Unless Saab builds something akin to its latest show car (a Scarab for the 21st century) its future is doomed.
I don't think Saab's managed to retain ANY of its uniqueness since GM's taken over. My aunt drove an older 900, before GM got its hooks into the company, and what a difference 17 years has made (GM bought 50% of Saab in 1989). Saab has become just another dull, lifeless GM brand extension. It's a shame.
GM may have robbed Saab of its individuality when it was an independent, but don't forget that without GM, Saab would have gone under in 1990.
Their management placed way too much emphasis on the US market (which accounted for around 50% of overall sales in the mid 1980s when junk bonds reigned), and the house of cards came tumbling down with Black Monday in 1987.
Excess capacity geared for a market that no longer wanted as many cars, coupled to lack of popularity/acceptance in almost every country apart from Sweden and the UK, set Saab awash with red ink.
If GM had not stepped in when it did, Saab would be a brand relegated to history.
However, that does not let GM off the hook completely, for what they have done after their purchase is entirely criminal - lack of proper investment, a dearth of new models, inconsistent quality, and paying little attention to what made a Saab a Saab, so much so that today's Saabs are nothing more than badge-engineered GM cars.
How many of you that knock Saab for being owned by GM now, actually own a Saab?
I can't speak for the latest model 9-3, but I can say that the previous generation did not stray from what made a Saab a Saab. Well engineered, well put together, comfortable, good power, unique and full of character.
From what I've seen of the new generation 9-3, they look pretty nice to me.
It seems you all get hooked on this shared platform thing, get used to it. It's here to stay - and so is Saab!
Are you kidding???
Mercedes not sharing platforms???
The Crossfire is completely the previous model SLK under the skin. The 300 borrows heavily from the E-Series. Even the mediocre Pacifica uses shared suspension components with its parent company.
The Porsche 914 was either actually marketed as a Volkswagen in some markets, or at least was considered to be launched under the VW name.
Jaguar shares much with Ford as well. Look at the X series.
Bash Saab all you like, but I love mine.
I own the previous generation 9-3 convertible, and it is a great car. From what I've seen of the current generation, they look very nice to me. Although I do prefer the (sleeker) styling of the last generation a bit more.
I'm surprised that the original reviewer doesn't feel the current Saab is worth $35,000. Especially when you consider that far inferior vehicles such as the Sebring & PT Cruiser convertible can list at well over $30,000, and vehicles in the same class as the 9-3 such as the Audi & BMW convertibles cost at least the same, and can be much more.
By the way, the original MSRP on my 2003 was $42,700.+, so it seems that Saab has more than held the line on prices.
To the commenter of 18 September, I think you have missed the point totally.
New M-Bs do not share platforms with other makes. The Chrylers that you did mention have M-B platforms, but these are the old ones that M-B has discarded and passed on for use within other brands in their empire.
The Crossfire is based on the previous SLK, which is off the previous C Class, while the 300 uses the previous E Class underpinnings; much as the 1994 - 2002 model 900/9-3 used the old Opel/Vauxhall Vectra J2400 platform, while the 9-5 uses the newer Vectra J2900 chassis and the current 9-3 the Epsilon component set that is also to be found under the current Vectra and GM US intermediates.
There's nothing wrong with platform sharing, but it has to be done properly or the resultant mishmash will see a string of clone cars. Unfortunately, Saab has not been able to distance themselves sufficiently from GM's other makes for their offerings to have a clear and distinct identity.
And, before you criticise further, I do NOT drive a Mercedes and nor do I find them all that desirable.
I said that the Crossfire was based on the previous SLK platform.
I didn't miss the point, it's just that some people like taking shots at Saab, while not looking under the skin of the sleds they're driving.
I wish people would quit complaining about how GM killed Saab... If you hate it that much, then don't buy one. I love my Saab! The new 9-3 is amazing.
Obviously an emotive subject, my take is SAAB with GM support would be viable (see Ford/Volvo) but currently the SAAB brand is becoming another GM badge engineered effort like Pontiac/Buick etc etc.
I like the SAAB brand, but at the moment it really is not delivering. Note that I'm not dismissing the current cars, but the 9-3 in particular could be a lot more SAAB like, and sell for money, and still be better.
I would consider buying the 94-98 900 because reliability is still pretty good with the 2.3L models from all that I have gathered, especially compared to the newer Saabs. Problem for me is that it's a REALLY unsafe car. It folds like a tin can. I have a feeling had Saab used its own new platform rather than shared one from Opel/Vauxhall, it would have done better. Of course GM owned them at this point and it was more profitable to share another GM brand's platform than to create a new Saab exclusive design. So disappointed because I really like the 900.
Those of you that claim that the 9-3 is all that of what makes a Saab have not had a taste of the Classic Saab to really compare with. I have driven a 9-3 and it did not feel like the several 900's I have owned. I agree that when GM took over, they got away from the basics that makes Saab what it is.