By on July 17, 2015

9-4x

Every automotive enthusiast has an opinion when it comes to car buying and many are quick to point to an orphan car for a good deal. While some orphan cars are a bargain for their genre, maintaining some of them can be an exercise in futility. Internet commenters and forum aficionados are quick to defend their recommendations and point to some parts law that supposedly forces manufacturers to provide parts for 10 or 20 years after they kill a model, but no such law exists. While there are laws like the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that provide some protection in certain situations, it’s nowhere near the 10-year mark.

According to the FTC, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act provides rules on warranties for all consumer products, and in the automotive world it forces automakers that provide warranties to produce parts for the term of the vehicle warranty. In some cases this can be as short as 3 years after the sale of the last model. Once that term is up, they do not have any further obligations to the consumer. The entity providing the warranty can also choose to stop manufacturing parts before the warranty expires, but in that case they may be liable to replace the product or provide a refund.

The other piece of the warranty puzzle is emissions coverage that is mandated by the EPA that provides for 2 years of coverage for any emissions performance issues and 8 years of coverage for any defect related to the emissions system. While this coverage is notably longer than the usual powertrain warranty, it does not necessitate that the manufacturer must provide parts or service. It only states that they must cover the cost of any required repair.

I tend to buy cars out of the ordinary and currently own an orphan car in the form of a Saturn Vue Hybrid. I approached the purchase by researching parts availability and volume of sales. I found that there was a great deal of parts available as many of the steering and suspension components were shared with its GM Theta platform siblings, while the engine and hybrid system was shared with the Chevy Malibu Eco. I also checked Good Car Bad Car and found that there were about 113,000 units sold in the second-generation body style so I knew that body parts would be plentiful at junkyards if I could not locate new ones. I was able to negotiate a great price on the CUV since many buyers were afraid of the orphaned car and have successfully acquired parts for the few times it needed repairs and maintenance since.

Saab is another orphan brand that went through the hands of GM and I am happy to recommend some of their last models such as the 9-3, which has decent parts availability and shares many of its components with other GM models like the Buick LaCrosse. There is one Saab model that you should run far away from mostly because of its low volume but also because there is not an entity that is currently responsible for it. The Saab 9-4X rides on the premium version of the Theta platform that underpins my Saturn and shares the most parts with the Cadillac SRX that was built alongside the 9-4X in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. The 9-4X is something of an oxymoron as it has become somewhat of an enthusiast CUV due to it limited production which amounted to just 457 units. While the 9-4X is more rare than a LaFerrari it will be hard pressed to gain any value in the future.

srx2

Saab models prior to 2010 were built under GM ownership and are covered for any remaining warranty and recalls through them, the 9-4X was built under Spyker ownership and no longer has representation in the US. According to a statement from the NHTSA, if a company has no assets or funds to pay for work then recalls would not be completed. The same stays true for warranties. If there is not a company to pay for the charges, then the warranty is void. This can be seen quite clearly when comparing recalls of the SRX and 9-4X. The SRX has received five recalls, and from what I can tell, four of those recalls cover the same parts that are used in the 9-4X, but only one shows the 9-4X as part of the recall. I am not sure how even that one came to include the 9-4X, but it may be due to the safety factor of the recall and some sort of clause in one of the bankruptcy agreement.

While some potential owners might take the risk and maintain the cars themselves, problems have already popped up and part shortages abound. One of the most common issues is the windshield. The 9-4X uses a different windshield than the SRX, and to make matters even more complicated, it was offered with an optional rain-sensing feature. Once owners started to break windshields, they found that there were few available to purchase. Standard windshields were the only ones initially available so owners took those by default and the ones that downgraded from the rain-sensing windshield lost their intermittent wiper feature. Some rain-sensing windshield have become available from Saab Automobile Parts North America which is now known as Orio North America but those were quickly snapped up. I checked a few well known Saab parts dealers and see none in stock at this time.

Orio has been working hard to stock up on many parts and even sent Sajeev a nice description of what’s available, but the low production numbers of the 9-4X still cause issues. They also offer a warranty for the 9-4X and other models through their Saab Secure program which starts at around $1,900 for a 3-year plan, but owners still commonly wait 6-8 weeks for certain parts and live with not having some parts at all. The 9-4X has shown lots of problems that go along with a first-year model including a common problem of water leaks in the passenger foot well.  Many owners have experienced the issue and luckily parts are available for repair, but others in the future may not be as lucky.

Orphan cars can be a bargain if the research is done properly, but many times they can be a nightmare when part shortages arise. While many of these cars can be reliable and last for a long time, some are already showing quality issues and the faded Saab badge is becoming common like in the the 9-7X that Jack spotted a few years ago. The badge can be easily replaced but what lurks beneath may be a costlier endeavor.

[Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org and qJake/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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97 Comments on “Orphan Cars And The 10 Year Parts Myth...”


  • avatar

    I’d buy a Subaru Outback long before I’d buy a SAAB anything.

  • avatar
    7402

    I think the trick with orphan cars is to buy something relatively high-volume so there will be used-parts pickings.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I actually saw a 9-4x about 2 months ago, my first thought, “when did Saab get back in bussiness and start making compact CUVs?”. Looking it up I found how extremely rare it was, very interesting.

    I don’t have too much problems with parts, with the exception on the H2 being Door panels that can go for $800 a piece if somehow someone has a new one, front differential which is a 9.25 but with different mounting positions to account for the full-time AWD. The steering and heavy bits on the H2 are used from 3/4 ton trucks which means it’s all pretty availible. AM General can still basically get me any parts for the H1s, and the H3T is almost too risky to drive. There are 0 beds availible, basically if the bed of the truck gets destroyed, the truck is totaled. Also, the H3/T doesn’t really share very many suspension and steering parts with anything but it’s all still made well enough.

  • avatar

    Today I learned that there WAS a SAAB srx variant. I was invited to a clinic where they showed us a sample of a sob branded but clearly Cadillac looking sport-utility and asked us to critique the design inside and out I was selected as someone who had recently purchased a new BMW so clearly they were going at that demographic. This was back in 04

  • avatar
    roverv8i

    Also, Some cars are almost fully badge changes. For instance a Pontiac Vibe is probably 98% a Toyota Matrix. I think the only changes outside the emblems were the front and rear clips and a few options like leather seats. So, as long as you don’t wreck ether end you can get all the parts from Toyota if needed. In fact there was another article on this site about such cars and in the case of this one Toyota even sold a variant in Japan that used the Pontiac body parts.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice piece, I enjoyed it.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    If there is a demand for a part, someone will make it. The newest Corvair is almost 50 years old, no problem getting most parts. Many are reproduced and unique to Corvairs. Reproduced speedo cable for 1965-69, no problem. Clark’s Corvair Parts lists over 10,000 parts. I would or would no buy an “orphan” car based on if it’s a good car or not.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      I kind of agree with you, but today is the golden time for Corvair ownership. I was around in the 70s and 80s when there were very few parts available except the most common. There was a period of more than ten years when van rear wheel bearings were unavailable by any means whatsoever and you either tried to adapt industrial bearings that didn’t work for the purpose, or you bought up used bearing/axle sets and hoped the rollers and races weren’t trashed. Most of the orphan makes described above are now entering that period of neglect. Only some of them will exit that period as cars that are supported; the others will go the way of Hupmobile and Kaiser.

      The Corvair community is unbelievably fortunate to have Cal Clark, who has basically made it his life’s work to keep these cars on the road. I think any orphan car, to stay viable, is going to need someone like that. Had there never been a Cal Clark, the Corvair probably would no longer be a viable proposition. And the Corvair was made in quite large volumes, for ten years, and it’s a relatively inexpensive and simple car compared to something built in the 2000s. (Most Corvair components can be reproduced without needing a semiconductor fab or PROM circuit programming skills.) Thus Clark’s can actually make money. Imagine something like a Saab CUV put together out of parts from other defunct automakers/divisions, and what, maybe 20,000 of them built? Not gonna happen, in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        I just pray that of the 72000 second generation Olds Auroras produced (about 40% 4.0 liters) there will be enough around for a few years to pick parts from. There were a lot of shared parts among the K, H and G bodies but the 4.0 L47 V8 was it’s own animal. As was the body, interior, and most of the suspension.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Wasn’t the 4.0 a “Shortstar” and used in the Bonneville SSE as well?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Isn’t the Shortstar the 3.5L LX5 V6?

            That was an Aurora and Intrigue only affair. The L47 V8 was only used on the Aurora.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            >Isn’t the Shortstar the 3.5L LX5 V6?

            Yes.

            >Wasn’t the 4.0 a “Shortstar” and used in the Bonneville SSE as well

            No, “Oldsmobile only”

            “Oldsmobile only”

            The Bonnie GXP had a 4.6L N*

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol. If you told me in 2003, hey here’s this Aurora and it has a model-specific V8. Or last year had a V8 or an uncommon V6, I’d have chose the V6 from the prior year.

            Or a different car from GM most likely.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Well, come to think of it, the Shelby Series I used a 4.0L Aurora motor too.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yeah, the Series I had the 4.0L and GM used it in Indy Cars for a short time and in the TERRIBLE Northstar LMP Le Mans cars.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            When will your lies stop about this “Only Olds” engine!?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Because ain’t no one buy that engine in anything else. Shelby made like 250 Series 1s and no one is buying an IndyCar or LMP.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            High volume!

            But seriously, people who know things about how GM works and has worked since 1970 shouldn’t purchase a model-only engine from them.

            Puts the Aurora 4.0 right up there with the Catera.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Hey man, at least the Aurora was cool. GM also put that dumpster fire English V6 from the Catera into the L-series and Vue. They must have truly hated Saturn. Them they redesigned it and put it in the CTS so more people could hate GM.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh right, that 3.0 V6. I didn’t know until just now it was from the Catera, however. Not long ago, a guy here was checking out CTS’s (against my recommendation), and decided a 3.0L AWD one was a good plan.

            My advice to him then was, “Don’t go with an engine GM only used for a couple years. There’s a reason they got rid of it so quickly.”

            Did he listen? Hell naw. And he paid the extra $ because it’s CPO. Silver over black and those silly multi-spoke wheels. Ugh.

            These wheels, which looked cool around 08. http://1-photos.ebizautos.com/used-2012-cadillac-cts_sedan-4drsedan30lrwd-11859-13812931-1-640.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            GM was incredibly foolish to create an entire Oldsmobile specific iteration of the Northstar even if some components were shared (such as the alum block). If they wanted to go the “Olds exclusive” route they could have just used the LD8 Northstar which already existed, detuned it slightly, and called it the Aurora 4.5.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well. It was especially stupid because GM had our Lord and savior 3800 laying around and the LS engine showed up a couple years later.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Well, obviously the correct choice is always 3800 but from what I read they were trying to turn Oldsmobile into an import fighter. In GM-mindspeak, import = ohc. I think at the time the only v6 or better OHC engines GM had available were the LQ1 V6 and the Northstar, both were not your friend.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Come on, throw the 3800SC from the Ultra in there, and call it a day. Better engine, save more moneys, more Auroras still on road today.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            In GM speak, import fighter = dead brand walking

            Oldsmobile – DEAD
            Saturn – DEAD
            Pontiac? – DEAD
            Cadillac – ALIVE, but things aren’t going swimmingly

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Pontiac wasn’t a import fighter, and Cadillac should already be dead. The reason its not, other than 900 dealers, is because GM in theory can squeeze more margin out of a Cadillac than and Olds or Buick.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I only included Pontiac because they made a big deal about the G8 vs the M5 back in the day.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      I actually saw two Corvairs driving around in Munich last month (in separate areas of town). Zero saabs :)

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      …..If there is a demand for a part, someone will make it…

      Not always. Take for example the brake controller module for C5 Corvettes. Not an orphan brand, but hampered by limited volume of sales and the fact that the part is not shared with other Chevrolet models. There are no OEM parts available anymore and reproducing 90s era electronics is no easy feat. GM was willing to offer the original design to any aftermarket supplier but no takers. Demand is high enough that folks are paying upwards of $1k for used modules. This is the kind of thing that will cause many an old car to be sidelined. Maybe if the part would fit a few million models…

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        Similar problem with the DEW98 cars – Lincoln LS, Jaguar S Type and Ford Thunderbird. Front lighting control module. Zero new stock, cars cannot function without it (front lights and dash lights will not work), semi common failure, and Ford estimates 7 months to 17 years for new production IF they can get a manufacturer to take up production.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Factory suspension parts for MN12 cars also seem to be basically impossible to find. My mechanic had to weld together a broken subframe connector because Ford doesn’t make new ones.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Start hoarding those obscure parts now. Even if they’re already commanding $1,000+. I went to the dealer around ’96 and bit the bullet on new headlight assy’s for the SVO, and while they weren’t terribly cheap, I knew they weren’t going to be re-popped by the aftermarket.

      I bought 2 complete sets, lefts and rights of ‘85.5+ headlights and turn signals as they’re the most likely parts to get damaged or just plain ugly over time. Reconditioning them just isn’t the same. I’ve turned down offers of $1,200+ a set. But while I was there I got a new bi-plane spoiler (’86). The original matte-grey finish is impossible to retouch or refinish.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    You can get a whole lot of 9-3 for under 12 grand… I’ve been heavily pondering this for next year instead of the more risk averse (and twice the price) Infinitis and Acuras of the same model years (2010+)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    @kvndoom

    Let me help you:

    MY09 Saab 9-3 FWD I4 Sedan Touring

    03/16/15 DFW Regular $2,100 82,846 Below GREY 4G A No
    03/19/15 PHOENIX Lease $5,400 84,309 Above BLACK 4G A Yes
    03/03/15 NYMETSKY Lease $5,200 85,887 Above BLACK 4G A Yes
    04/30/15 DFW Regular $4,800 87,646 Above BLACK 4G A Yes
    04/15/15 DALLAS Lease $4,200 93,430 Avg BLACK 4G A Yes
    07/01/15 PITTSBGH Regular $4,000 117,622 Avg SILVER 4G A Yes

    MY09 Saab 9-3 FWD V6 Convertible Aero

    03/11/15 MILWAUKE Regular $19,800 21,652 Avg YELLOW 6GT A No
    01/22/14 MILWAUKE Regular $14,800 28,115 Avg BLACK 6GT A No
    08/28/14 FRDKBURG Regular $15,800 34,791 Avg BLUE 6GT A No
    09/12/13 PA Regular $17,800 41,807 Avg WHITE 6GT A No
    05/28/14 DALLAS Regular $15,600 46,364 Avg RED 6GT 6 No
    09/10/14 NEW MEX Regular $13,500 50,354 Avg GRAY 6GT A No
    06/04/14 NJ Regular $13,400 86,361 Avg WHITE 6GT A No
    02/27/15 PA Regular $8,800 107,228 Avg WHITE 6GT P No

    MY09 Saab 9-3 AWD I4 Sedan

    07/18/13 PA Regular $15,500 30,160 Avg SILVER 4G P No
    06/10/14 OHIO Regular $12,500 30,478 Avg SILVER 4G A No
    07/03/14 ST PETE Regular $7,700 47,535 Avg BLACK 4GT 6 No
    07/18/14 PA Regular $10,700 52,313 Avg GRAY 4G A No
    04/30/14 PITTSBGH Regular $11,500 54,129 Avg WHITE 4G A No
    01/15/14 MILWAUKE Regular $11,700 57,739 Avg GRAY 4G A No
    01/23/14 ATLANTA Lease $9,800 57,834 Avg BLACK 4G A No
    02/19/14 NJ Regular $9,000 59,064 Avg LT.GREEN 4G A No
    03/31/14 PA Regular $9,999 59,955 Avg Blue 4CY M No
    10/03/14 PA Regular $9,800 67,777 Avg WHITE 4G A No
    03/06/14 PA Regular $8,700 74,845 Avg GREEN 4G P No
    07/02/15 NYMETSKY Regular $8,400 76,703 Avg SILV 4G A No
    12/13/13 PA Regular $6,300 102,340 Avg GREY 4G A No
    09/26/13 CINCINNA Regular $6,800 104,923 Avg BLACK 4G A No
    05/28/14 NJ Regular $7,900 106,233 Avg GREY 4G No

    MY09 Saab 9-3 AWD V6 Sedan Aero

    01/21/14 BALTWASH Lease $13,000 32,592 Avg GRAY 6GT A No
    02/05/14 SF BAY Regular $12,500 37,692 Avg GREY 6GT A No
    03/18/14 BALTWASH Regular $12,000 39,033 Avg BLUE 6GT A No
    04/16/14 DALLAS Regular $9,100 57,182 Avg BLACK 6GT A No
    06/05/14 FRDKBURG Regular $11,100 65,046 Avg GREY 6GT A No
    01/03/14 PA Regular $12,700 65,549 Avg BLACK 6GT P No
    01/15/15 DFW Regular $7,400 67,095 Avg BLACK 6GT A No
    09/05/14 PA Regular $12,100 75,090 Avg GREY 6GT P No
    10/29/14 DALLAS Regular $8,000 76,073 Avg GREY 6GT A No
    11/13/14 PALM BCH Regular $9,300 79,861 Avg SILVER 6GT A No
    12/02/14 ORLANDO Regular $10,900 79,863 Avg SILVER 6GT A No
    01/29/14 CEN FLA Regular $9,900 80,832 Avg BLUE 6GT A No
    02/13/14 ST PETE Regular $11,550 81,523 Avg Blue 6CY A No
    02/27/14 ST PETE Regular $8,000 91,307 Avg BLACK 6GT A No
    04/15/15 MILWAUKE Regular $7,700 97,170 Avg BLUE 6GT No
    08/26/14 NYMETSKY Regular $6,400 100,054 Avg SILVER 6GT A No

    The base I4 sedan is near worthless in FWD, but the AWD I4 trades fairly high for “what it is” so to speak. The V6 evidently was only available in Aero trim and trades fairly high, esp the convertible which surprises me a bit (although CONVs typically trade at a 20% premium to the non CONVs). Since the AWD models number much higher I am guessing most of them were sold with AWD in MY09, but if you must have a Saab from the period I suggest you seek out a base I4 for peanuts.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Wow that’s amazing! Base trim works fine for me because it’s still pretty loaded… leather, sunroof, cruise, double-DIN radio. I hope by spring I have everything in place to jump on one of those.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I’d be really nervous about buying a car with that turbo V6. A finicky and not very satisfying engine. So I think base trim with the four is a good choice.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Good luck to you in that endeavor, it seems those are harder to find than the AWD iteration.

        • 0 avatar

          Looking at those MMR reports makes me want to get a 9-3. I have been considering them as a possible replacement for my daily driver Cadillac STS along with a few other cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            My advice is to avoid AWD because it triples the cost in some cases (and who wants AWD on a FWD intended model? JMO).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            And the AWD will just make that model more likely to break (than it already is) and have more weight and special bits which are no longer made. I’m firmly in the avoid-AWD camp on the 9-3.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    Yikes, I owned two Saabs back when they were still a going concern, and they were hard enough to service even back then.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Very dependent on where you live. I have multiples of Saab Indies within 10 miles of my house in Maine, plus the former dealer. Easier to get a Saab serviced in Maine than an Acura, by far. If you live somewhere in the flyover states, good luck.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. I never had issues having my SAAB fixed, the only issues were *having to have the SAAB fixed*. I had a 900T Classic and a 9-3 turbo, 1/2 GM. The 9-3 was sold “around” and I’ve seen it on the third owner. It wasn’t the car the 900T Classic was, though.

        Still, I’d rather do late model 9-3 for a college kid car (safe ! Not too much motor !) Good catch.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Having owned Saabs from vintage 1969 to 2008, the newer, the better. GM may have starved Saab of development funds, but they did teach them how to build fundamentally better cars.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I do love 9-7X just because it was some of GMs most blatant trolling. If it weren’t for the extreme cheapness the interiors of all the Trollblazers exhibit I would have sought one out when car shopping.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    G8 owners are finding a mixed bag on parts. Mechanical parts are pretty easy to get – a lot is shared with the Caprice PPV and a number of SS parts are interchangeable. Parts for the engine, tranny, and rear end are shared with the Camaro and CTS-V (a combination there of). The 6.0L L76 is a Frankenmotor with LS2 block, L92 heads and LS3 intake and manifold – all readily available.

    Body parts on the other hand – already an issue. Very expensive and long waits. Very lightly damaged G8s are instant totals because the sheet metal is so costly.

    I can’t image what Chevy SS owners will go through in a few years for body panels and interior bits which are unique to their car.

    I wouldn’t touch an orphan Saab.

    The weatherbeater Saturn minivan was bought on purpose as an orphan because it was cheap, and the GM 3.5L with the 4-speed auto is basically bullet proof. Coarse, rough, noisy, wheezy, but bullet proof. The tranny and engine parts no big deal – but some accessory parts are already made of pure unobtanium.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      No mention here of the 9-5, which has a good deal of the bespoke about it and sold in tiny numbers. I’d be less scared of a 9-4x, since I’m pretty sure everything mechanical was shared with the first year SRX, before Cadillac rationalized the drivetrain offerings and stuck Saab with the leftovers.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Assume you mean the “new” 9-5, 2011-2012? They made 11280 of them, which is small numbers, but one heck of a lot more than the 457 9-4Xs. Mechanically they are fundamentally Opels/Buick Regals. A lot more spares of the unique parts were made, since they were in production for a year, vs. a few weeks for the 9-4x. I know a couple people who own them, there are some hard to get body parts but nothing like the issues with the CUV.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I didn’t know you could get a Regal with AWD and a turbocharged V6. The body and trim parts of the 9-4x can cause headaches and total losses, but mechanically I think the CUV is safe. The 2010 SRX was available with the exact same crummy engines as the Saab.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            You could get that config with an Opel badge – same car, different grill and badge. The mechanicals of the 9-5 are just as common as those of the 9-4X. It’s all GM parts bin.

            Personally, I would be more worried about the unique electronics than either body panels or trim bits. But at $.25 on the dollar or less, probably worth a risk if you like the car. Not my cup of tea, since they never got the Combi into production. And the lack of rear headroom was ridiculous for such a tank of a car – a problem fixed in the Combi.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    There is only one solution:

    Gather up all 457 9-4s and restage the climactic chase scene from “The Road Warrior.”

    Blaze of glory, baby…blaze of glory…

  • avatar
    dolorean

    I, like you, had and love my Saturn Astra XR 5 door that I drove for six years before stupidly selling it before coming to Germany (ironically buying a ’99 Opel Astra G 5 door once I got here…..oh Hindsight, you so silly). It was a bit of a PITA when it came to maintenance as the 1.8L ECOTEC wasn’t exactly a known motor as it came straight from Belgium. Add to it the suspension bits et al had to be special ordered and I could never find parts in a junk yard for it. I thought for sure it would never sell, but I put it a thousand over what Kelly’s told me I could and within a day I had a 24 year old single mom begging her father to help her buy it. She had no idea how to drive a 5 spd but couldn’t wait to learn. They didn’t even bother to haggle.

    Miss that car.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I always laugh when I see some internet pundit suggest a Saab as a Good Used Car Deal.

    Yeah, it’s a great deal, and you are often getting a pretty good car for your money up until the first moment you need a part that you or your mechanic are going to have to start calling junkyards and trolling eBay to round up.

    Obviously this is more of a problem for some Saab’s than others. (i.e., the SUV mentioned in this article and the Saaburu should be a better bet than a “home-grown” model, but all of them are going to have difficult body and trim.)

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      What must be really great is when of these gets into a wreck. Finding the parts and body panels must be a bundle of fun.

    • 0 avatar
      dingram01

      Well, Saabs ARE a good used car deal if you know how to work on them yourself. 3 9000s in the driveway at home right now, in fact. When it comes to parts availability, not a problem for these models, or likely any of the 9000/9-3/9-5 models. Except, as you say, for body panels. It’s harder to find these cars than it is the parts for them.

      Obviously I’d expect a different story for the very last 9-5, along with the 9-4 profiled in the article, since these were exceptionally small production runs.

      By the way, the Saaburu is a crude, ill-mannered, horrid excuse for a Saab and only appealing to a Subaru fan. Let us not even speak of the Trollblazers. Harrumph.

  • avatar
    Matt Fink

    What are Suzuki’s like for parts? I’ve always like the Kizashi and have repeatedly thought about getting one but haven’t pulled the trigger. Should I be worried about parts?

    • 0 avatar

      A good place to start is http://car-part.com. Take a look and see how many used body panels are available. For many cars, the mechanical bits can usually be obtained but when it comes to unique body panels it can get harder to put together. My small knowledge of the Kizashi and it’s unique drivetrain leads me to believe that engine parts for it may become scarce as well

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      As the owner of a Grand Vitara, this was of interest to me when Suzuki pulled out of car sales in North America.

      – Suzuki undertook to continue to provide such support
      – the parts supply from wrecks should be proportional to the number sold
      – the Grand Vitara and other models are still sold in other markets
      – most parts that need replacing are generic products
      – as the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned, I’m not fearful of being unable to obtain, or fix, the rare failure of a proprietary part.
      – any car model not in current production has some degree of this problem.

      Friends of ours bought an ’08 Grand Vitara a year ago with no qualms about parts.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I have had a number of saabs and have a 04 9-3 vert 5speed I use as a summer car, I live in the in metro Ny with plenties of indies, and ex saab dealers so not really a issue here, I had to replace a SID ( Saab Info display) part took a day to get, so not bad, plus for me it is a second car so I just wait for when I get the Time, I would jump into another Saab if the right deal came along, and may go that route for my daughters car when her volvo wagon dies.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have a black on black 2008 Isuzu I-370 crew cab 4×4 with to package and heated leather seats which is a rebadged Colorado. Except for the grill and the name badges it is identical to the Colorado/Canyon. I bought it new and it was one of the last Isuzu’s on the dealer lot. Parts are the same as the prior Colorado/Canyon. It has been a good truck and for 10k off sticker it was a bargain.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Oh Rochester, are we having any problems finding parts for the Maxwell?

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Thanks for the article. I’ve been looking for a cheap (sub $5K) used car. Locally, this includes a lot of Saturns, Mercurys,Pontiacs, and Oldsmobiles.
    I have heard that Japanese manufacturers discontinue parts sooner than domestic when there’s a model change. Is this true or automotive urban legend?

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      As a Honda “fanboi,” my understanding is ten years after a generation’s production ends for stuff like interior trim and such; don’t know about specific engine or suspension parts, or body parts. So the 8th-Gen Accord’s (2008-2012) ticket would be up in 2022.

      Don’t know about other makes, but I know my grandmother’s ’91 Tempo’s motorized seat belts would have been worth a bit, as Ford hasn’t produced those in years, despite those cars being fairly common. (You still occasionally see a few in running condition.)

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Didn’t Maxwell become Chrysler after Walter Chrysler took over Maxwell?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, Anthony Yanik has a very good book all about that. He says that the way that Walter Chrysler used Maxwell to create the Chrysler Corp would probably be illegal today.

      Here’s a little bit of automotive trivia: One man, Benjamin Briscoe, was the financial backer of both Buick and Maxwell, so it could be said the he was responsible for starting two of the Big Three automakers. Buick was the foundation of General Motors and Maxwell became Chrysler.

  • avatar
    TheyBeRollin

    Are you sure it is a myth? I’ve heard it regularly mentioned by mechanics and parts counter people at dealerships. I could swear there was some law regarding it.

    In any case, I have also found that 10 years after the last of a model rolled off the line is pretty much the cutoff on OEM model-unique parts availability for mainstream models. Each time my DDs passed that, parts became a junkyard expedition or a game of adapting/repairing with parts from McMaster, which ultimately resulted in my swapping out the car for a new one because I couldn’t be sure I would be able to maintain it in the future.

    eBay has been a godsend for maintaining my older non-DD car, although, mysteriously, I can still get almost every OEM part (at great expense) from the manufacturer or specialty sites. The only hard parts are body parts and light assemblies.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would say that the parts being available for 10 years after a model is discontinued is a myth. I had a Mercury Lynx that was 9 years old and needed a new wiring harness, but Ford no longer had new ones available. The Lynx was a rebadged Escort so an Escort wiring harness would work. I had to pay my mechanic to piece together a new wiring harness out of old ones. I also found that true with other vehicles I have owned as well.

    Wasn’t Pontiac originally Oakland? Now Pontiac is gone.

    • 0 avatar
      Bill Wade

      A few years ago our dog chewed through the rear wiring harness on a 2004 Suburban we had. In 2007 GM did not have the part yet that model was manufactured through 2006.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Bozi: Thank you for blowing this myth out of the water. I’ve heard this same nonsense since I was 10 years old, around the time of Studebaker’s death. It wasn’t true then, it’s never been true and it isn’t true now.

    Studebaker parts are still available. Between the enthusiast base and demand reproductions have come online. But there has never been a law that required Studebaker to manufactur parts until 1976.

    Same for my 63 Valiant.I’ve gotten new replacement parts from Israel, Mexico and other places. I can get a new cheap fuel sending unit from China or better ones made elsewhere from Atlas Obsolete and other places. The alternator I bought and haven’t needed yet, was remanufactured in Oklahoma. Not many problems getting parts for a 50 year old car, but there was a dry spell in the 90s pre-internet.

    You described exactly what is and is not covered and why. The page of regulations on a .gov site re: automotive parts regulations make no mention of a 10 year requirement to produce parts for discontinued makes because there is no such law and verifies what you are saying.

    Ironic to read this as I keep my cars a long time and find parts commonality, availability and ease of service and high production #s of the car and it’s platform mates over a period of years to be a plus.

    Acquiring spares as you find them,before you need them is also a good idea as the supply of brand/model specific parts like fenders,tail lights, bits of trim etc dwindles.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I just saw a 9-4X yesterday on the beltway in Washington. A beautiful design. Getting parts for my 9-3 convertible is not hard but expensive.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Ronnie–Could you do a story on Benjamin Briscoe. Also a story on Walter Chrysler and Maxwell.

  • avatar
    InterstateNomad

    Great article!

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