Posted by: saabnuts | December 22, 2011

Warranty and the big picture, rant #2 this week

We are still waiting for updated news that someone is able to come to terms with GM and others to secure the purchase of Saab and return the company to making cars again.

Such an arrangement will undoubtedly take time and great efforts, and we have hope and faith that this may happen, and sooner than later.  It is reassuring to see that business people also see what we enthusiasts see in terms of the value of Saab and its employees being worth the efforts to save.  Best wishes to those working behind the scenes to make that happen.

One of the biggest concerns being discussed among Saab owners now is the availability of parts for cars and warranty coverage or the lack thereof.

Warranty coverage has been temporarily suspended, understandably while those responsible for bankruptcy assess the company assets.

I think that is normal under the circumstances and was glad to read that November wages to Saab employees were being paid, and that efforts continue to get employees paid for December as well, hopefully before Christmas.

Next of course after ensuring the employees are paid are the consumer warranties and balances due to suppliers from Saab.

I understand that as part of the sale agreement to Spyker, GM had been making payments to Saab / a fund to cover warranty expenses for Saabs built under GM ownership, and that payments were suspended due to Saab’s financial situation.

GM has confirmed that it will honor warranty work and costs if Saab is not able to fulfill those obligations (for Saabs purchased before Spyker bought Saab), which is good, though again, I see this as GM meeting legal obligations to consumers, not a sweeping gesture of good will.

I simply do not believe that good will is part of GM’s business plans, or they would not be so well known for closing their own factories and putting thousands out of work over the course of decade after decade.  Sorry GM, I am not blaming you for every Saab problem, but you must accept responsibility for you track record of behavior.

Back to the bankruptcy.  I am hoping that after the obligations to Saab employees are met, that the warranties will be covered by the bankruptcy administrators.  My guess is that covering those obligations is a relative “drop in the bucket” compared to the rest of Saab’s obligations to suppliers.

Please understand that I do not think the suppliers should all take a financial hit if avoidable, but that if there isn’t enough money to pay all debts, that honoring warranties is important and a legal obligation, and again, likely easier to cover than all of the debt to suppliers.  My hope is that everyone gets paid.

That brings me back to the concerns of Saab owners.  Many of us have learned first hand that some Saab parts have been difficult to obtain.  A few people explained to me that due to suppliers not being paid, some suppliers were not willing to fill parts orders, even if let’s say, there are 100 people waiting for a part.  The rationale is that the suppliers work in volume, and want to supply 1,000 parts, not 100, and also want to be paid.  That is completely understandable.

However, the mechanics I have spoken to assured me that when a part was not possible to obtain quickly, that hey have had NO problem getting parts either from third parties or from “AC Delco” (aka GM).

Granted, parts for the newest Saabs (9-5 and 9-4x) may be more difficult to obtain quickly, as these vehicles are so new and due to the financial concerns brewing at Saab prior to this week.

I still have faith that owners of these newest Saabs will be ok and able to obtain parts.  I do not envy having such concerns about your transportation, but do think that these concerns will be addressed by the bankruptcy administrators, and if not, it will be brought to their attention by the legions of owners and excellent sites like Saabs United.

Honestly, we have worried about such things not just recently but in the past, as owners and drivers of 17 and 18 year old Saabs for daily drivers.  We never had an issue getting parts for those cars, though the parts may not have been sitting on our dealer’s supply shelves.

So I do understand the concerns expressed by so many Saab owners about parts and warranty costs and repeat what I have read: save your receipts – hopefully you WILL be able to get reimbursed once the dust settles.  There are even independent people out there offering to cover warranty costs for Saab owners.  That is simply incredible and wonderful.

However, I will also say that in the grand scheme of things, as upsetting and costly as it MIGHT be for SOME owners if they have an issue with a vehicle right now, please try to take a step back and keep other things in mind.

I am not suggesting the concerns of such owners should be dismissed…  not at all my point.  But these are cars we are talking about.  It is not your lungs or your brain or any other organ we are talking about here, and life will go on, and I do trust that people will address your rights for warranty coverage, although you may go through some serious difficulty in the interim.

As bad as the situation might become for some Saab owners, I’d like to ask you to consider that you were able to do what we can’t do no matter how much we wanted it.  That was to buy a new Saab.

At this point if something horrific happened to one of our Saabs, we can’t even afford to replace the car with a used car.  That is how difficult our financial issues are and this IS a concern for us.

I am not asking you to feel sorry for us.  But when I stop and worry about those concerns and then think about the Saab employees, I realize that it is ridiculous for us to worry so much about that.

We are lucky that we are still making a living and still driving our trouble free Saabs, thanks to great employees of Saab and our dealer.

The Saab employees MAY not be so fortunate.  So that is my point and my request to fellow Saab owners.  Please try to take a deep breath and think about the employees of Saab.  You may not be able to get a part for your car immediately, but what kinds of challenges do you think the employees are facing?  I am hoping that if you think about this, your concerns may not be quite so frightening.

Best wishes to all for a happy holiday season and a huge thank you again to everyone at Saab, and most of all, wishes for a quick turn around and rescue of Saab.

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