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Saab unveils new Saab 9-5 to journalists

TT/The Local · 31 May 2010, 16:56

Published: 31 May 2010 16:56 GMT+02:00

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The verdicts of the journalists will be a crucial test of Saab's efforts to convince the world that it has a future. Since the 9-5 was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September, the company has been fighting for its survival.

During its darkest days in early January, it looked as if the fully developed car would never reach the market. It was only after the last minute success of Spyker Cars' bid to buy the company from General Motors that the future of the model - and the brand as a whole - were secured.

The first cars are expected to reach dealers the week before Midsummer in mid-June. On Monday, Saab started the big launch, inviting 250 journalists from different countries to visit Trollhättan to test drive the car.

For Saab's future, it is crucial that the car does not flop. The smaller Saab 9-3 model continues to sell the most units for the brand.

The price of the new 9-5 is deliberately set higher than its 13-year-old predecessor. Prices start at 311,000 kronor ($40,000) and rise up to about 600,000 kronor depending on engine and equipment.

"The price means that the sales volume is expected to be slightly lower," said Peter Hallberg, CEO of Saab's dealer network.

Saab's turbulent times are not yet over. There are still companies that do not allow their employees to buy Saabs as company cars simply because of the lingering uncertainty surrounding the company.

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Finance and leasing companies have set very low residual values, or how much the cars are estimated to be worth in three years, on Saab vehicles. However, Saab dealers have agreed to provide a guaranteed residual value for the vehicles.

"We guarantee a value on par with our competitors," said Hallberg. "This means around 50 percent for volume models. We hope that will eliminate the worries of fleet car buyers."

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

20:40 May 31, 2010 by joshr
Seriously... 600,000 kr for a Saab? 600,000 kr for a car from a company that still has a very high chance of not surviving another two years? Nice cars, but they are not BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, etc...
20:56 May 31, 2010 by rugla
Mind you a 600000 piece of crap, but not to worry we will be left holding the bag in a few years when they are done laundering Russian money and sales the little assest left.

"We guarantee the value on par with our competitors" does he mean the Tata Nano? Not the German brands not by a mile!
00:48 June 1, 2010 by High Priestess Kang - Slut
If the picture on SAAB's website are any indication, the new 9-5 looks like a Buick. I fail to see how that would appeal to the traditional SAAB driver, regardless of price.
07:29 June 1, 2010 by Benrp
In reply to earlier comments Saabs future is secure, mainly becaus it has a 6 year fully funded business plan. And for those of you saying it is a piece of crap early reviews are very positive claiming it is at the same leval as The Audi A6 and simular cars, the looks are clearly based on the SAAB Aero X concept car.
08:56 June 1, 2010 by Nemesis
Another step back to being a sucessful business.

Good luck to the workers in SAAB in Trollhättan.
09:17 June 1, 2010 by joshr
@Benrp: A fully funded business plan means nothing. If the company does not meet projections, do you think that the investors will continue to pour in good money after bad?
09:48 June 1, 2010 by macktheknife
It is a time-honored Swedish business tradition to overestimate the value of products. This may prove an effective strategy in a small, tightly controlled market, but it doesn't work in a global market. In addition, it seems unwise to raise prices in an effort to compensate for a drop in sales, another typical Swedish business maneuver.
17:42 June 1, 2010 by rumcajs

How many BMW, Audi, Mercedes and SAABs have you driven had or known? I have driven a few (no Lexus unfortunately) and known many more.... and it's just a marketing thing. Very good cars all of them, but I've been into cars for many years and all the ones you mentioned give the same problems or even more than an average SAAB. And I'm not even a huge SAAB fan. Not even Swedish, but they are NOT bad cars at all. Also it's FROM 311,000 SEK. The 600 one is the top expensive. I don't know how much is the most expensive BMW or Mercedes, but I'm sure it's more that that.
06:08 June 2, 2010 by macktheknife
Among mechanics in the US, SAAB is an acronym for "something almost always broken", and therein lies the biggest problem; convincing people with so many choices to purchase a car with a very low rating for dependability. Not to mention how difficult the car is to work on and how expensive the parts are. And truthfully, it is not in the same league with those mentioned above.
03:24 June 3, 2010 by High Priestess Kang - Slut
I have two 9-3s. One is a 2003, the other a 2008.

The 2008 has been lovely. The 2003 is quirky but 90% of the issues we have had were warranty related so we weren't exactly put upon to repair them.

The largest chunk of change we have spent on the 2003, thus far, was $400 for a cabin fan. In the grand scheme of auto repairs, I think this is pretty solid.

While it's easy to say that SAABs are quirky, weird, little cars, those who are looking for dependability (and slightly boring) buy Hondas. SAABs appeal to a niche market - a concept GM couldn't grasp.
21:25 June 11, 2010 by Scotsaab
As someone who has been lucky enough to get behind the wheel during the press introduction, please be assured that while the 9-5 is not perfect, it is an exceptionally fine mid-range saloon. I felt some trim and plastics on these early cars were slightly disappointing but the car's dynamics, comfort and use of space were good. Crucially it also "felt" like a Saab.

There is much more to come from Saab. The 9-5 is something of a halfway house, but it's a viable new car that should satisfy selective buyers in Europe. Let's hope the next model will be purer still.
15:04 September 25, 2010 by Bryan Gregg
I've owned many great cars in 40+ years of driving but my 1999 Saab 95 was one of the best. Good performance, comfort., style, geat in the snow and even kinda cool according to my newphew who is much younger than I. I've had a Mercedes, Infinity and three Jaguars (still got one) and the Saab was still one of the most reliable (won JD Power initial quality in 99!). Our Infinity FX35 (not recommended) comes off lease early next year and I'm seriously thinking about the new 95. Haven't had a chance to drive it yet, but there have been some reviews, some good some not so good. The 95 was designed by GM yes, but even they are doing some things well now. I really wish people would try things before becoming experts. Bryan
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