Saab 9-3

The woes of at least one of America’s car giants is not limited just to the American mainland. Back in 1990 General Motors bought a 50% share in the Swedish car manufacturer Saab for $1 billion with a total cost to the company coming in at $4 billion.

Obviously General Motors lacks the Midas Touch so it should come as no surprise that in the last 15 years Saab has failed to turn a profit on 14 occasions.

So what is wrong with Saab? Well since 1990 here in Australia Saab seems to have moved upmarket and these days Saabs are not as common on our streets as they once were. On the other hand if you drive in any of the major capital cities and regional centres you will often find yourself behind a bus that was built by Scania – Saab’s trucking arm.

There has been some suggestions that General Motors should give Saab the chop but then, from Holden’s point of view, that would not be such a good idea. Many Saab’s around the world are powered by a Holden motor but that doesn’t mean that Saab’s are cheaper here than anywhere else.

In fact even the entry level Saab – the 9-3 Linear Sports sedan kicks off at $A39,900 and for that price you only get a basic car.

Saab 9-3 sedan

Included in the basic car are:

Electronic Stability Program (traction control by another name)

Roof rail airbag – side curtain airbags for front and rear passengers

ReAxs – passive rear steer

Cruise Control

Automatic Climate Control

Heated front seats

Rain sensor – that turns your wipers on if you don’t notice that it’s actually raining outside

To that you can add:

Leather trim and 16 inch alloy wheels for an extra $3000

Bi-Xenon headlamps with automatic levelling $1500

Body coloured bumper and side skirts $1000

Color-matched door handles $490

Intergrated front fog lamps $500

Saab Sentronic automatic 5 speed transmission $2100

Sport Chassis – that supports a more active driving style $500

Dark walnut or red walnut veneer trim $750

Saab Infotainment system (Premium 150) $500 or

Saab Infotainment (Prestige 300) $1000

6 disc in-dash CD Player $750

Intergrated telephone $1000 (hands-free preparation for mobile phone is standard)

Auto-dimming inner mirror $320

Electrically adjustable driver’s seat $1250

Electrically operated glass sun roof $2000

Saab Park Assist $750

Saab Anti-theft Protection Alarm $750

And now you are beginning to see why there aren’t too many Saab’s on Australian streets.

Plus would you like to drive a car with a dashboard that looks like this?

Saab 9-3 dash

Every one of those buttons is a distraction and an accident waiting to happen.

You will find a road test of the Saab 9-3 Linear Convertible here – but note that the starting price for the convertible is way above that of the entry level sedan. If you want the convertible then you are going to be paying $64,900 just to get started.


Saab 9-3
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