Has Saab turned a corner?

Saab 9-3 must last another year

Saab GB celebrates with sales up 73.5 per cent in Q1.

According to leading industry analysts CAP, the residual value of Saab’s top-selling model, the 9-3 1.9-litre Turbo Edition diesel Saloon, has risen over £1,000 during the last 10 months.

Jeff Knight, Monitor Editor at CAP, said: “The rise in forecast values for the Saab 9-3 over the last ten months has been driven by an increased confidence in the brand; allied to an improved product content creating a better future used car.”

Certainly, the advertising for the 9-3 119 g/km CO2 180 hp face-lifted variant has been widespread.  I have even spotted some 60 and 11 plates on the roads and having driven this car, it’s easy to see why.  That said, even with a keen eye I haven’t spotted a single new 9-5 out and about – other than the one I reviewed for Saab Driver last Autumn.

Whether this will be enough to bring Saab back onto fleet managers’ books is another matter.  Remember, even Rover values rose after their tumble with the company’s collapse once customers found bargains and determined new sources for parts and service.

Saab’s press release maintains the optimistic feel it has worked hard to maintain throughout the last couple of tough years and I too hope for success with the 9-5 SportWagon and 9-4X crossover.  Tuesday’s announcement of a €150m investment by China’s Hawtai Motor Group (in return for 29.9% of shares) should also allow some payment of debts and facilitate the ongoing development of the 9-3 replacement, due out in 2012. 

In the mean time, it’s the bread-and-butter 9-3 which must continue to keep Saab rolling.  It’s a great drive and it has emission credentials and engine performance to beat rivals.  It’s still a precarious time though; come on Saab – let’s see what the next 9-3 will look like.

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