What is it in the mere act of decapitating a car that instantly boosts its appeal? Show most prospective customers a used Saab 900 and 9-3 and they'll agree that it's a well-built, intriguingly detailed hunk of Swedish functionality but it's unlikely that they'll consider what lengths they'd go to get hold of one. Lop the roof off and you're instantly confronted with a motif of upward social mobility, something that's hugely desirable and is in steady demand on the used market.
In this green, pleasant and frequently damp land, it's not easy to make a case for convertible cars. Indeed, when viewed dispassionately, they don't seem to make a lot of sense. Try telling that to Saab owners, though. With over 25,000 soft topped Saabs having found UK buyers in the last fifteen years, when many people think about a premium soft-top saloon, Saab seems to be on the money.
With over 150,000 9-3 Convertibles sold worldwide, Saab dominates the market sector here in Britain, with almost every other four-door convertible sold being a Saab 9-3. Surprised? Consider this. BMW, who know a thing or two about premium convertibles, can only point to 5% of 3-Series sales as being attributable to soft top models whereas a massive 30% of all Saab 9-3s are sold with the option of sunshine (or sleet) as standard. The Saab 9-3 range is the mainstay of the company's recent commercial success. Aiming to compete head-on with the likes of BMW's 3 Series and Audi's A4 models, the 9-3 represents a slightly quirkier alternative. Since acquiring Saab, parent company General Motors have done an admirable job of improving quality whilst still allowing the cars to retain their inherent 'Saab-ness.'
Its 900 forebear was no less successful and has established a good range of used models from which to select. Just be prepared to pay a considerable premium over what you'd expect to pay for an arguably more competent tin-top version.