I’ve made a point of discussing how long it takes me to pick new vehicles. It’s the thing I’m most particular about. Crazy particular. So, this post is PARTICULARLY painful because… I FINALLY FOUND MY NEXT VEHICLE AND I CAN’T GET IT!

The vehicle I’ve chosen is the Saab 9-4x. Keep your comments to yourself until I’m finished saying what I need to say. Here are my acknowledgements upfront:

Saab is a car company two steps from extinction. I know that. Thank Youuuu.
Saab’s are not the most reliable vehicles. I currently drive a Land Rover, I’m in no position to pass judgement on reliability.
Saabs are odd looking. I don’t care, I like the way they look

Back in the late 80’s, I went to a VW Saab dealership to test drive a GTI and a 900S Turbo. The Saab drove like a bucket of bolts and the GTI was awesome. The Saab felt like tin and the GTI felt like a tank – solid. The salesperson actually said to me, “You’re better off getting the GTI – We have a lot of problems with the Saabs.”

At the time, I drove a Toyota, so, I wasn’t on-board with high-maintenance cars. AND, there was no such thing as bumper-to-bumper warranties or free scheduled maintenance back then. So, I actually skipped both of them. But, I never forgot either…

Eventually, I did get a GTI, had it for 5 years, loved it, but, had HUGE problems with VW Corporate. Stay tuned for a full treatment on my VW experience in a future post. Gonna be brutal… But, this post is supposed to be about this damn Saab I want now.

The short of this is when I find something I love, I tend to lust over it until I get it. I did that with the Land Rover and now, I’m trying to end my unrequited fate with Saab. One problem… Saab corporate is really screwed up!

The good of it: The 9-4x is a really well designed vehicle. It’s very much like the Volvo XC60 that I drove in that it’s the perfect combination of SUV features. It’s compact but utilitarian… The suspension is nice and tight, so, it has really sporty handling… It has a beautiful panoramic moonroof and a pretty user friendly dashboard. The only difference is, it’s got a more accurate price. They are my #1 and #2.

Saab’s also been successful in removing the GM-ness from their vehicles. They appear to have gotten back to the original look and feel of Saab before GM tried to turn them into GMC trucks and Buicks. Now they just need to get on about the business of rebuilding the brand. This is where the struggle currently exists.

The bad of it: Nobody wants to buy a Saab. Consumers have no confidence in Saab. The 9-4x was introduced in July, 2011 and I haven’t seen a single one on the road yet. Saab is neither offering decent financing deals nor decent discounts on the vehicles. That would be fine if you had a brand that was in high demand, but, independent of their small legion of loyal followers, there’s nothing good surrounding this brand right now. I still want one.

Every person I’ve told I want this vehicle has asked me if I’m out of my mind. In addition to the actual vehicle being one of the best offerings from Saab I’ve ever seen, I just don’t want to see the brand go away. I’m willing to be an ambassador for the brand, but, I need a little help from SAAB to get the confidence back.

I went through this with my Land Rover as well. The company was convinced that the masses would be storming the dealerships to get their newest ute and it didn’t happen. When they introduced mine in April, my quotes for a lease were outrageous. Six months later, I drove off the lot for $150 a month less. They were glad to give me the keys just to get one more on the road for other drivers to see. That’s the only way Saab gets this problem solved as well. I hope they get the hint sooner than later…

So, this go-round, vehicle shopping only took me 6 months to find THE ONE… Now let’s see how long it takes me to actually get it.