It is very tempting to buy a new Saab right now. There are some very good discounts offered and this may be the last opportunity to buy a brand new Saab. The website cars.com shows there are 599 new Saabs available at the time of this writing. And there are probably more available at dealers which do not advertise their Saabs on this website. There are also many slightly used 2011 models available.
There are about 900 new Saabs being stored at 3 sea ports
and it is still unknown what is going to happen with those. Once these are being released to the consumer market, it is possible to see additional discounts. Some of these 2011 Saabs are almost 2 years old now so you would think Saab dealers would very much like to get rid of their remaining inventory. Many of these unsold Saabs are sitting outside exposed to the elements.
An Automotive News article
describes the situation of Saab of Troy, Michigan which is the largest Saab dealer in the nation. They had about 60 new Saabs in stock in December of last year. I drove by there a couple of weeks ago and found many new Saabs still sitting at their storage lot and at their dealership. All were heavily discounted from 10K to 13K below MSRP. It seems they have been selling some because their inventory now shows only 29 in stock. A month ago, it was about 38.
There have not been many fire sales and discounts seem to be steady at about 35%. Perhaps some dealers simply can not take much more loss or they are waiting it out and may sell them over time. Some dealers started to discount their Saabs at the end of the 2011 model year so they would be ahead of the problems some dealers are facing now.
Saab 9-5 with $13K discount off MSRP
If you are considering buying a new Saab right now, there are a few things to keep in mind.
No official Saab warranty
All new Saabs are sold as-is with no warranty provided by the manufacturer. While Saab Cars North America officially still exists, there are not many employees left at the headquarters in Royal Oak. Some dealers are offering aftermarket warranties which cost about $2,000 - $2,500. The can either absorb that cost or offer these warranties to the customers and they will need to pay. A warranty is like insurance and the customer has to weigh the risks against the benefits.
Saab Parts AB is establishing a subsidiary company
in North America with the intention of fulfilling the parts and technical services needs of North American customers. At this moment, parts supply still seems pretty good, even though prices of many parts have risen substantially. Other parts are still on back-order in the US. Saab Parts AB reached an agreement to use Saab's press and body shop to make new body parts so that is positive news.
The parts supply for the Saab 9-3 and first generation 9-5 seems to be pretty safe. One argument is GM has to supply parts for models sold when they still owned the company. The other is these models were sold in large numbers so many customers provide a good level of demand. But the question is if the second generation 2010-2011 9-5 and 2011 9-4X will be equally supported as well? About 600 9-4X were made and the question remains if GM is going to supply any parts at all. Most technical components are identical as found on the SRX but body panels, trim, lights and interior are very different.
Without any company supporting the brand, who is going to investigate and take care of new recalls? I am sure GM is responsible for <=2009 Saabs but there is no support for the 2010 and 2011 models.
Service and repairs
Saab dealers are disappearing but many service locations are being integrated with existing or other dealerships. However, some stand-alone dealerships like Saab of Lakeside in Michigan have been closed altogether. Without new Saabs being made and sold in the future, it is understandable the number of official service locations will decrease in size.
Newer Saabs rely on Tech2
and other diagnostic systems and require subscriptions for the most recent data. Technical data and repair information used to be supplied on CDs but they have been changing over to online subscriptions in the last few years. It is unsure what will happen with the ability of service locations to access this data in the future. Hopefully, Saab Parts AB will play an important role in this as well.
Many new cars still in stock at Saab of Troy, Michigan
Saab Cars North America used to have a team of technical advisers who assisted Saab dealer technicians with more detailed assistance for any difficult technical issues. Obviously, these people are gone now so that may become a problem in the future as well.
Time to buy?
It would be safe to wait a little longer until there is more definite information available about the parts situation in the US. And especially for models like the 9-4X and 9-5 if you are interested in those. As the title suggests, this may be your last chance to buy a brand new Saab. The discounts are great and enjoyment of a brand new Saab will last for many years so the risks may be well worth it for many potential buyers.
Did I miss any important information? Would you buy a new Saab for the right price after the Saab bankruptcy? Let's hear your opinion.
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