Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Difference

The main thing that struck me with my 99E was that it was so different to anything else on the road. I like different. Ever since I could afford to choose, I’ve always tried to buy ‘different’ and Saab fit that mold like a hand in a glove.

What hooked me in about Saab
I completely understand Swade's point of view. I don't know why, but I've always liked driving a car dissimilar to everything else on the road. For me, it's not an image thing. It's just not wanting to look like everybody else. Of course, that would backfire if older Saabs or Jaguars became popular again.

When I was attending college in northern Wisconsin, I wore my Ohio State Buckeyes sweatshirt quite often. I stuck out like a sore thumb so near to Michigan. But after returning to Ohio in 2000, I encountered many Buckeyes fans. Being a Buckeyes fan wasn't quite as "different" anymore. I'm still a fan, but the excitement involved with sticking out like a sore thumb kinda wore off in Buckeye land.

The same became true of Saabs for me after six years of owning them. As fun as it had been, I began to see a blind loyalty to the brand despite some obvious flaws. That turned me off. Then when Shaker Saab moved to Brookpark, something changed. Perhaps it was the fact that my favorite service adviser moved to another dealership. I'm not sure. But it just wasn't the same anymore. Finally, when the speedometer of the 900T refused to allow me to repair it, I gave up. After owning three Classic 900s it was time to move on.

Saab has made some interesting cars. But if they are going to make it in the future, they will have to design cars that are different again. I don't know if that will be a possibility or not. The Aero X and 9x prototypes seem to indicate a certain degree of "differentness." But until those design cues hit the showroom floor, it just won't be the same. As someone once said, "If you wanna make a difference, you gotta go ahead and be a little different."

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