By on February 19, 2018

Saab

One day, if we’re lucky, we’ll see a documentary showcasing old Saabs in their natural habitat. The slinky 9-3 plying the interstate between Burlington, Vermont and the Connecticut coast, a valiant 9000 prowling between a Denver lawyer’s office and home, and a black 900 convertible sneaking up on a rural farmers’ market.

David Attenborough will handle narration duties.

Until that time, we can draw comfort that a conservation program exists to keep this extinct brand on the road. Started last fall by the defunct automaker’s official parts supplier, the warranty program means Saab owners in the United States, Britain, and the brand’s Swedish homeland can look forward to smaller maintenance bills in the future.

How this slipped past us, we’ll never know. The “Parts for Life” initiative, launched by Orio North America (exclusive supplier of Saab Original parts) back in September, offers owners a lifetime warranty on non-wear items installed at designated Saab service centers. After having a part replaced (at cost), owners can send the bill and part number to Orio, along with their contact information, and receive an unlimited warranty on that item.

Should you require another brake master cylinder, for example, or water pump in the future, Orio has that covered. Orio North America is a subsidiary of state-owned Swedish parts and logistics company Orio AB.

SAAB 9-5 Aero Wagon, Image: Saab

The initiative aligns with Orio’s support of a Swedish nature conservancy. Endangered species, get it? While a list of eligible parts isn’t available on the Parts for Life website, a list of eligible models is. It’s not just late-model Saabs covered by the warranty — owners of everything from the first 92, launched in 1949, to the Detroit-tastic 9-7X. A noticeable (but not surprising) omission is the Subaru-built 9-2X.

Given that the majority of Saab service centers are found at dealerships, and that dealerships make most of their coin through those centers, Orio’s warranty could be a boon for retailers facing declining sales.

“It’s a low-risk, high-image thing,” IHS Markit senior analyst Stephanie Brinley told Automotive News. “It can help highlight the Saab service centers, and it can drive some business there. Saab certainly has a good fan base.”

Orio CEO Tim Colbeck said as much, claiming the initiative aims to “make the dealership the preferred choice of service.”

After declaring bankruptcy in 2011 and disappearing from the marketplace, Saab’s remaining assets were passed around like a joint at Woodstock. A Swedish attempt to keep the 9-3 in production as an electric car also ended in bankruptcy. Currently, an electric version of the Saab 9-3 is anticipated to become the “national car of Turkey.”

We’re no holding our breath.

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25 Comments on “Nothing Lasts Forever, but Your Saab Might (if You Sign on to a New Parts Warranty)...”


  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    What the big print giveth the small print taketh away.

  • avatar
    fendertweed

    I still miss my Saabs (including, foremost, my ’85 900 Turbo) but will never forgive GM for killing the brand (among a slew of other reasons to never touch a GM product — and my grandfather was a Chevy dealer in the 1940s!).

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      did you see the piece on Top Gear about the demise of Saab? seems like They were losing money for quite a while and GM tried to rein in the costs, and finally got tired of supporting a brand only bought by architects and lawyers and increasingly losing shares to BMWs.

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        And GM was really great about containing costs with their own brand of cars.

        I’m only joking, GM probably kept the brand alive longer, but I’m not against the idea GM screwed it up as well.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          It was both. Without GM, Saab would have died in the ’90s. But GM also starved Saab of funds. The 9-5 should have been replaced in 2005, not 2010. And they were barely even working on a replacement for the 9-3SS, which only became the car it should have been at launch in ’07-’08.

          Ford did much better by Volvo.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Saab’s best sales year was 2003 with the launch of the 9-3. GM took 100% control in 2000.

            I had a number of 2000’s 9-5’s and still have a 2004 Arc wagon with JZW stg4 ecu tune and 190,000 miles.

        • 0 avatar
          93vert

          GM wanted Saab for no other reason than their technology. Saab had thousands of patents that became GM’s after the purchase. They gave Saab garbage parts and expected them to compete with BMW and Audi. Saab DID. They reconfigured the lousy GM engine, gave it the performance it needed. What people don’t know about Saab is how they are built. They will hold 3x their weight on their roof before they will buckle. Any impact from an accident will be “spread” across the car to minimize damage to the car and injury. Everything Saab did was about safety. That is why they cost what they did. You were not paying for bells and whistles. You were paying for a car that will save your life. I will drive my Saabs until I no longer can get parts.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      Saab was all but dead in 1990 when GM took over.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Funny how people want to blame GM, without understanding what really happened.

    • 0 avatar
      DrSandman

      I very much miss my own 9-5. That 12yr old beauty was wonderful. Just donated it to Catholic charities on 31 December. Hopefully, some nice family will get a lifetime warranty with a babied car. If there is an Almighty, this will happen.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    “Given that the majority of Saab service centers are found at dealerships, and that dealerships make most of their coin through those centers, Orio’s warranty could be a boon for retailers facing declining sales.”

    I had to check the publish date to make sure I didn’t click on a 7 year old article.

    So…which retailers are these? Were some GM dealers also Saab dealers and thus still around?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Yes, and there are Saab Parts dealers who were never GM dealers like Portland Volvo (formerly Portland Volvo/Saab) in Portland Maine. I doubt there is any particular required connection to the former GM (Cadillac/Saab/Hummer mostly) dealers since the Saab Parts operation was spun off as a separate entity largely owned by the Swedish Crown in the bankruptcy.

      The indy parts house FCP-Groton already has a warranty like this on most parts they sell. With no need to do anything other than buy the part from them. And ultimately, it is mostly marketing puffery, as how many parts do most people replace more than once in their ownership of a car anyway?

  • avatar
    whitworth

    Anyone old enough to remember “lifetime pagers” from the 90’s? It would be a contract for life for service. Guess what? They all filed for bankruptcy shortly after selling these plans. No recourse.

    Even if the intentions are pure, you can’t trust “lifetime” on anything.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Well as a 2 Saab owner at the moment ( o4 9-3 vert and a 11 NG 9-5) I am just glad to know parts are pretty easy to get, well maybe not body parts on the 9-5. Who this really hurts is the local indie who works on Saabs. I have a Saab authorized dealer 2 miles from me so I am covered for worst case stuff but I will still us the indie more often then not.

  • avatar
    Akiva Shapero

    How much does this warranty cost?

  • avatar
    don1967

    Volvo Canada launched a similar program in 2015.

    https://www.media.volvocars.com/ca/en-ca/media/pressreleases/167805/volvo-cars-of-canada-offers-lifetime-warranty

  • avatar
    la834

    The Saab 9-3 reminds me of the modern equivalent of the Studebaker Avanti, the car that WOULDN’T GO AWAY. Not decades after the original manufacturer croaked, not even after other tiny dompanies tried reviving a car that was uncompetitive even when new. Some little companiy was always building the parts, updating the ancient Nash factory, and upgrading the parts, the faith.

    • 0 avatar
      Shortest Circuit

      Isn’t that reassuring though? That people still get passionate about cars appealing to them? They put money and time towards keeping them going despite the best efforts of the beancounters/darkgreens/gov’t trying to reduce our automotive experience to a generic bland CUV with 9 airbags?
      And I’m not even a SAAB fan. (currently building a Volvo 960 to be a T6-powered sleeper)


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