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I've written about my dissatisfaction with Consumer Reports several times on this site. This American consumer organisation issues surveys to registered members and then compiles data received and issues that are pretty widely read and noticed.

The problem I've had with their surveys (which Saab rarely fare well in) is that items aren't weighted and it's only conducted among CR members, who I reckon are more predisposed to complaining about everything anyway.

The Autoprophet has covered a story where Consumer Reports finally receive the butt-kicking they regularly hand out to others.

<blockquote>When Consumer's Union (Consumer Reports) reported that the majority of infant seats they tested failed a side impact crash test, NHTSA was horrified and sprang into action. They tested samples of the same car seats that CU was claiming failed--and they couldn't duplicate CU's results. NHTSA deduced that CU had tested an equivalent of a 70mph side impact, not a 38mph side impact.....

....I have always been suspicious of Consumer Reports "scientific" methods--they don't reveal details of their testing, use tiny sample sizes, and inject (mostly liberal) politics into their conclusions. For example, CU apparently gives the same weight to a burnt out lightbulb on a new car as a non functioning ABS system--both are "problems". Obviously, one is major and one is not.</blockquote>

And that, in the last paragraph, has been one of my concerns with Consumer Reports.

An audience prone to activism, potentially small sample sizes and questionable data values. This makes for some questionable results, but they're still widely read and respected, and therein lies the problem.

Those child-seat companies all suffered a shock smear on their reputations, just like a number of vehicle manufacturers (and I'm sure other product manufacturers as well) and it's all at the whim of a basically flawed group.

It's good to see them caught out on this occasion.


But that, buy no means, lets Saab off the hook.

Quality is an occasional problem, and here's an honest look at one guys disappointing experience.

His name is Todd and he purchased a 9-3 Sport Sedan in Aero form last year. He got a great salesman who knew the brand quite well, but in a story I've heard too many times recently, his service people let the team down.

From his personal blog:

<blockquote>The car was in amazing condition when it was delivered. The car had almost all the options I wanted....

....Everything went well for the first 8k KMs or so. After that point, a few things started to reveal themselves. The dash is a lot of hard plastic on hard plastic. So when you go over bumps, the dash has a plastic squeak. The doors have components in them that rattle (when going over bumps or when the stereo is at higher volume with bass). The passenger door speaker seems to be shot and when you start the car in the extreme cold (-10 and below C) the car emits a high pitched tone from the dash. Being as busy that I am, I wasn't in the mood nor did I have the time to take the car to the dealership for repair.

16,000 KMs roll around and the car tells me it needs servicing. The manual says this is a standard service check including oil change and once over on the car.....

....A week later I'm at the service center......Fortunately the dealership had decent wifi, so I could actually get some work done. 3 hours and $1,700 later the car was mine again. Those high performance winter tires cost a fortune.

On my way home, I have a what the f*ck moment. All of the warranty issues that I asked the dealership to address were not taken care of"not even close. And it was obvious that they didn't even take a look because every single issue was still present. I'm annoyed at this point but I don't have more time to waste at the dealership, so I put things off.

I just hit 25,000 KMs in just under 6 months. I love the car, but I'm annoyed by these seemingly small issues that haven't been repaired under warranty.....</blockquote>

Todd, I hope you get your issues fixed soon as the Aero'sone heck of a great ride.

And Saab, I hope you're still working on this, especially for the next 9-3.
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