JD Power: Saab 2nd to last in quality

Beaten out only by Land Rover.
http://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/aug2006/bw20060809_022914.htm?chan=top+news_top+news
or...
http://tinyurl.com/lghjk
...as measured by end-user reported problems.
Wouldn't it just be swell if Saab could build a high quality car? Sure as heck'd make this group a lot quieter ;-)
- tex
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Tex wrote:

http://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/aug2006/bw20060809_022914.htm?chan=top+news_top+news
JD Powers surveys are stupid. They have very little to do with actual quality and much more to do with "customers' perceptions". Read about it on their own web page: http://www.jdpower.com/global/content/ratingsguide.asp
I would say that what the results really mean is that the SAAB dealer network (in the US at least) is in trouble. They can't make their buyers happy...
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It seems like we go through this every time...so I suppose if Saab ended up at the top of the list (ie, the fewest user reported problems), it would still be worthless.
From what I've seen, other quality reports indicate similar poor quality amongst Saab models. It's harder to argue that these reports are worthless when they, using various other methodologies, report similar poor results.

Where does the dealer enter the picture? It's simply a measure of how many problems end users reports back to the dealer. While no measurement of quality will ever be perfect, it sure is a good proxy.
While I love my Saab (and 04 aero 93ss), it surely has not been because of its outstanding quality. I had to bring it back to the dealer several times to fix numerous issues with the car (actually I've been very happy with my dealer...they've bent over backwards to help with the problems).
As of late, the car has generally been much better after the repeated fixes at the dealer, the suspension is still a frequent source squeaks and squeals. The front struts have already been replaced with brand new ones once, but still produce noise. I'm considering just biting the bullet and swapping on the Konis with the H&R springs. The interior is filled with little squeaks and rattles, a further sign of poor design quality.
- tex
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Yeah, pretty much. Just like consumer reports, far as I'm concerned. A Saab buyer will complain about things that a POS econobox buyer won't. Yet the count of issues is all they look at, not the real severity of them.

Expectations vs. execution. You expect the back seat of a POSbox to rattle, so you don't complain when it does.

Again you need to balance severity of issues vs. expectations.

But again, things that a Saab owner will report, and which a, say, Kia owner, will not. Sense of perspective, that's what I'm saying. That said, I like my c900 more than anything Saab has made since.
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Wrong. If anything new has any issue, problem or unexplained quirk, the owner complains.
If nothing gets done about it, the complaint escalates.
This "people of a cheaper car don't expect the same service" argument is touted by those people who want to feel slightly smug in that they bought a dearer vehicle. It just doesn't hold the water you'd like to think.
Of my three last cars, one was the cheapest in the range (heh the highest specification model in the line up), one was a middle / lower specification and the 9-3, which is the SE, so I suppose in theory that makes it the highest standard specification of three. All as used buys though.
I have had the same expectations of all three. No rattles, always start, always stop.
Results compared with expectations? "Swings and roundabouts" as the British like to say. In some respects the Ka far outshines the Accord and the 9-3 and knocked my expectations into a cocked hat. In other ways the Accord was better than my expectations.
All three have had the odd rattle, except, the Ka had the least, then the Accord and the 9-3 has something in the glovebox that's annoying me.

Absolutely no you don't and yes you do.

Yes, this is a weakness of the project. It's unfortunate. However, by the same token, being satisfied is not disimilar to being pregnant. You are or you aren't.

I disagree. Completely.

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Your wrong is wrong. Allow me to explain. I just bought something on eBay. It arrived today. Several of the pieces are damaged, and that meets my expectation. Therefore there is no complaint.

Dude if I wanted to feel smug I wouldn't be driving a 1986 Saab 900 base model with the wheel arches rusted away. I didn't complain that the trim pieces were broken on said arches, because they _meet my expectations_.

You use "you" but I think you mean "me" because you certainly don't mean "you" as in _this_ me.

That's just silly. Satisfaction is undoubtedly an analog measurement, not a binary condition.

That's fine; you're free to be wrong. Completely. If your analogy of "almost pregnant" is as good as you can get to back up your point, you may want to reconsider it.
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If you knew that it was broken then that's fair enough, but if you were buying something described as "like new" then you *should* be disappointed and dissatisfied.
The point here is if one buys an item new, one expects it to work as new. Period. It doesn't matter if I'm buying a 3 widget designed to make chirrup noises or a 30 widget designed to make chirrup noises. One may make a much richer sound than the other but both make a chirrup noise...

Yes I know, I didn't make myself clear: I don't believe this is the case here. It's what's usually touted by my BMW or Mercedes-owning colleagues at the office, "oh, sure, you expect the odd teething problem like a broken engine, _I_ have Mercedes Benz, I expect perfection..."

"You" as in "one."

It can be both. One is or one is not. One can be slightly satisfied or very satisfied. This particular test shows the results in absolute terms. The UK questionairre gives you a choice as I recall, certainly, for earlier years.

Wrong? No, differ. On the one hand you believe the difference between right and wrong is essentially black and white but on the other, satisfied is a shade of grey..?

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Should I?

Right. But the guy who just dropped 40 grand on a car will complain about, say, the stitching in the seat back not lining up with the stitching in the seat bottom. The Kia buyer, probably not so much. I'm asking, and haven't seen any indication, how the problems are weighted relative to one another.

And all cars get you to and from work. If you're making a point I'm missing it.

OK, so it would seem that there is some agreement between everyone but you in this case.

You're making less and less sense each time. Just so you know.

Yes, you're wrong when you claim that people buying cars in different market segments, will complain about different things. As your Merc and Lexxus friends say, they expect perfection. I'm not going to complain about orangepeel on the finish of a $15K car, because you expect the paintjob not to be a 27-layer laquer hand rubbed finish. But if I drop $400K on an Austin Martin, by God, there better be no flaws in the paint. This is so blisteringly obvious I can't understand why you seem to be having trouble with it.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

Look at VAG though. As an owner, a niggle that might make you complain about in an Audi A2, you might accept "for now" in a Skoda Fabia. Maybe a creaky panel, or crackling speaker.
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[snip]

Absolutely not, though. I'd expect both to be just as robust as the other.
I don't have high expectations, just that new stuff should be just that, as new...
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Then you, sorry, are a fool.

As new in a $15K car is different than as new in a $45K car.
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I've been giving your argument some thought. Whilst, on the surface, it might make some sense, it fails in at least one critical area. Income.
On this planet things are all relative. So a bloke who spends 90% of his annual income on his car should, at least theoretically, be all the more keen to find both major and minor defects on his new car purchase. This suddenly makes it clear why people who've purchased vehicles of all prices are quick to complain about even minor problems. A poor chap who recently purchased a lowly Ford might consider that to be his prize possession because it represents such a large share of his meager income. Therefore, he will be angered to find any minor item wrong with it.
For most people, a car is certainly a major purchase, not only in terms of pure cost but the fact that they will be using it on frequent basis for years to come. Thus, most purchasers of cars of all prices will indeed be picky about their vehicle.
No offence, however, in retrospect, your argument, is almost borderline snobbish. It essentially assumes that poor people who cannot afford more expensive cars will simply make do and accept that they've been relegated to second class status. And consequently they will not pursue warranty claims, however minor the defect.
:-) - tex
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Your idealism doesn't change the fact that you get what you pay for. You will get better craftsmanship in a $45K car than you will in a $15K car. Only you, seem to find this surprising.

Great, let's go for openly hostile then. Apparently you're not getting my points, because you spout crap like this:

Don't presume to speak for me; you're barely qualified to speak for yourself. I never said anything of the sort.

(sigh). What the hell does this have to do with my repeated questioning of how the metrics are gathered, minor vs. major problems? Further, how does it address what is acceptable at one price point but brings a callback at a different price point?

Get a haircut.
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Don't take this too personally, Dave's been a bit grumpy the last several months. He's been venting a lot.

Here I have to agree with Dave. First, the methods used by CR to gather statistic are statistically invalid. If CR researched voter's opinions it would be "Dewey Wins" every time. JD Power's methods are even worse. Second, they do fail to separate the major from the minor, so a car with problems like failing ECU's would be classed with problems like a bad door switch; problems like failing tranny gears are classed with problems like a bad seal.

He's also right about the price point. Most of the people I know who purchase a car near the bottom of the line are much more tolerant of needed repairs, chalking it up to "well, I did buy the cheap car" whereas people who spent a bucket of money are outraged at not "getting what they paid for". It's as much of a relative pain for both and both are justified at getting upset but those who buy near the bottom of the price range are typically (and correctly most times) expecting less quality. My humble experience buying at the bottom and top of some product price ranges.
Combine the first point with the second and... well... the survey's are totally invalid. Saabs do not belong in the bottom slots. They don't fit in at the top either - Saab drive quality with traditional Japanese reliability would be nice... but Japanese reliability is dropping fast too in my experience.
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Hardly...prior to owning my current Saab I owned a "lowly" Ford Focus (which I had purchased for a tad over one third the cost of my current Saab).
Shortly after having purchased the Saab I began noticing a number of little issues crop up that I simply could not ignore. None of which I noticed because I had paid dearly for the car (that was no where in my thought process), it was simply that the car definitely had initial quality problems....bad struts, squeaky springs, squealing brakes, loose and even broken plastic interior pieces, oodles of rattles from throughout the interior, broken and loose cabling on the undercarriage.
I would consider those to be fairly major defects...none of which I had had for nearly 5 years of ownership of my Ford. My Ford only once had unscheduled visit to the repair shop...after 4 1/2 years (a broken spring, covered as part of a recall notice). And yes the Ford was competely squeak and rattle free, throughout my ownership of it.
I recall talking with the guy who sold me the Saab about the problems (who is also a good friend of mine). I honestly felt rather sheepish going back to him to describe the littany of problems (as I'm not one to typically complain about anything). I actually started out by saying "I wouldn't normally come to you with this, but I couldn't ignore some noises in the car that just don't sound good. I was hoping you might take a look at it."

From what I've seen (statistically) and heard (anecdotally), it seems to be hit or miss with pricing. Some vehicles fit this logic...Lexus...high priced...high initial quality. And Kia, low price, low quality. While others do not...Mercedes, high price, low initial quality. Toyota, low price, high initial quality.

I think it's a misconception that all Japanese automakers produce nothing but high quality vehicles...the stats show otherwise. While certain Japanese automakers produce certain models that are of high quality, it is true that Nissan and more obviously Mitusbishi and Subaru have produced some sub-par quality build vehicles.
Honda and Toyota are by no means completely immune from quality problems either, but overall they rank highly.
Lexus is a different story. So how is it that Lexus can produce such high quality vehicles even while continuing to shove the latest electronic gadgetry into the car? Seems to me their recipe is simple...start with basic good vehicle formats, that buyers will love for years on end (see LS400 c.1989), and then continually improve on them year after year. They don't try to reinvent themselves every few years...that invites needless complications, and pitfalls.
- tex
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I don't think there's anything new about me calling bullshit when I see it. It's not "snobbish" to state the _fact_ that there will be problem reports with a 45K car that you won't see with a 15K car. I note that you then go on to agree with my major points.
As to being grumpy, well, perhaps. Making some changes but won't announce here before, well, I'll tell you in a week or so.
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You use the term "craftsmanship" here and not "initial build quality" nor "longterm reliability". Anywa, I'll assume you're referring to "initial build quality". However, the case of vehicle price being co-related to quality doesn't always hold true...or at least, the evidence is, at best, "mixed".
Some generalizations about the following manufacturers as a whole...
Lexus / high price / high initial quality...ok good...that meets yours prediction Mercedes (Audi, Saab) / high price / low initial quality...hmm...not following your predictions Kia / low price / low quality...good...your prediction here was spot on. Toyota / low price / high quality...bad...again, not following your prediction.
Seems to me, that quality must be due to something else other than price alone.

I used the terms "no offence" and "your argument" to separate you from your argument...I by no means intended to imply that you, yourself are snobbish (that's certainly not for me to judge).

Again, I wasn't speaking for you personally, I was extrapolating the underlying implications of your proposed argument.

I was responding to your argument as a whole...that is, that people who purchase less expensive cars will rarely complain whereas those who pay dearly for their vehicle will complain incessantly, about every minor defect. More simply, the higher the price, the more expected complaints about quality problems in the car. Please correct me if I'm wrong in interpreting your general argument.

By your argument, can I thereby deduce that it should be all the more difficult for an expensive brand to show good results on the JDP type of survey testing? ...since, the higher the price the more demanding the customer?
If so, that would make it all the more miraculous that Lexus showed only 136 reported problems per 100 vehicles (vs say Saab's at 326 per 100 vehicles). Are Saab owners really that much more picky about even minor problems, than say Lexus owners? But that would actually run counter to your argument since Lexus vehicles are higher in price than Saabs. Hmmm.
- tex
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On 8/9/2006 3:29 PM, Dave Hinz wrote:

Yeah, but Lexus owners are not POS buyers. Most manufacturers still don't get it: statistical process control and continuous improvement. It worked wonders for the US in WWII.
Dan
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Having worked retail before and having done business in various other sectors, it seems to matter little about how much a customer pays. I now do contract work but the same applies there as well...I can do a tiny $1000 project for a client and I can do a $10000 project for another client (for very similar work). In the end, both will yield similar expectations from the client. I.E. both clients will complain if any little thing is wrong. I might even argue that the smaller project clients have higher expectations and complain more often.

I see the argument that you're attempting to make, but in reality it falls short of what actually happens....ie, that customers at all price points will complain if the product doesn't come as advertised. An ex-gf of mine bought a _used_ Ford a couple years back...when she picked it up at the dealer, she scoured it for every minor defect and scratch. She sent it back immediately so they could attempt to buff out things that I couldn't even see. Talk about a demanding customer!
All said, I love my Saab, but it's quality has always been a subject of debate...often leading back to anecdotal commentary, as in "I've have a dozen Saabs in my lifetime and never had a problem."
- tex
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> I'm considering just biting the bullet and

I have Konis and H&R on my Contour SVT. You won't be disappointed.
Dan
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