By on October 24, 2007

1202504.jpgBefore I respond to Steven Wade’s article “In Defense of Saab” and the resulting comments, I want to say a few words about the medium of discourse: the automotive blog. A few years ago, when automotive blogs first appeared, I was thrilled that I could comment on objectionable opinions. The ability to lodge instant feedback instantly rendered car magazines an anachronism. Or so I thought. After a month of commenting, I reread my previous posts. I was shocked by what I found. My comments were filled with hearsay evidence, unfounded opinions, attacks on cars I had never owned and a general prevalence of bullshit.

Most dictionaries define the word “bullshit” as a lie. Bullshit is not a lie. A liar is a person who misrepresents the truth in an effort to convince another person of a falsehood. A bullshitter can be stating a truth or falsity; it is not the statement but their intentions which they misrepresent. Bullshitters are not concerned with what is true or false. They’re concerned with how convincing their statement appears. A bullshitter will say anything if it will help them to achieve their goal.

One of the more prevalent forms of bullshit in our modern society is a statement or series of statements in which a person misrepresents themselves so as to be perceived in a more knowledgeable light. Automotive blogs are suffused with this kind of bullshit. Not to put too fine a point on it, The Truth About Cars is a website in which the editors and commentators are locked in a never ending cycle of unsubstantiated opinions and predictions presented as fact.

I read one automotive blog daily: Trollhattansaab.net . It’s written, moderated and published by Steven Wade, author of the Saab article that brought me to this site. In many ways, Trollhattansaab.net is no better than any other automotive blog in its output of bullshit. Mr. Wade is neither an engineer nor a member of the automotive industry. His information is often second hand. And although he is quick to point out the flaws he finds with Saab cars and the company, his opinions in regard to other brands are biased and largely unfounded.

I read Trollhattansaab.net in order to explore the main question that Mr. Wade often contemplates on his site. How does a brand that currently sells under 160k vehicles a year attract enough passionate owners that Trollhattansaab.net receives well over 5k unique visitors per day? Why is it that Saab drivers are so passionate about being Saab drivers?

I do not have the answer, and neither does Mr. Wade. However, on his site you will find thousands of comments from Saab owners describing why they love and occasionally dislike their cars. These statements are fact. They are real. They are based on years of owning Saab products. And these are the comments which should make up the majority of automotive blogs. Comments from owners about their experiences with their vehicles– and their vehicles only– are the only comments of value.

If I were asked to write an article on Saab for The Truth About Cars, I would not fill it with predictions, hopeful opinions or a detailed look at the company’s historical innovations. If this website is really The Truth About Cars, I would write the following:

The truth about the 1999 Saab 9-5 Wagon is that in eight years mine has never needed a single repair. I’ve never encountered a couch it could not carry, nor experienced weather too dangerous to drive through. In my 1999 Saab 9-5 Wagon, I feel confident and safe. And best of all, when there is no one on the road and I jam the accelerator into the floor and hear that turbocharger spool up as it flings me around the bend, I smile.

It is a Saab but also heavily influenced by its parent company GM. Does that make it a worse car? No. Does it matter to people who evaluate cars not on performance or design but based on biases about a company? Yes. To summarize: if automotive blogs are to be of any value to consumers or manufacturers then their editors and commentators have to reconsider why they are writing. Is it to present an unfounded opinion about a car they took for a quick test drive? Would it not be better if the reviewer presented just the empirical facts about the car, and left the first impressions for the consumer to form on his own?

Consumer Reports’ recent announcement that bias had influenced the reliability ratings of certain vehicles may trigger a change in that publication, from opinionated and biased car reviews, to the principles the publication was founded on: providing scientific testing of consumer products. I urge the editors and readers of this blog to follow suit.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

71 Comments on “In Defense of “In Defense of Saab”...”


  • avatar
    AKM

    Thank you for the nice op-ed, Bell.

    A few comments: those 5k visitors a day may (or may not) be detached from the current sales level. I do see (statement of fact) many old saabs on the roads, and know they have a passionate following.

    I agree with you on the bullshit as uninformed banter section. However, I do trust the reviewers of this website to give me their opinions on the product they’re tested. Biased? Of course. Everyone is biased. But at least they’re independent, and as far as I’ve seen, critical of all cars.

    And that’s the way I like it. If all the car reviews were 5 liners about a car making one smile and not necessitating repairs, what would be the point? Oh, wait, that’s what the “buff book” reviews look like. And there’s a reason why those magazines sell less and less.

    As a potential buyer, I’d much rather be confronted with biased (or, as I prefer to see it, critical) reviews by writers than with bland statements that do not give me any opinion.
    Of course, I’ll still go test the product and form my own opinion, but in a society where choice abounds, it’s good to have some help to decide.

    Furthermore, in a world where branding is everything, “bullshit” is only the reflection of the manufacturer’s own bullshit.
    I have recently driven a 9-3, and was not particularly impressed, although the discounts make it a good deal. But let’s be honest, I chuckled just thinking about this ad line “Born from jets”.
    If Saab is hurt because of this, so be it. Advertisement and marketing are now (unfortunately) as important for car companies as engineering is.
    Who drives the cars to the limit anyway?

  • avatar

    Bell, I’d like to thank you for going to the trouble of preparing this and supporting the site. And i’d like to thank TTAC for putting it out there as well.

    Automotive blog are what they are, and there’s always going to be some rejoicing in the anonymity of the keyboard. That’s OK, you take it for what it is.

    Hopefully some people read my editorial and thought about it, as they’ll do with this one. One step at a time.

    In the meantime, I’ll keep on working on getting informed.

  • avatar

    A great example of why TTAC is the best auto blog site on the interwebs. Great efforts by both Trollhattan & Bell.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Holy moly, I must be missing something here.

    What’s so good about Saabs? They have a fan base? So do Edsels (or, if an Edsel is stretching it, Opels, Peugeots, Smarts).

    And one guy feels great in his 9-5? I am happy for him, but nobody else is him.

    The 9-5 is ancient and unreliable (6th least reliable car in 2005 Warranty Direct Reliability Survey with 53 repair claims per 100 cars. Link: http://www.reliabilityindex.co.uk). Is quoting statistics bullshit?

    The 9-3 is unremarkable. The rest is pathetically badge-engineered. I don’t want to overstress the excremental and will refrain from a discussion about which opinions (and which cars) are bullshit, which are horse shit, and what other kinds of fertilizer are out there. But to say that Saabs are overpriced, underperforming, uncompetitive vehicles is hardly stretching it.

  • avatar

    Quick comment: Quoting statistics is pretty much the ultimate Bullshit Move. Look at any debate; you’ll find that both sides of an issue have a mountain of so-called “statistical evidence” to support their sides, even if the results are in direct conflict with one another. Data is immensely manipulatable; some people don’t realize it because numbers carry an air of objectivity, but there are many smart people getting paid big money to produce favorable, “verifiable, statitical” results.

    “There are three types of lies – lies, damn lies, and statistics.” – Wikipedia says Benjamin Disraeli said this, but Wikipedia’s just slightly more believable than the majority of published statistical evidence.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    I almost got a Saab for my last new car. 9-3 Aero COnvertable. Very nice ride, not quite the BMW I was driving at the time, but nice none the less. Decently quick, too. The thing that really pulled me in was their advertising.

    Saab. We build Fighter Jets.
    *insert Oakenfold, show a bunch of cool jets shooting around*
    We also make a car.
    *Quick five second clip of a 9-3 Aero*
    But mostly, Fighter Jets
    *More music and jets*

    In 100% honesty, one of the very few reasons I decided against it…Zero aftermarket. I couldn’t even find a damned K&N drop in intake for it. And I’m not importing parts from Sweeden.

    That, and the only color they had on lot for the Sedan was gaucamole green. They had a black Aero convertable, but I don’t do soft tops.

  • avatar
    Jesse

    Wow. I’m glad to see this as an editorial. I was fortunate to read it right before it got yanked from the comments section of Mr. Wade’s article. I was quite disappointed to see it removed, but know I know why.

    Cheers to RF!

    Sometimes I feel like these commenting sections are like high school. Pick an easy target and beat on it. It’s easier to contribute a witty comment about everyone’s favorite punching bag. Everyone else is doing it.

  • avatar
    brownie

    What a thoughtful piece – thank you. There is indeed much bullshit on the web, and I have surely contributed a big steaming pile of it.

    Unfortunately, the very business model (such as it is) of a blog requires an endless stream of bullshit. Bloggers generally get paid by advertisers, not readers (I’m sure RF will happily issue a full refund to any unsatisfied reader). Advertisers pay for traffic, not for the quality of discourse. Traffic is generated in part by encouraging commentary from all, not by discouraging it from anyone but the educated.

    Besides, there is only so much to be gained from personal anecdotes. Unlike kazoomaloo I think proper statistics have meaning; badly gathered or poorly used statistics are lies. Anecdotes only have meaning when compiled into statistically meaningful samples, and such sampling is simply impossible in a forum like this (there is an inherent selection bias in the pool of reader-commenters).

    And finally, it is boring to read an endless stream of personal anecdotes, and worse reading a stream of personal anecdotes with little relevance to the subject at hand. One of the things I appreciate about TTAC is the quality of its reader-commenters. The analysis may be bullshit, but it is usually interesting and insightful bullshit which frequently teaches me something or changes my perspective.

  • avatar
    bfg9k

    Virtual Insanity :
    October 24th, 2007 at 9:28 am
    In 100% honesty, one of the very few reasons I decided against it…Zero aftermarket. I couldn’t even find a damned K&N drop in intake for it. And I’m not importing parts from Sweeden.

    Zero aftermarket? You didn’t look very hard then! There’s at least 5 good Saab tuners (Nordic, SQR, Maptun, BSR, Jak Stoll), there are places that make and sell a wide variety of parts (www.genuinesaab.com, for one), and there’s plenty of people interested in aftermarket mods and upgrades – you just need to visit a Saab site like saabnet.com or saabcentral.com.

  • avatar

    I am the former owner of a 2002 Saab 9-5 Wagon, bought certified pre-owned from the Saab dealer in Austin, TX. The car ran fine until the 60k mark, when the dealer installed a new ECU under a Saab recall. From then on we experienced non-ending electrical problems, including randomly losing power to the point the car was unsafe to drive. The dealer replaced just about everything, sandblasted the cylinder head, waved voodoo dolls over the hood (all under warranty) but was unable to get the car reliable.

    After several months of this I called Saab’s customer service center for help and ran into a brick wall of procrastination, denial, and indifference. They finally offered me $1,000 toward the purchase of a new Saab. My wife and I purchased a 2007 Volvo V50 a few days later.

    I don’t give a damn how good Saab cars are in the future, I will not do business with a company that cares nothing for its customers. As I stated in the original “In Defense of Saab” comments thread, my wife and I would not mourn Saab’s passing. They deserve it.

  • avatar
    mistercopacetic

    This editorial has been long overdue. Kudos to Mr. Springsteen for writing it. The greatest strengths of online communications is ease, price, and effectiveness. The flip side, of course, is “noise.”

  • avatar
    saabyurk

    Thank you Bell for your truthful insights and thank you TTAC for allowing editorials such as these. I’m one of those fans addicted to Saabs and Trollhattansaab.net. While it’s true that there is bias there as there is everywhere, I give credit to Steven Wade for being refreshingly honest and calling a spade a spade, and never covering up the truth. So, thanks to “swade” for Trollhattansaab.net and his “In Defense of Saab” editorial in spades.
    PS: I see some “bullshit” has already crept into these comments. :-) Oh well, bad things sometimes happen, even with Saabs, but not mine which I’ve been happily driving since 67 in a 66 stroker.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Steven and Bell: thank you both for your model-specific enthusiasts perspective. One thing great about the Internet is that all thoughts are shared, with no discrimination between passion, facts, opinions or pure BS.

    And remember: one man’s word is another man’s BS. I learned that after seeing what brand-specific car forums thought of my work. Er, my BS.

    But one more thought: this editorial should mention that money talks and BS walks. We shall see how smaller players like SAAB fare (with GM’s investment) in this changing automotive economy.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The irony, of course, is that it is this editorial that is ultimately riddled with bullshit.

    I’ve noticed one thing about fans of unreliable cars — they vigorously denounce quantitative data in favor of their own personal anecdotes. When viewed from a intellectual, neutral perspective, that approach is, well, bullshit.

    Data is ultimately the pool of anecdotes from across the spectrum. It is an aggregation of the universe of results. It is better than an individual anecdote because it leads to the average and the standard deviation, rather than just allowing one person’s good or bad experience to cloud one’s judgment.

    Saabs have long had a track record of being inconsistent. Some folks get a good copy; others, a bad one. Oddly enough, those who get the good ones are often happier (i.e. more inclined to post on fanboy websites dedicated to the marque) than those who got bad ones. And of course, much of that experience will come from the ownership of the automaker, for it will have been the corporate stewards who decided what got invested in the product and what got left out, and who provide the level of support or lack thereof post-sale.

    Sources such as the buff books and this website review cars by driving them and looking at them, and provide their opinions based upon those experiences. Combined with the quantitative data, it’s pretty easy to get a general sense of what it is like to drive and what it will be like to live with a vehicle, and to make a decision to buy or avoid it based upon that information.

    Anyone who tells you that there isn’t enough information to make a well-grounded decision, or that you need to spend 30,000 miles behind the wheel before one can form an intelligent opinion about a vehicle, is feeding you a line of bullshit. To suggest that a fanboy’s anecdote trumps data is just an act of self-delusional, intellectually vacuous bullshit to the n’th degree.

    If the Information Age hasn’t been kind to your favored product, then the problem is probably with the product, not the information. The truth is particularly painful to those who lie to themselves too much.

  • avatar
    Jason

    I see that “bullshit” is now being used to describe negative experiances, true or not. So it’s only the truth if your particular car is good to you? Now that’s bullshit.

  • avatar
    Cavendel

    Pch101 :
    October 24th, 2007 at 11:08 am

    The irony, of course, is that it is this editorial that is ultimately riddled with bullshit.

    I agree with your statement, but then pretty much any article written is full of BS. You state later on “Saabs have long had a track record of being inconsistent.” Isn’t that the same sort of thing?

    Unless we want to get into the scientific method, we are going to be saddled with BS. And if we do go down the scientific method road, I probably won’t read another article. That would lead us to dullsville.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    I think I missed something in Mr. Springsteen’s blog about bloggers. Does he disagree with anything that Steven Wade said about Saabs? If so, any point of disagreement got lost in his editorializing about editorialists.

    Nevertheless, I understand his rant about ranters. But I disagree.

    While TTAC places a premium on accuracy of the informed opinions and observations of their writers, the publication is not a scientific journal. I used to work for a scientific journal and hundreds of scientific papers have crossed my desk. I’ve even written a few. Without exception, all of the papers have two things in common. They are all long – expounding in finite detail of hypothesis, testing methodology, and conclusions – and they are all torturously dull.

    Conversely, TTAC articles are designed to be concise (so that working stiffs can read them from their cubicles while on a brake), opinionated, and entertainingly informative.

    By Mr. Springsteen’s anti-BS logic all newspaper editorial pages must be disbanded, talk radio outlawed, news channel talking heads decapitated, and all political speech abolished. Okay, I could do without politicians, but the rest is fundamental to a free and open society.

    In Mr. Wade’s defense, every car buff I know is self taught and far more informed about their favorite cars than could be learned from formal education settings (i.e. I’m not aware of any Saab 101 classes offered by any universities).

    Cars are a high form of technology that humans have integrated intimately into our lives and for which we hold strong emotional attachments. We therefore have strong opinions as to their visual appeal, the sound of their exhaust note, the feel of their ride quality, and thrilled by explosive acceleration. We tend to become passionate partisans for the cars that excite us the most. It’s not classically scientific but that’s not to say that the passion is baseless or always illogical.

  • avatar
    peteinsonj

    I have had an 02 Saab 95 wagon for 6 years. A wonderful, sporty, fun to drive, yet highly practical and safe car. Can’t say enough about the customer focused dealer and service in general.

    Yes, outdated and outclassed compared to BMW, Mercedes, etc — but then lets be clear about it – Saab does not sell at the same premium list price or actual selling price.

    And yet, I didn’t replace it with another Saab 9-5. The ’08, while much improved, uses the same platform. And while I felt the ’02 still had enough Scandinavian warmth in the interior, the ’08 interior was more like Scandinavian jet — a little too much metal and silver for my taste. And quite frankly, I really was looking for AWD.

    What’s in my garage as of Monday (2 days ago) — a 9-7x. (thud)

    Again, not a world class vehicle by any stretch. My needs have changed somewhat — and also wanted something different. I did lease, too, since I really am not sure I want to commit to an SUV long term.

    So — in my car shopping — went first to Audi — reasonable sales experience, but for a lease wouldn’t even consider coming close to the Audi USA web site price. Acura — The newly snouted MDX very nice (except for the snout) — dealer only has in stock vehicles all at $50k plus. Then BMW. X5 lease price equally high, not to my taste anyway. At Honda, wouldn’t even let me drive a Pilot off the lot to test drive. $549/month lease for the VP model. And don’t even start with Toyota – one 4Runner to look at, no Highlander on the lot even.

    Back at my local Saab (and by this time had driven a couple of used and couple of new 9-7x’s, with 4.2 and 5.3 motors) — ’08 has $1000 rebate, $500 bonus cash, and then $1000 Saab loyalty. Price about $500 above dealer invoice. Trade in as good as it gets. Deal done.

    It’s reasonably fun to drive (for an SUV), as fuel efficient/inefficient as the others. Includes 3/36 service. I have a dealer who offers superb customer service (as a single parent, with one car in the family, this is key to me). No BS, dance around talk to the manager for an hour sales experience. Long service hours, fleet of loaners.

    If Saab does not sell at prices equivalent to the top European (and Japanese?) competitors, offers reasonably reliable vehicles, can deliver a decent style direction across a range of vehicles, continues to increase the fun to drive factor, with dealers (and I suppose Saab “head office,” too) offering top notch customer service – I believe the brand can do well.

    Pete

    (now about those reliability stats — for years CU has rated the 9-5 ahead of the European competitors. The new 9-3SS had computer/software issues, seems to have improved, but not great, would need to look more closely at that, but not as good as the 9-5. I think its fair to say Saab isn’t any better or worse than other European “luxury” brands, but certainly does not have Honda/Toyota/Lexus reliability either!)

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    I wonder how many ttac readers who are at this very moment voting for the 10 Worst Cars really have a right to do so, in terms of the buehlchit factor. I started to vote and realized that I don’t know enough about those 20 cars to make such a decision, and I make a large part of my living writing about cars. I didn’t vote and won’t.

    When I was the editor of Car and Driver, we had an annual “Reader’s Choice” poll to choose the 10 best cars of the years. What did our readers vote for (many of whom were teenagers)? whichever Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes or musclecar they’d most recently read about.

    We stopped letting readers vote and, for better or worse, let the staff choose the cars.

    Having said that, I must also say that some of the knowledgeable comments posted on ttac are enormously useful, interesting and valuable. You just have to know who has the mike and be able to separate the wheat from the goats. Or something.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    Pch101,

    Interesting counter point. Does the same fan boyism, however, apply to reliable cars? Again, anecdotal evidence at best, but the only Toyota I’ve owned was horribly unreliable, and had more problems in its two short years I owned than any domesticish car I or my family has owned.

    And as Einstein said…

    “If the results don’t fit the facts, change the facts.”

    And bgf, too bad I missed those. Maybe? I remeber seeing one or two that looked like those names, but all the focus was on the older cars, and I wasn’t going to buy an old one, I was looking at the ’07 Aero models. I’ll keep them in mind though if any of my Saab owning friends decide to go the route I plan.

  • avatar
    RyanK02

    A BS-less blog? ‘Fraid not, chief. That’s like going into a strip club and condemning everyone for being perverts. We are all here for one reason – we are passionate about cars. Everyone has biases and opinions. Without those, every single new car put on the market is on a level field, with no way of differentiating between them..other than driving every single one.

  • avatar
    maxo

    If you believe that any statement coming out of a human brain is inherently biased, like I do, then you won’t differentiate between reviews based on their supposed level of bias. The only way a review can be totally unbiased is if there is some outside god-like entity that can judge that “Yes, this review perfectly matches the infallible truth found in this car”. This doesn’t exist, so the truth is only what you perceive. To me this is what the “truth” in TTAC stands for – it contains the writers’ own truth instead of a truth generated by a conglomeration of car companies, editors, marketing departments, consumer surveys, etc.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    The point I was trying to make above isn’t that opinion is bad, it’s that too often opinion comes from lots of things other than having actually driven and experienced the car. Sometimes ttac readers admit to having “sat in it at the auto show”, sometimes they _don’t_ admit having “read the Car and Driver review…”

  • avatar
    pete

    There seems to be an implication that opinion is debased and that dispassionate judgments are the only ones we should be listening to.

    If I was to buy my next car purely based on dispassionate factors (married, two teenagers, concerned but not maniacal about the planet) I doubt I’d end up with a drivers car (on balance) but sorry my opinion kicks in and my internal BS-er tells me I need a BMW ‘cos driving round those corners on the back roads is worth some of the little niggling things. Oh wow I have one, cool! My internal BS-er knows me too well. Long live opinion.

  • avatar
    fellswoop

    Oddly enough, those who get the good ones are often happier (i.e. more inclined to post on fanboy websites dedicated to the marque) than those who got bad ones.

    Hmm. In general, on the innanets, the opposite seems to be true.

    In all my obsessive web surfing since its early days, I’ve found the opposite to be true…that people that are P.O.’d about a product tend to be WAY more vocal than those that are in love with a product.

    I believe there are some axioms of marketing and whatnot about the dangers of an unhappy customer vs. a happy one.

    This “echo-chamber-of-doom” phenomenon ends up coloring all kinds of research done on the net, as people angrily opine on whatever trangressions their purchases have committed.

    just sayin’.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    PCH has a good point, and given our lack of agreement on so many topics I feel even more confident in rejecting this editorial.

    My point is similar to PCH’s – Owners are the origin of more BS than the factories.

    Owners often have a lot tied up in their decisions on cars. For many, the cost of the cars is a huge investment. For others, it’s still a big decision. After the purchase, they can easily convince themselves of some astounding stuff.

    Having been an aircraft broker, I have seen this affect on steroids. Imagine if you just bought a quarter or half million dollar (or more) airplane, and started getting buyers remorse (everyone does). Now you have a lot of money, and self esteem, wrapped up in this thing. Many owners faced with criticism of their vehicle from non-owners become fanatical fans. A few will turn the opposite way and quickly become a nightmare for the factory (it couldn’t be THEIR OWN bad decision, they must have been LIED to). The salesman now has a bunch of guys ecstatic about their purchase and one or two cussing him and demanding their money back. Even though they all have essentially the same product!

    Nope, buyers are liars, before and after the sale. The only sure thing is that the product is not as good or as bad as you are likely to hear. Over many years and tens of thousands of cars the market is highly unlikely to be wrong. If they aren’t selling, they aren’t the best value for most buyers.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    You state later on “Saabs have long had a track record of being inconsistent.” Isn’t that the same sort of thing?

    As far as I can tell, it isn’t. This is hard to prove and I am open to correction here, but the sense I get is that a lot of Saab’s reliability problems are due to component failures, rather than engineering and design problems, per se.

    If a car is badly designed, problems tend to affect just about everyone who owns one, as they are endemic to the core of the vehicle. But bad components fail less consistently, and therefore plague some owners while leaving others in decent shape. That’s particularly true if components were derived from multiple suppliers, and some buyers are fortunate enough to end up with the parts made by the good guys.

    Does the same fan boyism, however, apply to reliable cars? Again, anecdotal evidence at best, but the only Toyota I’ve owned was horribly unreliable, and had more problems in its two short years I owned than any domesticish car I or my family has owned.

    Sort of. Reliability data is more quantitative than fun factor. A black circle in Consumer Report’s reliability survey means that a lot of people reported problems with it.

    If you had a bad experience, you have every right and reason to act on it. Ditto if you had a good one. But it’s fair to ask whether you are part of the norm, or whether you got (un)lucky.

    One of the implications here is that vehicle reliability is largely built into the product. Assuming that you keep fluids in it and don’t drive it into a wall, most of your reliability experience, particularly during the early years of ownership, will be based upon how the car was designed and engineered, not based upon you. While some designs are more prone to owner abuse and error (i.e. turbos that are not allowed to cool and therefore sludge), most errors go back to the company that built the car.

  • avatar
    bill h.

    Stephan,

    Thanks for your comments, based on your experiences with C&D.

    I’m with you, I’ve found the discussions interesting –despite my ijmpression not only of BS, but of a tendency to pile on. I’ve decided not to vote as well, because I just don’t have enough knowledge about many of the nominees, other than reactions to styling.

  • avatar
    dougw

    This was a very well thought out, concise and largely correctly reasoned editorial. Unfortunately it was also a bit dull, as would all blogs be if they followed the editorial fencing as suggested.

    Bullshit is an art form that is celebrated in all walks of life and adds zest to reality.
    We all recognize it, process it, throw it back at times, and then finally get to the truth and heart of issues…win or lose.

    Those who are bothered too much by bullshit are doomed to lives of endless introversion. And that is no bullshit.

  • avatar
    Thomas Minzenmay

    While I’d agree with the general tone of the editorial (i.e. anti-bullshitting), I think it makes one major mistake which is obvious in the following quote:
    Comments from owners about their experiences with their vehicles– and their vehicles only– are the only comments of value.

    Of course, comments like “SAAB sucked ever since GM bought it” are completely worthless, but there are lots of valuable comments out there, which were not written by actual owners. At the same time, a comment about your own vehicle might be worthless as well, because a) people usually don’t have several cars within the same segment and b) tend to defend their purchase before themselves and before others.

    (Self-)limiting to owner experiences would degrade any site to a mere owners club, when the web can offer so much more. People who come to sites like this love cars and that love usually goes beyond their own vehicle. I for one am interested in background information (historical/technical/…) as much as in real experiences and if I have something interesting to say (IMO at least), I like to share it with others and I hope that others feel the same way and share their thoughts with me.

    But even if we talk about specific cars, how should this site be able to write any reviews, if it was limiting itself to cars that the reviewer actually owns? I’m pretty sure that even if this would work somehow, it wouldn’t help the quality for the reasons a) & b) mentioned above.

    Plus, this editorial completely dismisses the fact that even the bullshitters in here are also potential car buyers. So even if their “XYZ is a shitty car” comments itself are worthless, their number can show you what people think about a brand, which also is an important “truth”. It doesn’t help a company that their cars are great as long as nobody notices.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    “Why is it that Saab drivers are so passionate about being Saab drivers?”

    There are billions of people on the planet. Finding a few thousand who are passionate about any particular thing isn’t hard. Having a few thousand die hard fans says very little about a car company.

  • avatar
    mpls244

    “There are billions of people on the planet. Finding a few thousand who are passionate about any particular thing isn’t hard. Having a few thousand die hard fans says very little about a car company.”

    The number of Toyotas sold dwarves by several orders of magnitude the number of Saabs sold. Yet I do not see any non-corporate Toyota blogs similar in popularity or enthusiasm (or intelligence) to TrollhattanSaab.net.

    In addition to my Saabs I owned a GMC Suburban for awhile. Without looking up the numbers, I’d bet as many or more Suburbans are sold in a single year than Saabs. Yet I also found very little on the internet to indicate there were groups of passionate Suburban owners (which surprised me, I really liked mine).

    And it’s not just TrollhattanSaab.net. There are at least three other active, well-read Saab forums on the net: saabnet.com, saabcentral.com, and saablink.net. All three sites have thousands of members.

    Thus, there are enough facts, not in dispute, to conclude that Saab has a uniquely passionate and intense fan base.

    I would agree with one of the very early comments, a lot of that passion is for the older models. Saabs got a lot more mainstream in the 1990’s, and alienated some of their core fans. The lack of a hatchback in the current line-up is a real sore spot. GM/Saab does not understand its own fan base, although it is getting better.

    Anecdotes are not evidence, true enough. Fotobits’ experience is regrettable and I’m sorry he went through it. But every car manufacturer has some cars with issues, and some dealers who give terrible service. Surely Mr. Fotobits’ does not think that Toyota deserves to die because of Mr. Virtually Insanity’s bad experience, does he?

    There are issues with Consumer Reports’ methodology, but for many years the 9-5 made their recommended list for excellent safety and average reliability. The 9-5 is about as reliable a European car as you can get.

    I’ve driven a 9-5 Aero for 4 years now, and it’s been pretty reliable. And a freakin’ blast to drive.

    [irony]

    So obviously you should all go buy one just like mine.

    [/irony]

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Landcrusher said:

    “Nope, buyers are liars, before and after the sale. The only sure thing is that the product is not as good or as bad as you are likely to hear. Over many years and tens of thousands of cars the market is highly unlikely to be wrong. If they aren’t selling, they aren’t the best value for most buyers.”

    Amen

  • avatar
    stimpy

    I’m not sure how you can read a post from someone and either dismiss it as bullshit or bless it as gospel. Okay, some posts might well lend themselves to this sort of classification, but most of the time I think you lack the type of context necessary to define someone’s opinion as crap or cream puff. Do you get enough context from a couple of paragraphs to determine bias regarding a CAR MANUFACTURER? I’m skeptical, to say the least. How can you know specifics of how someone came about their particular opinion?

    Most people criticize Saab as being uncompetitive. I would agree with that. I really wanted a 9-3 SportCombi until I actually sat in one and test drove it TWICE (just to make sure). Saab in swimming in some pretty deep and shark-filled waters in the segment they live in and the fact that their survival is in question is not too surprising. I defy anyone to drive a 9-3 and an A4 back to back, for example, and come away thinking the Saab the better car. Granted, there may be some people so predisposed to the Saab brand that they choose it over the Audi, but most relatively objective people will not. And the same can be said of most anything in that particular near-luxury segment. Objectively, Saabs just are not that great. Granted, they could be, but they just aren’t right now. GM needs to do more than just add a new Haldex AWD system and some headlight chrome.

  • avatar
    omnivore

    @kazoomaloo: I believe it was Mark Twain that said that there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. But I’m not sure I’m any more reliable than Wikipedia. Nonetheless, the sentiment is spot-on.

  • avatar
    jazbo123

    Mr Springsteen,

    Please don’t try to tell us that you haven’t had to replace the SID unit in your 9-5. They feature a 300% failure rate over 7 years, and an internet search will show you people who make a living repairing them, a gentleman in MA comes to mind. Also, the throttle body must have been replaced on your car at least twice due to the TPS failing. They have a mean lifetime of around 40,000 miles. I can go on with the other inherent weaknesses in the 9-5, but I’ll spare the audience. But didn’t you attend the recall for the ignition module? I’m pretty sure that 99s were included.

    If you really haven’t had a single repair, I can only assume you never drive it anywhere.

    (Despite this, I still like my 9-5 Aero, imperfect though it is).

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    Nice editorial. It touches on why I get tired of reading posts by people who bash something about which they know little.

    Why do people feel strongly about some cars more than others, even when they haven’t driven them? I think the reason is that some cars emphasize things that certain people find offensive. For example, some people hate the Prius, even if they never have driven one. That is because the Prius is a finger in the eye to those who think they should be able to burn gas as they please. On the other hand, a Ford Excursion is a slap on the face to those people who think Americans burn too much gas.

    Cars that try to be non-controversial also get themselves into trouble with some people who think that cars should not be bland appliances. Cars that are very cheap and basic offend those who don’t want to be faced with the existance of poverty.

    When people spout off about how Saabs are driven by “lefty professors” as one poster has written, that is just another way of telling us that he has no respect for people who lean left politically. This person has somehow tied something about Saabs to leftists. Perhaps because Saabs have a Swedish connection and Sweden is a very liberal country? For this reason, he may not like products from Canada, France or Belgium either. But, sorry, I don’t see any real value in his comments.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Sure hope someone writes an article defending Eagle or Plymouth soon.

  • avatar
    bill h.

    mpls244:

    “There are at least three other active, well-read Saab forums on the net: saabnet.com, saabcentral.com, and saablink.net. All three sites have thousands of members.”

    Perhaps also worth noting that saabnet.com has existed since the late 1980s, when it was originally IIRC a Compuserve BB.

    stimpy:

    “I’m not sure how you can read a post from someone and either dismiss it as bullshit or bless it as gospel. Okay, some posts might well lend themselves to this sort of classification, but most of the time I think you lack the type of context necessary to define someone’s opinion as crap or cream puff. Do you get enough context from a couple of paragraphs to determine bias regarding a CAR MANUFACTURER? I’m skeptical, to say the least. How can you know specifics of how someone came about their particular opinion?”

    A reasonable question; in many other interest areas that have online discussions (performing arts, or products other than autos which have enthusiastic followings of particular types), reasonable but diametrically opposed opinions occur all the time. If it’s simply a matter of differing tastes–not really resolvable. People have to try to obtain context or supporting arguments to see if they trust the opinion, whether or not they agree with it. But if someone says that “I don’t like Brand X, therefore they suck” that might not get far in the credibility department.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Maybe some day the Saab fans will qualify to join an orphan car tour:

    http://www.orphancartour.org/

    There are still huge numbers of fans of vintage Triumphs, MGs and even Gremlins and Corvairs. That doesn’t mean there was a good business case for those companies to continue on.

    Saab’s current contribution to the automotive landscape is minimal. In 1970 a Saab was something completely different from anything made by any US or Japanese company and had a special niche as a result. Today any differentiators are very, very minimal.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    SherbornSean:

    Just go to any DSM forum, and you’ll find plenty defenders of the Talons.

  • avatar
    Merkurwwu

    I appreciate this article, very much, and it conveys what I’ve been feeling for a couple years now.

    I work in automotive manufacturing for a heavy truck maker independent of any of the other automakers. I work with many MANY suppliers who supply parts to just about every automaker who builds cars in North and South america. From what I can tell, most of the comments on blogs come from people who obviously have ZERO knowledge of automotive manufacturing. They are clearly caught up in the image of a vehicle and can’t look at any other vehicle with any objectivity. Every car out there has good ideas in it. Every car out there has good and bad areas of build quality- some are just more obvious than others.

    I’ve almost completely stopped contributing to blogs because whenever I add something, telling HOW IT IS instead of how it SHOULD BE, I get blasted. People are so caught up in this utopian world of what cars should be that they put on the blinders and go to town. In the end they’re just boxes with wheels and really not worth stressing over, right?

  • avatar

    It is worth stressing over if your wife is in graduate school at night and you don’t know if her car is going to get her home safely.

  • avatar
    Merkurwwu

    When I say “stressing over” I mean in the case of throwing bullshit around and getting really upset because someone thinks the new Accord is rediculous and the Taurus is better. FINE! They feel that way. Let them. Don’t make yourself go on blood pressure medication because you DISAGREE with the person…!

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    @ Bell Springsteen:
    To summarize: if automotive blogs are to be of any value to consumers or manufacturers then their editors and commentators have to reconsider why they are writing. Is it to present an unfounded opinion about a car they took for a quick test drive? Would it not be better if the reviewer presented just the empirical facts about the car, and left the first impressions for the consumer to form on his own?

    Dismissing the opinions of informed experts who do a “quick test drive” is BS.

    An experienced programmer can quickly discern poorly written code. An experience car reviewer can do the same for cars. And reviews can be an important tool if a review and you have similar opinions with cars you’re familiar with.

    I grew up on domestic Detroit automotive iron – manual tranny pickups and Chevettes and Horizons. Then I drove a 5 speed Civic. While I couldn’t articulate details, I knew something was wrong with the US auto industry . Was my first impression worthless? No. It was quite prescient. 80’s Civics were some of the best small cars ever made.

    Sure, everyone has biases and preferences, and it’s best to get them out in the open. But with the automotive press often taking the Lewinski position vis-a-vis the Clintonian automotive industry, it’s nice to have blogs where strong opinions, even from those with limited knowledge, are given some weight.

  • avatar
    Merkurwwu

    I disagree with ihatetrees. I often think auto reviewers have too many cars in their heads. Like they want to compare the new Focus to an M3. Or heck, even something like a Civic, which is significantly more expensive, with the Focus (if you factor in rebates and such). I often read car reviews and think to myself, "What does this reviewer EXPECT!?? It's a $14k car!!" Seriously! Just like when I read reviews of my Volvo S60R and it gets blasted for not being an M3 I think to myself, "if you want an M3, cough up the extra $20k and get an M3." I think most reviews are unfair because I don't know what the reviews frame of reference is. Maybe they were just driving an A8 and then got into a Corolla. Yeah- the Corolla will be a POS compared to the A8. SHOCKER! No offense to any of the writers but an english degree, in my opinion, doesn't make someone an expert in cars. They have *some* experience though and at least some of that, if they can keep it in check, and compare objectively, it can be valuable. 

  • avatar
    jdv

    Wow. Well said. Particularly here.
    (IMHO)

  • avatar
    mlbrown

    In the words of my father, the mechanic: “Cars suck.”

    -Matt

  • avatar
    debushau

    I think the piece raises an interesting question – how many commenters have actually driven the cars they have commented on? I for one would rather read autoblogs than trek out on a windy Saturday to test drive a Chevy Aveo that I have no intention of ever buying. Therefore the only thing I would feel entitled to comment on are aesthetics and my own experience with the vehicles I own.

    Anyway, I don’t think you can ever tell whether a car is a “great” one until it’s been in the market for 10 years. If people still like it then, you’ll know for sure it’s one that you should have bought 10 years ago or, slum it and buy used.

  • avatar
    mlbrown

    In seriousness, though, opinions are just opinions, and people should be able to express their opinions knowing that they’ll be disagreed with.

    Really, that’s what blogs are for. I certainly don’t expect journalism when I click on TTAC, and I’d rather not get it here. I don’t want cold, Consumer Reports-type analysis here, and I don’t think the auto review is a place for it, anyway.

    Some folks think auto reviewers can boil things down to impartial, objective facts, but they can’t. What we get when they try are numbers used in the wrong way: Car A does 0-60 in 6.5 seconds, but Car B does it in 6.2. Who cares? Car A makes 200 bhp, but last year, it made 203. So what? That doesn’t really tell me why Car A is better than Car B.

    Reviewers and the buying public should admit that image and feeling play as important a role as all the stats and data. People get confused when they talk about journalism. They think the goal of journalism is objectivity. It’s not. The goal of journalism is fairness and accuracy.

    It’s accurate to list all a Saab’s stats, but it’s fair for me to say that though I think they look great, I wouldn’t buy one because it would make me feel 15 years older and like a stuffy college professor.

    I think “In Defense of Saab” did a good job for itself, and I agree with “In Defense of In Defense of Saab,” that the responses did lean a bit to the bullshiat side, relying much too heavily on little strong-sounding-but-weak catch phrases like “badge engineering,” and others.

    Also, to someone considering purchasing a Saab, or any other car, the “My brother had a Saab and it sucked because at 70,000 miles it electrical system went wonky and the dealership sucked and it smelled funny” yap doesn’t really do any good. I’m always amused by the “don’t ever buy this car ever” folks who think that a manufacturer cranks out nothing but crap based on their one experience. For every one person who has problems or doesn’t realize that cars require maintenance, as the case may be, there are plenty of others who wouldn’t drive anything else.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    I think badge engineering has become one of those cool new catch phrases that the politicos like to use, but in the automotive world.

    Like, islamofacism and carbon offsets and stuff like that. It sounds cool, but its gotten to the point where it really doesn’t mean anything.

  • avatar

    The real problem with statistics is that most people don’t understand them well enough to think critically when statistics are thrown at them, in order to know when they are being fooled, and when the statistics are valid. But good statistics speak volumes. Without them, drugs would be pretty useless, among many other things.

    High school students should be taught to understand what statistics mean, why they are important, what can be learned from them, etc, without being forced to manipulate them. That can come later. A lack of understanding of what statistics mean in the modern world is a huge handicap

  • avatar

    Sherborn Sean
    Sure hope someone writes an article defending Eagle or Plymouth soon.

    I’m planning to defend the Trabant.

  • avatar

    Consumer Reports’ recent announcement that bias had influenced the reliability ratings of certain vehicles may trigger a change in that publication, from opinionated and biased car reviews, to the principles the publication was founded on: providing scientific testing of consumer products. I urge the editors and readers of this blog to follow suit.

    Ms. Springsteen, Somehow I missed this. Can you tell me which issue it’s in?

  • avatar

    I think it’s great when anyone gets passionate about their car, no matter what it is.

  • avatar
    TaxedAndConfused

    Isn’t this just like saying “I drove a BMW once, it was crap. Therefore all BMWs are crap.” ?

  • avatar
    nichjs

    Well, I’ve spent a-g-e-s reading most of the comments here, and there are probably lonads more since I refreshed the page, but I wanna play too:

    In history GCSE (age 16) at school we were taught about the differences between facts and opinions. The latter were not irrelevant, and could be just as useful as a fact, so long as you take into consideration the commentator / source. This is the same in any aspect of human communication, the skill (which they were trying to teach me at school) is to be able to discern fact from opinion. Once you start doing this you realise how few facts there really are out there.

    Props to Merkurwwu, I completely agree that the reference point of the reviewer is crux. I bimble about in a small car and am perfectly happy, as “my other car isn’t a porsche”.

    Third and last thought: All car companies create a bell-curve of quality products, ie a graph of frequency v no of defects there will be a smallish number of cars with loadsa problems, and a smallish number of cars which run 250,000 miles with no major parts replacement. somewhere in the middle htere’s the modal point, most cars need work at some point of other, and companies try to keep the maintenance preventative. Anyway, my point is that the few people at either end of the bell curve are always most vocal about their experiences, wither saying that everyone should drive a saab, or that Ford Fiestas should be avoided like the plague. My tuppence.

  • avatar
    TaxedAndConfused

    I’m planning to defend the Trabant.

    Driving a trabbie was more fun than the BMW I mentioned. Therefore all trabbies are better than BMWs.

    Oops, I did it again.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    “Consumer Reports’ recent announcement that bias had influenced the reliability ratings of certain vehicles may trigger a change in that publication … “

    I suppose the poster is referring to the fact that recent Toyota reliability survey results have moved down to the point that a new model Toyota no longer is eligible to get the “recommended” check mark until it has turned in actual data for a year or two showing average or better reliability. CR’s policy for a long time has been to hold off on the recommended rating for a new model IF the manufacturer has a history of producing a range of models with non-predictable reliability. Historically Toyota and Honda new design vehicles have turned in at least industry-average (normally better) reliability records and thus didn’t have to wait for a new model to prove it’s reliability before being “recommended”. All of this has always been disclosed in the 1-2 two page reviews of each model when it is tested.

    There is nothing secret or underhanded going on here. If a prospective purchaser is going to consider CR’s view of a vehicle before buying it you would expect them to at least actually read the review. Doing so takes less than five minutes.

    Toyota’s recent problem vehicles mean that new models will again have to prove themselves reliability wise before getting the recommended rating.

    Pretty simple actually.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    “Consumer Reports’ recent announcement that bias had influenced the reliability ratings of certain vehicles may trigger a change in that publication, from opinionated and biased car reviews, to the principles the publication was founded on: providing scientific testing of consumer products. I urge the editors and readers of this blog to follow suit.”

    Does the author think that the purpose of this blog is or should be limited only to “empirical” facts/truths?

    There is a possibility that I might be dead today, due to bad engineering and/or incompetent repairs. My own experiences with GM products could have gotten me killed a couple of times. I now stay away from GM.

    Those are my own personal truths; not “empirical.” Tell me, should I refrain from sharing my opinions here and with my friends and family; people I love and care about?

    My point is that real-life is not a doctoral dissertation. Thankfully so.

  • avatar
    Jan Andersson

    I’ve always believed that you should look for car reviews written by someone in the same life situation as you are. If you’re a family father with small children, don’t read a family car review by a older gentleman with grown kids, who’s forgotten all about diapers, child seats and hockey trunks. If you’re a woman, don’t read male reviews. And if you are an old gentleman with a taste for expensive sport cars, but just for cruising, don’t read a review by someone one third of your age. He wouldn’t understand why you don’t want to use all of your rubber the first week.

  • avatar
    bodegabob

    So there’s a lot of bullshit on the web. . . you don’t say?

    I’ll go a few steps further and say that bullshit as you describe it is the lifeblood of interactive websites, newsgroups, the kaffe klatch down at the Waffle House, and just about any other forum where people feel at liberty to speak their minds. Often there isn’t much outside the realm of narrow opinion in anything people say, even if it’s proffered as wisdom.

    Having struggled for years to get a web forum going among a group of people whose reticence you’d probably find admirable, I can tell you from personal experience that when too high a criteria is placed on the validity of personal expression, the expression doesn’t happen. The end result is worse than bullshit: Absolute silence. You can thank the bravery, the creativity, the tolerance of we unashamed bullshitters for the web page you are reading at this moment.

    Bullshit and blather are things I expect all of us little mortals to succumb to in some way. It’s the core of the ancient art of storytelling. Oral tradition is an endless stream of unsubstantiated opinion, exaggerations, embellishments and so on tacked onto some core of truth so obscured through the ages as to seem irrelevant. Sometimes the end result of this is beautiful–most times it’s forgettable–though it’s always undeniably human. Perhaps this is the adage for our times: “To be is to bullshit.”

    No, bullshitting isn’t the maximum evil here on the web. I think a far greater contributor to cynicism and ill-will is the undying need of some people–not all–to feel “dominant” in some way, even having been denied that feeling after so many attempts in real life away from the web. True bullshitters are guilty of this in a way, but perhaps not as much as the arrogant fool who tries to put himself above those petty commentators and their vile little opinions. Bullshit is one thing: Haughty arrogance and detestable condescension is quite another.

    And by the way–I’ll throw my opinion in here, even though I’ve only driven one SAAB in my life and would never own one. I’ve heard that “SAAB” is an acronym for “Something An Asshole Buys”. Just what I’ve heard . . . grain of salt and all that.

  • avatar
    mlbrown

    SAAB

    Something Almost Always Broken

    -Matt

  • avatar
    TaxedAndConfused

    GM

    Generally Minging.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    Jan makes some good points above, however, I don’t think it’s necessary to hold extremely strictly to that.

    For example, if I’m in my mid-40’s with four kids, but I’ve already got a large personnel carrier and only need a light pickup truck for use as a second or third vehicle…maybe for weekly jaunts to Home Depot, the nursery, or to work my small apple orchard on Saturday mornings, I may never find a review done by somebody exactly in my demographic.

    In such cases, maybe just learning about available light, maybe used, pickup trucks is all I need to do.

    Oldies but baddies:

    GM: General Maintenance
    Ford: Fix Or Repair Daily, Found on Road Dead

    I didn’t make ’em up, they’re just some “bullshit” I heard….hehe.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Does the author think that the purpose of this blog is or should be limited only to “empirical” facts/truths?

    It’s worse than that. The author believes that only long-term owners are in a position to judge and review vehicles. The author believes that the scope of sites such as TTAC should be limited to a few uncontroversial factoids, such as the fact that the product exists, and that it has a wheelbase of X and engine displacement of Y. In other words, no information that could burst the bubble of the diehard brand loyalist.

    Again, I find that fanboys of unreliable and unimpressive vehicles consistently tend to cling to this “individual experience” argument. That’s because the quantitative data and the subjective but more well-rounded views of critics don’t tend to support their positions, so they’d prefer to attack or ignore them.

    I’m not disputing the value of owner/ fanboy forums — I’ve posted on some myself — but their utility is limited because their audiences are sharply skewed in favor of the products. They don’t provide a measure of those who were generally unimpressed or who purposely avoided the brand for whatever reason.

    Those forums are terrific places to trade tips, become educated on little publicized quirks, and to learn about accessories and modifications specific to the vehicles in question. But to claim that enthusiasm is the only thing worthy of publication is, of course, bullsh*t.

  • avatar
    SAAB95JD

    Great insight. Thanks.

  • avatar
    TaxedAndConfused

    FIAT – Fix It Again, Tony
    or
    Fiat – Fvcked In A Tick
    Lotus – Loads Of Trouble Usually Serious

    Ok that last one is very old…

  • avatar
    Rollmo

    SAAB:

    Solid as a Boulder

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    “I couldn’t even find a damned K&N drop in intake for it.”

    My thoughts exactly: No K&N, no Tornado, no decent deer whistles, no Ebay chip mods, nothing.

    What’s the point of buying a car if you can’t pimp it out w/aftermarket junk?

  • avatar
    chronoguy

    stimpy on October 24th, 2007 at 4:02 on wrote”
    I defy anyone to drive a 9-3 and an A4 back to back, for example, and come away thinking the Saab the better car. “

    Well, we just bought a 07 SPORTCOMBI wagon so I’ll comment on this thread..

    I tested all the cars. Passat, a4, a3 wagons.

    The a4 may be a better driver car but the Saab was the best deal out there.

    It had the biggest cargo volume, highest MPG, and highest safety scores.
    This was terribly important for my wife who is several months pregnant. Cargo volume alone was the deciding factor.

    At $25K (after rebates/discounts), nonething touched it. You can’t get an Accord or Camry that had all the luxury trimmings – xeons, leather, real wood, real aluminum trim (some cheap plastics), powered seats, 17″ alloy wheels, 210 HP engine for that price.

    Our dealer took in our old Saab for what we practically paid for. The old car was banged up and needed body work damages yet they were so desperate for sale that they took it in.
    I never had a resale experience like that before. Imagine driving a car for 1 1/2 years with 12K miles and $2,000 worth of body damage. The dealer offers you $1,000 less than what you originally paid for. That is freaking insane.

    GM ownership is a good thing. If we drive this car for 2-3 years and can get $16K for it in 2009, I’m all for it and will pick up another Saab.

    I’m not keen on its styling or looks but I now understand the “sabbness” The drive is acceptable.

    But hey, I will have my 1st child and the IHS top rating for Saab is more important to me than feel, soul or whatever. I’d pick the

    Audi if I was single and childless.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • whynotaztec: I owned a body shop in Mass for several years and saw lots of rust of course. I would usually turn these...
  • Nick_515: I did it on my latest car. Showed private seller proof of insurance for the car on my name, a copy of my...
  • DenverMike: You have to play to play. Entire industries are immune from prosecution and “officials” are...
  • thelaine: Ruggles!!!
  • cimarron typeR: So you’re saying you won’t give 5 stars on the survey i’m emailing you?

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States