making the right marketing decisions, the mix of product, position and price, to help them survive.

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  1. It is very sad to say that my usual SAAB spotting in Singapore have gone down the drain. Last time I was here I
    Spotted over 30 SAAB’S in a week, a new 9-5 included. This time only two in five days. And one was abeat up old 9-5. 🙁

    1. Hi there, there brand is still here to stay! On the local forums, there have been a few people who are interested in getting used 9-3s and 9-5s, all of them have no experience with Saabs at all.

      The local agent is doing a good job by providing 5 years warranty, but they have only about 20+ 9-5s in vector trim and 1-5 2010 9-3s in Linear, but all with Hirsch ecu upgrade.

      The hardcore owners are still hanging on tight to their rides, many are looking to add even more juice and power. In fact, a silver 9-3 XWD 4cyl Aero sportcombi belonging to a Saab fan was featured in a local car magazine.

      Finally, one of my friend told me he was changing cars, he had a 2010 E230
      and a 2005 9-3 2.0t. I thought the Saab was going, but when I visited him 3 days ago, it was parked next to a red Jag XJ. I asked him, why keep an old Saab with limited parts availability. He just smiled.

      1. Daryl,

        “Rusted on” owners keeping (and improving) their current cars is the worst case for a potential new owner of Saab. They will need (lots of) buyers of brand new vehicles to survive. They need the hardcore users to sell their current ride and replace them with new models.

        For my 2 cents worth, they need to design cars that are visually appealing and have very good (not necessarily best of breed) underpinnings. As an example look at Jaguar – fantastic to look at while the running gear is very good but maybe a couple of steps behind the top of the line Germans.

        I feel that people either buy cars as purely transport (Toyota, Hyundai etc) or because of how they make them feel to own. The buy to impress others type are a small minority.

        Just sayin

  2. I think SAAB has always been about value and it should never change. What they lost during the GM-era was the possibility to build cars they and their customers truly wanted.
    Had that been possible the bankruptcy had never happened and Saab had either stayed as a part of GM or sold pretty much intact like Volvo.

    What they lost during the past 20 years wasn’t the know-how to build high quality cars, but their identity.
    People truly believe German cars are somehow superior vehicles nowadays because Saabs never got the eye-candy treatment or the ponies Caddy did. Take these cars on the road and things will suddenly change dramatically. I’ve never driven behind an Audi that would feel the confidence to loose me on the ramp from the motorway coming home every day and most of them try. Why? The darn ten year old 9-3 stays on the road like a stain on the carpet…

    SAAB was up there in terms of real life handling. Now it would be about polishing up the products in order to sell them.
    I still think they could also offer rock solid base cars to compete in the price category, as huge number of people just want cars that are a) reliable and b) practical.
    If they can buy a brand that’s known for its quality they will spend a the extra cash on the spot and there is no direct price competing involved.
    That’s how people used to pick ‘the SAAB’ by the numbers in the old days over here and it didn’t bother the ones who bought Aero’s for almost double the price.

  3. I also think that former saab buyers opted saab of their practicality and yet a car with load of individuality.
    I’m one of them that actually bought a new 9-5 with all the extras. And this for two reasons, good history of previously owned saabs, and to put our money where our moth was.

    But, if the new era Saabs will be all about upmarket, I really don’t want one. If I just wanted an expensibe, stylish set of wheels, there is a couple of brand that gives jist that. Of coarse they coast more than my last saab, but then I would get the status as well.

    I not looking for status, I don’t like the idea of others looking in my car an say ” man do the got money?”

    Nope I want my car safe, practical, fun to drive with a understated design that is observed as an good looking car, but just a little bit different. That difference is the teaser for me. A teaser that pulls me in to find out what’s really different.

    Since 2004 we have bought 3 brand new saabs on swedish taxed money. Thats a lot to say the least. I hope to be able to buy a nee saab, but it better have some real stuff behind the design. Because if I wanted to look like I’m loaded, I would go for the audi or merc.

  4. A very interesting post. I would add confidence to price and value because I believe a customer needs to have confidence in the likelihood of the car offering a significant period of trouble free motoring and in the event of this not being the case, that the car can be fixed quickly and with goodwill by the manufacturer.

    My take on Saab’s demise is that they were trying to price themselves up against the big three Germans, i.e. Mercedes, Audi, BMW whilst offering a product that was more comparable with a Volkswagen level vehicle. At that point they were not good enough value for money, which perhaps equals insufficient value for their price, to combine both variables. Had they found a way to sell their vehicles cheaper, people would have perceived them to offer better value and perhaps sales would have been higher.

    The sense of value in a Saab was also undermined by the numerous well documented issues that were probably worthy of a recall to win customers confidence back, rather than hurting their wallets, no doubt hurt the brand. My 93 convertible has had three such faults. The bulkhead cracked and required welding, the neutral safety switch, or range switch, failed and required an expensive replacement and the SIDS failed. When you google the symptoms and find pages of accurate answers within seconds, these are clearly common faults. All of which hurt a brand.

    When my Saab runs well I love to drive it. I love its looks, it’s comfortable on the inside and it is quick. However it costs too much to repair and maintain so it will be going and I can say, hand on heart and with a sense of regret, that I would not gamble my money on another one if they were still being made. Mostly because I lost confidence in the quality and reliability of the car. Pity, but there we go.

  5. I have a new 9-5, 2.0, my fifteenth Saab. Just took it on a trip for 800 miles. 31 mpg avg. Just a great road car. Probably the safest car on the planet as well. Its a lease because I knew Saab was in poor financial shape when I bought it. I am afraid I will have to give it up at the end of the lease because it will not be worth anywhere what I would have to buy it for from Ally financial. Shame.

  6. This is an interesting topic and (may I say) a long overdue one, too. I think the discussions on Saab enthusiast sites during the sale process in 2009 and during the Spyker ownership 2010-2011, gravitated way too much towards the wrong topics…

    The Saab heritage

    With “the Saab Heritage” I mean that way too much of the conversations were about what Saab had done in the past. True, the heritage is one important factor in building a brand like Saab, but to sell cars you need to stick to the future. Yes, the UrSaab was cool, the 99 Turbo mean, the 900 iconic… I think we can agree on something like that. And it would be great if a future Saab brand can remember the past in some subtle way. But a brand can not live on the two-stroke fumes from the past.

    I can’t even count all the times I heard suggestions that Saab should build “a new” 99 Turbo or a 900 Turbo, because wasn’t those models responsible for the glory days we all remember? Days when Saab meant business. There were Saab enthusiasts that seriously thought (and maybe still think?) that people would buy a car like that. Personally, I would be surprised if there were 100 people even in Sweden who would spend money on such a car. Sometimes you have to move on intellectually.

    The future nomenclature

    So when Saab were sold to Spyker, people started to concentrate on the future lineup. Should the new small car be 9-1 or 9-2?!? Surely there should be a 9-3X, but maybe not a 9-4X?!? A 9-7 must be there to counter the 7-series and A8!!! Should the 900 name be revived??? Etc, etc, etc… What were often strangely missing from the debate were what kind of cars buyers would actually be looking for 5-10 years done the road. What kind of engines and gearboxes? What sizes of luggage space? What safety technologies would appeal to buyers? How will people use their cars in everyday life? What demographic goes after what on the market? It was like Saab could just decide to enter a segment, and 2-3 years later there would be a “true Saab” that would bless the market. And they all would be the size of a 900, have a turbo and a hatch. Because everything else is not “true Saab”, right?

    I remember when news about the 9-4X broke, and people screamed “blasphemy!” because a SUV/CUV/whatever were so untrue to the Saab heritage yada yada yada… I also remember the first time a heard about the BMW X5 or the Porsche Cayenne. And being somewhat interested in the auto industry, I admit I was kind of skeptic. Well, it’s been more that a decade since. I don’t know how the X5 or the Cayenne is regarded in the overall history of those brands, and I don’t know how the reactions were (and maybe still are) in the BMW and Porsche equivalents to Saabs United. What I do know is that the X5 alone often sold in greater numbers than the whole Saab lineup *together*. And I doubt that either the X5 or the Cayenne have scared buyers away from BMW and Porsche or in anyway tainted those two brand names. To me, those two cars looks like extremely wise boardroom decisions back then. And in the end of the day, that is what makes a company tick.

    For a new Saab to succeed, it will have to focus on tomorrow. Sure, it should remember its heritage on some subtle way, but to sell cars you need something the buyers want. Because, frankly, how often is a company in a position in time were it can shape the market on its own? How many companies can totally disrupt a whole market segment like Apple did with the iPhone? It is a nice dream, but not something you should bet your company on. And what you build today is not necessarily what you build tomorrow. Saab has to improvise, adapt and overcome. The 900 were great for the 1980s. 2015 will see some other needs, and Saab has to satisfy them. But they should do it their own way with a clear goal of adding somthing of value to the market.

    What I wish for a new Saab is do define what they want to communicate to the customers, and then execute it in an extremely clear fashion. I also think they have to do something that differentiate them from other brands. Swade points out that moving up-market is a possible way. At least, it should provide better margins and some freedom moving forward towards volumes. But even upmarket I think Saab have to find out what customers would like to see in a Saab regardless of segment or model or price-point. There must be some common denominator across the lineup. I know what I like with Saab, and that is why I drive a Saab. If I could find that somewhere else I could probably switch, but strangely I can’t. And that “something” needs to be defined brand-wise. With an almost clean sheet, a new serious owner stands a chance in putting something new and interesting on the market. And that clean sheet could also mean new ways to engineer them, build them, market them. I would dare say that it *should* mean that. Yes, it will probably mean angering quite a few Saab fans but I think it is unavoidable. Building a new Saab brand as Yet Another ™ traditional car manufacturer will only result in Saab badges on the average mid-market Indian or Chinese cars in 2020.

    1. what is it that you like in Saabs? what makes you keep coming back to them?

      To me, the best thing Saab could do going forward (hoping that there is a “forward”) is to bring characteristics from the past forward while moving forward. The leaked next-gen 9-3 photo to me does that aesthetically and the eXWD stuff does a lot for that technically.

      If there was to be only 1 Saab model, it should be a hatchback. Massive change in direction would only hurt (what’s left of) the brand: Do you really think people would line up for Saabs if the only model was a minivan? a pickup truck? It didn’t work too well for the brief period the main new model was a large luxury sedan! You need to excite brand loyalists out first + others will follow. I have nothing against producing things like the 9-4x, but it is important to have the brand roots covered first, imho. If Porsche stopped making 911’s so they could make the Cayenne (or BMW ditched the rwd sedans), neither SUV would have fared as well!

      I suppose all that sounds controversial, but I think going back to the roots “in spirit” is good. Moving forward technically simultaneously is important though. I agree it would be foolish to go back to a 2 stroke, but completely dropping aesthetic cues of the past is equally foolish. There is a Swedish solution to all this + it sounds like they were mostly on the right track prior to bankruptcy – there just wasn’t the capital in place to execute. Like others, I don’t buy into all the gadget stuff, and I bet if they made a true car enthusiast’s 9-3 or 900 or whatever, there would be a lot of people excited by it. I’m much more interested in a highly efficient + clean vehicle (“fuel”-wise, but a real practical/comfortable/safe/fun car, not a Prius) than one crammed full of gadgets. What could be more Swedish?

  7. I’m also thinking that the confidence of the maker is very important. That battle was lost, and the buyer held back (even if the sales number actually did rise but 6 month to late)

    I’m currently in talk with a salesman to replace my -11 9-5 with a -11 9-3 griffin. I feel a bit sad since the 9-5 now, after 13 month is flawless. It took a bankruptcy and 11 visits to the dealer to get a new electronic box. If many customer had this kind of troubles, of coarse they will think hard before getting on board again.
    Why? My wife can’t find any good wibes in this one. She says she can’t get a feeling of the cars whereabouts, especially the right and back sides.
    I have been in love with the car, but that feeling is lost, mostly due to the facts that I had to hand it over to the dealer 11 times during 13 months and that the car is to heavy to be able to pull a normal trailer with a car driving licence (swedish laws). I need to bring out an 20 year old 9000 when I buy big stuff!
    Also, we really miss the car we traded in for the 9-5, a SC TTiD Aero that was a blast! No problems, goooood mileage and great fun to drive when also practical, comfortable and safe. Never seen my wife driving with such joy before or after.

    But I still believes in the trolls. But let them do what they do best! Bring solutions to the automotive challenges, bring solutions that provide a real solutions instead of appeared ones and bring them with a discrete style with a touch of different thinking.

    Take the new 9-5 navigation system for instance. It’s not there to provide a solution to anything, it’s there only to be able to tell the customers that they have one as an option (since everybody else got one).
    That is not the saab way, it’s the Opel/GM way to bring stuff to sell.
    The reason I paid extra to have one? The standard radio was so but ugly, so we paid extra to make the cabin a better place. Hows that for marketing the extras?!? Make the standard so bad that you “need” to upgrade. 🙂

    So Swade, you might be right on this upmarket thing, but the trolls better bring solutions for a reason and not just for marketing purposes. Then I might get my self another saab

    1. TT – if they get the solutions right then much of the marketing takes care of itself. That is, you don’t have to create illusions to cover up faults (like the less than optimal base audio).

      1. Following the blue ocean concept below, I actually believe that a new Saab should defocus on integrated navigation at all. It’s so 20th century anyway, and the dashboard space should be better used to mount a smartphone or even a tablet. Saab should instead provide an interface that delivers power, control and precice GPS information to the phones/tablets (like with TomTom’s car kit). This would have the following additional advantages:

        -Longeivity. Nav progs may change, but the basic GPS info will always be delivered.
        -No map data update hassles, neither on Saab’s part, nor for the customers.
        -Still, additional info like speed signal or steering wheel angle could be used to calculate more precice location data.
        -Saves a lot of development costs for Saab
        -Fully integrable (I reckon) into the previous IQon concept.

  8. If Saab does rise again, it has a lot of catching up to do. But there must be absolutely no rushing to the market. Any future cars must be 100% reliable from the pre-production press cars onwards. A bad start can never be recovered. We will be back to heavily discounted new cars and poor margins for dealers again.

    And the after sales must be top notch. If Saab are to charge premium rates for parts and service, there has to be an all enveloping customer service and plenty of new loan cars. Not something that can be funded by selling at a discount.

    So the targets are a car that is safe, comfortable and fun to drive for both the driver and passengers.

    A market leading warranty. How about 10 years? If you have 100% reliability, this should be no problem. And it will generate a lot of extra service work for dealers.

    Then there are the “Saab enthusiasts”. They would be much more enthusiastic if the cost of servicing older cars was done by an approved service agent, but at prices similar to an independent garage – including the price of spares. It has always been a scandal that many Saab parts and Vauxhall/Opel parts were identical, with the same GM part number, yet Saab charge a vast amount more! This must stop.

    If I’m to pay for a premium car, I want premium service. Car collection, valeting, loan car etc. included in the device cost. In the past dealers varied hugely. They must all give identical top notch service in future. Maybe even include free servicing in the purchase price?

    A lot to get sorted out. It needs time. Will there be anyone left in Trollhattan to do this when the time comes?

  9. Swade,
    I also think that the new Saab cars have to be good value, but will have a price comparable with Jaguar rather than Volkswagen/Toyota, if they want to earn money with the cars.
    For me, it means to step down to a 9-3 as I currently can’t afford a Jag XF ( which would have the same price tag as a 9-5), but I don’t think it would be a problem, as a 9-3 is already big enough for three.

    Peronsally, I felt that we made too much use of agencies to do work that we could or should have done ourselves.

    Although I work for one of those agencies (albeit an engineering one), I also don’t understand why the OEM’s prefer to buy knowledge instead of using or strengthen their own internal knowledge.

    And regarding the post from ctm. No matter who buys the Saab company and builds/developes cars with a Saab badge, we will then read tons and tons of posts and comments about “Saab” Saabs and not so “Saab” Saabs, but at the end of the day the sales figures will decide about the success or failure of Saab 2.0, and not the decisions of a small (this is my personal perception) group of Saab owners.

    1. “…I also don’t understand why the OEM’s prefer to buy knowledge instead of using or strengthen their own internal knowledge.”

      One possible good reason for this is the fact that when a company uses outside workers/agencies, they do not have to provide any benefits for those workers, only salaries. Benefits can be a huge expense for some companies.

    2. How refreshing to read such an honest view.I was talking to a Saab dealer about the save Saab events ,which I also attended,and he pionted out somthing which I had not really considered.He said the problem was that the show of support was great but how many of us were actually new car customers .

  10. Might have to start from basics like Mini with a single model that embodies the Saab roots. Make it funky, quality and boutique. If done right and not to self-consciously it will be incredibly cool without even trying.

  11. Saab does need to build better product. Unfortunately GM rarely gave it the ingredients to build proper premium cars (GM probably never had them anyway?), and it had to make do with generic parts. I don’t think Saab was ever happy with this and did try to engineer better value into it’s products. Unfortunately even Saab couldn’t always work miracles with what it was given and the results were too often laclustre. Looking at some original roadtests for the current 9-3, it usually came up pretty good but was still not up to Audi or BMW standards. Just imagine what those road tests would have said if Saab had built the 9-3 the way GM wanted it to.

    Off topic, my 9-3 Monte Carlo has been off the road for almost 3 and a half weeks now having the firewall/bulhead repaired. This was originally meant to take 3-4 days but due to a disinterested panel shop, it seems my car has been sitting in the corner all the time. Not happy! In the meantime, I’ve been driving a rather sad ’87 Aero loan car.

  12. To think that just one year ago, Saab had an all new 9-5, 9-4x and forthcoming 9-5SC. What a wasted opportunity. 🙁

    I just don’t see a way forward without GM in the short term. Also very sad to see all the BMW buzz end – a reborn Saab eill never materalize without a platform/parts partner with inroads into the US market.

  13. Blue ocean/red ocean.

    Saab needs to find its blue ocean. I believe it makes no sense to follow where the Teutonic Three are heading, with ever more gadgets and style over substance design/practicability. My personal idea would be:

    Focus on:
    -Functionality (hatchback, flexible use), interior size (like with the 9-3 I)
    -Amenability (good ride, Swedish interior design, good seats, and the quietest car on the market, even beating Bentley)
    -Excellent aerodynamics (alleviates the need for powerful engines a bit)

    -Engine development (of course, modern engines are neccessary, but they should preferably be bought in, not developed)
    -Electronic gadgets (some are nice, some don’t work, overall, they get increasingly “incremental” to safety. And yes, that includes HUD and traffic sign recognition).
    -Eye catching design that gets out of style in one year
    -Plug-in Hybrids (their time is not here _yet_)

    1. Upon further consideration, I think I just described what happened to Saab. They actually had a -not very successful- blue ocean strategy before and also some time after being bought by GM, though not quite the one outlined above (they did have fine engine development, mediocre aerodynamics, and weren’t the quietest cars).

      After some years, GM decided they did not like the results, and switched to a red ocean strategy. Loosing the unique selling points, Saab lost a lot old customers without winning over more new customers from the competitors. As a newcomer in the red ocean, you must be better.

      I note that Jaguar now also follows a blue ocean strategy, focussing on style and sportiness. Too early to tell if they will prevail, though. The new 2.2 litre Diesel is indication that they need more customers still (and apparently, they get them, which clearly shows that not every potential customer needs a big engine).

  14. SAAB need to produce a vehicle at a price point that is liveable for a majority of buyers. USD$52,000.00 cars will not make it.

    It needs to get back to where SAAB was, from the standpoint of safety, fun to drive, and the ability to stuff large objects in it.

    I realize that many here will not agree with me, but I have never been able to like the looks of the last 9-5. I started with a ’78 99 Turbo, and have owned SAABs of almost every body style from 1978 to 2008, but the newest 9-5 I find completely bland. Looks like a 4-wheeled jelly bean. Just my opinion.

    Jason Castriota was certainly on the right track though, it’s just a shame that his vision for SAAB was cut short.

    If SAAB is revived, it will need vehicles that shout “look at me!”, not something that gets lost in a sea of other cars.

  15. One wonders if the new ‘owners’ are reading the posts on the various web-logs like this one. I suspect they are.
    But their intentions would certainly not be swayed from their proposed business plan and stated direction to the Administrators.
    Let’s hope they choose well.
    Meanwhile I get admiring looks as I cruise/blast past in my Aero and a smile on my face every time I take a roundabout on the way to work every day.

    1. @ Andrew: Oh Yes the suitors are indeed keeping an eye on this site and other enthusiast sites. 🙂

      @ Saabdude: When it comes to pricing, discussions regarding the US and Canada has always proven to be futile. A 52.000 USD pricetag is affordable in Sweden eventhough we seldom have the means to buy a car at that price. In the US 52.000 is considered expensive. Please know that All European manufacturers without production in North America really do not make serious money by being present on the US market… Even on cars with a 52.000 dollar pricetag.


      1. Tom, agree on the US/Canada pricing, vs most of the rest of the world. I really can’t see how anyone can afford a new automobile in many countries. The prices astound me.

        SAAB used to sell very well equipped automobiles for substantially less than their European counterparts. That is what drew me to SAAB back in 1978. That, along with the fact that they were extremely safe cars, fun to drive, and could haul very large items…like fridges! Was even a SAAB Sales Manager for several years in the late ’80’s & early ’90’s, and enjoyed pointing these facts out to new buyers.

        Over the years of purchasing SAABs, I always took a look at the European competition…BMW, Audi, Alfa (when they were still in the US), & M-B…but always chose the SAAB, due to the higher content level at a much lower price. Nothing from the Asian manufacturers has ever thrilled me.

        SAAB got away from that in recent years, instead trying to match other European manufacturers on pricing, even though in many instances the content of the SAABs was still superior. I think it was a mistake that eventually bit them in the backside, sadly.

        If SAAB can be restarted, and I sure hope it can, they will need to seriously think about re-visiting that philosophy.