|Type||Division of NEVS|
|Key people||Kai Johan Jiang (CEO of NEVS)
Karl-Erling Trogen (Chairman of NEVS)
|Owner(s)||NME Holdings (78%)
City of Qingdao (22%)1
|Employees||650 (December 2013)2|
Saab Automobile AB34 // is a Swedish premium car manufacturer. It was formed in 1945 when Saab AB, "Svenska Aeroplan AB (aktiebolaget)" (English: Swedish Aeroplane Corporation), a Swedish aerospace and defence company, commenced a project to design a small automobile. The first production model, the Saab 92, was launched in 1949. In 1968 the parent company merged with Scania-Vabis, and ten years later the Saab 900 was launched, in time becoming Saab's best-selling model. In the mid-1980s the new Saab 9000 model also appeared.
In 1989 the automobile division of Saab-Scania was restructured into an independent company, Saab Automobile AB. The American manufacturer General Motors took 50% ownership with an investment of $600 million, and then in 2000 exercised its option to acquire the remaining 50% for a further $125 million; so turning Saab Automobile into a wholly owned GM subsidiary. In 2010 GM sold Saab Automobile AB to the Dutch automobile manufacturer Spyker Cars N.V.5
After struggling to avoid insolvency throughout 2011, the company petitioned for bankruptcy following the failure of a Chinese consortium to complete a purchase of the company; the purchase had been blocked by former owner GM, which opposed the transfer of technology and production rights to a Chinese company.6 On June 13, 2012, it was announced that a newly formed company called National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) had bought Saab Automobile's bankrupt estate.7 According to "SAAB United", the first NEVS SAAB 9-3 drove off its pre-production line on September 19, 2013.8 Full production restarted Monday December 2,9 initially the same gasoline-powered 9-3 Aero sedans that were built before Saab went bankrupt, and intended to get the automaker’s supply chain back up and running as it completes development of its new NEVS products.10
- 1 History
- 1.1 Svenska Aeroplan AB (1948–1969)
- 1.2 Saab-Scania (1969–1989)
- 1.3 General Motors and Investor AB (1989–2000)
- 1.4 General Motors (2000 – 2010)
- 1.5 Spyker/Swedish Automobile (2010–2011)
- 1.6 National Electric Vehicle Sweden (2012–)
- 2 Production
- 3 Models
- 4 Innovations
- 5 Safety
- 6 Endurance records
- 7 Marketing and ownership
- 8 Literature and the arts
- 9 In motorsport
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Saab AB, "Svenska Aeroplan AB (aktiebolaget)" (Swedish for "Swedish Aeroplane Corporation"), a Swedish aerospace and defence company, had been created in 1937 in Linköping. The company had been established in 1937 for the express purpose of building aircraft for the Swedish Air Force to protect the country's neutrality as Europe moved closer to World War II. As the war drew towards a close and the market for fighter planes evaporated, the company began looking for new markets in which to diversify.
An automobile design project was started in 1945 with the internal name X9248.1213 The design project became formally known as Project 92; the 92 being next in production sequence after the Saab 91, a single engine trainer aircraft.14 In 1948, a company site in Trollhättan was converted to allow automobile assembly and the project moved there, along with the car manufacturing headquarters, which has remained there since. The company made four prototypes named Ursaab or "original Saab", numbered 92001 through to 92004, before designing the production model, the Saab 92, in 1949.
The Saab 92 went into production in December 1949,15 selling 20,000 cars through the mid-1950s. The 92 was thoroughly redesigned and re-engineered in 1955, and accordingly was renamed the Saab 93. The car's engine gained a cylinder, going from two to three and its front fascia became the first to sport the first incarnation of Saab's trademark trapezoidal radiator grill. A wagon variant, the Saab 95, was added in 1959. The decade also saw Saab's first performance car, the Saab 94, the first of the Saab Sonetts.
1960 saw the third major revision to the 92's platform in the Saab 96. The 96 was an important model for Saab: it was the first Saab to be widely exported out of Sweden. It proved very popular, selling nearly 550,000 examples. Even more important to the company's fortunes was 1968's Saab 99. The 99 was the first all-new Saab in 19 years, and unlike its predecessors, severed all ties with the 92. The 99 had many innovations and features that would come to define Saabs for decades: wraparound windscreen, self-repairing bumpers, headlamp washers and side-impact door beams. The design by Sixten Sason was no less revolutionary than the underlying technology, and elements like the Saab "hockey stick" profile graphic continue to influence Saab design.
The 99 range was expanded in 1973 with the addition of a combi coupe model, a body style which became synonymous with Saab. The millionth Saab was produced in 1976.
Saab entered into an agreement with Fiat in 1978 to sell a rebadged Lancia Delta as the Saab 600 and jointly develop a new platform. The agreement yielded 1985's Saab 9000, sister to the Alfa Romeo 164, Fiat Croma and Lancia Thema; all rode atop a common Type Four chassis. The 9000 was Saab's first proper luxury car but failed to achieve the planned sales volume.
1978 also was the first year for the 99's replacement: the Saab 900. Nearly one million 900s would be produced, making it Saab's best-selling and most iconic model.16 A popular convertible version followed in 1986, all of which were made at the Saab-Valmet factory in Finland, making up nearly 20% of 900 sales. Even today, the "classic 900" retains a cult following among enthusiasts.
In 1989, the Saab car division of Saab-Scania was restructured into an independent company, Saab Automobile AB, headquartered in Sweden; General Motors and Investor AB controlled 50% each. GM's investment of US$600 million gave them the option to acquire the remaining shares within a decade. General Motors' involvement spurred the launch of a new 900 in 1994. The new car shared a platform with the Opel Vectra. Due in large part to its success, Saab earned a profit in 1995 for the first time in seven years. However, the model never achieved the cult following of the "classic 900" and did not achieve the same reputation for quality.
1997 marked Saab's 50th anniversary as an automaker. The company used their jubilee owner's convention to launch a replacement for the aging 9000: the Saab 9-5. The 900 received a facelift and renaming complementary to its new larger sibling: it would now be called the Saab 9-3. The 9-5 was the first Saab without a combi coupe bodystyle option in twenty years. Filling that space was a wagon variant, introduced in 1999.
GM exercised their option to acquire the remaining Saab shares in 2000, spending US$125 million to turn the company into a wholly owned subsidiary.
The newly close relationship yielded its first product in 2003's all-new 9-3. The new model, marketed as a sport sedan, dropped Saab's iconic hatchback in favor of a more conventional four-door approach. The model shared a co-developed platform (GM's "global Epsilon platform") and some other components with the Opel Vectra again, but the relationship was much more of a joint engineering effort than before.
Under GM's direction, the badge-engineered Saab 9-2X (based on the Subaru Impreza) and Saab 9-7X (based on the Chevrolet Trailblazer) were introduced in the American market in 2005 with the hope of increasing sales. Both models were a critical and commercial failure and were scrapped a few years after production. GM also delayed the 9-3 wagon by three years, shelved a hatchback derivative of the 9-3 sedan, stalled plans for all-wheel-drive capabilities in Saab models until 2008, canceled a 9–5 replacement in 2005, and announced a planned shift of production away from Saab's historic home in Trollhättan to Opel's factory in Rüsselsheim.
Owing to fading fortunes across their entire business, GM announced that the Saab brand was "under review" in December 2008, a process which included the possibility of selling or shuttering the carmaker. Reportedly, 27 potential buyers emerged, including BMW, Fiat, Geely, Hyundai, Magna, Renault and Tata Motors; serious talks progressed with three bidders: the Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg, Merbanco and Renco Group.citation needed
As the talks progressed, GM's support receded, and the company went into administration, the Swedish equivalent of America's Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Saab's managing director Jan-Åke Jonsson said that this was "the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment".17 For its part, the Swedish government was reluctant to become involved, with Maud Olofsson, industry minister, stating: "The Swedish state and taxpayers in Sweden will not own car factories. Sometimes you get the impression that this is a small, small company but it is the world's biggest automaker so we have a right to make demands."18
On 16 June 2009, Koenigsegg, announced their intentions to purchase the brand from GM.17 The bid was backed by a group of Norwegian investors and the Chinese car maker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co Ltd (BAIC). The following month, both parties announced that GM had consented to the deal. There were outstanding financial details, but a loan from the European Investment Bank was expected to cover them. The loan was approved in October, but on November 24, 2009, Koenigsegg announced that it had "come to the painful and difficult conclusion that it could no longer carry out the acquisition."19 much because of the constant delays and the difficulties coordinating the involved parties; GM, the European Investment Bank, the Swedish National Debt Office and BAIC.
It was announced on 14 December 2009 that the Chinese automaker would acquire the intellectual property rights and production equipment for the previous generation Saab 9-3 and Saab 9-5 in a deal worth about US$197 million, which was enough for the company to run for three months.2021 BAIC expressed their intent to create a new brand around the purchased technology and admitted to the purchase of "three overall vehicle platforms, two engine technologies and two transmission systems."22
Following the collapse of talks with Koenigsegg, GM announced that the brand would be eliminated in 2010 if it failed to secure a buyer before the close of 2009.23 As talks with several firms failed, including the Netherlands-based boutique supercar maker Spyker, GM formally announced their intention to wind down the Saab brand.23
Undeterred, a new offer round materialized. Earlier bidders Spyker and Merbanco revised their offers and were joined by a submission from Luxembourg-based Genii Capital, who boasted the support of F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone.23 GM continued accepting bids until a self-imposed deadline of January 7, 2010. Acknowledging that the chances for reaching a deal with any party were very slim, they pledged to evaluate each offer with due diligence.2425
||This section may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. (October 2013)|
On 26 January, General Motors (GM) confirmed that Spyker and GM had come to an agreement allowing Spyker to purchase Saab,26 subject to regulatory and government approval; the sale was completed on February 23, 2010.27 General Motors will continue to supply Saab with engines, transmissions and also completed vehicles in the shape of the new Saab 9-4x from GM's Mexican factory. The deal includes a loan from the European Investment Bank, guaranteed by the Swedish government. It comprises US$74m in cash up front, payable to GM by July 2010, and shares in Spyker to the tune of US$320m.
Saab announced that it was going to build its US headquarters in Royal Oak, Michigan. A new Saab 9-3 was confirmed for 2012, while production restarted at the Saab plant in Sweden in March 2010.28 Victor Muller, CEO and founder of Spyker Cars stated in an interview that the take-over was financed solely by Vladimir Antonov with the knowledge of General Motors.29
In July, the Company expected to sell between 50,000 to 55,000 vehicles in 2010.30 As part of its expansion program Saab announced plans to return to China after General Motors withdrew the brand from the Chinese market in 2008 due to the global financial meltdown, Saab planned to sell between 2,000 and 5,000 cars initially and should the reception of the vehicle go well, they planned to move production to China as well, as the deal would have seen 10 dealerships open. The deal was to be signed with China Automobile Trading Co. Ltd.31
In October, the Company revised its production target for the year to 30,000 to 35,000 vehicles from 45,000 vehicles as a result of longer time was needed to recover from plant shutdown for two months at the beginning of the year and reverse liquidation proceeding. It was reported that it was the second time forecast was cut in less than three months.32 Eventually Saab sold 31,696 cars in 2010.33
On February 25, Spyker Cars N.V. announced they had agreed to sell the sports car arm to focus on Saab. They intended to change their name, in May, to include the Saab name.34
At the beginning of April several suppliers halted shipment of components to the Trollhättan assembly plant because of unpaid invoices. As a result Saab had to stop production on April 5.35
On 3 May, Spyker Cars reached an agreement with Chinese automaker Hawtai Motor to obtain emergency funding for Saab, aiming to restart production within a week.36 On May 12, the deal with Hawtai collapsed when it failed to get the necessary approvals.37 Spyker was still hopeful that a deal could be made with Hawtai. Great Wall Motor, another Chinese carmaker, was also rumoured to be in talks with Spyker about investing; however, this was denied by Great Wall on May 13.
On May 16, Spyker announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China's Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. (Pang Da) that would give Saab the financing needed to restart production, and give Pang Da an equity stake in Spyker.38
On June 8, Saab said it had stopped production due to an insufficient supply of parts. This occurring only two weeks after resuming production following a seven-week hiatus. A claim was made for production again starting August 9.39
On June 23, Saab announced that they were unable to pay June salaries to the entire workforce of 3,800 employees due to lack of funding.4041 The trade union IF Metall gave Saab seven days to pay the salaries to their employees; otherwise, IF Metall threatened to force a liquidation of the company.4243 On June 29, Saab employees were paid.44
In June, China Youngman Automobile Group (Youngman) and Pang Da announced their intention to buy 54% of Saab for €245 million.4546 They also announced that they would finance three new models, Saab 9-1, Saab 9-6 and Saab 9-7.4748
On July 26, Saab announced that they were unable to pay July salaries to 1,600 white-collar workers. The company was also unable to verify when the salaries would be paid.49 However, the entire workforce of blue-collar workers were paid on July 25.
On July 27, it was reported that Bahama-based Gemini Fund would ensure employee salaries did not pay out to Saab, because of the uncertainty arising in securities that would protect the payment.50 On the same day it was also confirmed by Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov's Swedish representative Lars Carlström that Antonov has close ties to the fund.51 On July 28, the trade union Unionen announced that if Saab did not pay the white-collar workers within two weeks, Unionen will force the company into bankruptcy.52 On the same day, European Investment Bank (EIB) announced they rejected the request from Vladimir Antonov to become part-owner of Saab.53 In response to that decision, the director general of Swedish National Debt Office, Bo Lundgren, severely criticized the EIB for their handling of Antonov in recent months.54 On August 5, Saab paid the salaries to the white-collar workers through equity issuance where the Gemini Fund bought five million shares in Saab.55
On August 19, it was confirmed that the Enforcement Administration had more than 90 cases with claims amounting to 169 million SEK ($25.5 million/€18.4 million) against Saab, of which 22 are currently in the distraint phase.57 On the same day, the Enforcement Administration found an account at Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, which they hoped contained at least SEK5.1 million ($0.8 million/€0.555 million) which would be used to pay off Saab's debt to Kongsberg Automotive.58
On August 23, Saab spokesperson, Gunilla Gustav, announced there was a chance the August salaries may not be paid because of lack of funding. One reason is that Saab has not received the money they were promised. The President of Unionen, Cecilia Fahlberg, is highly critical of unpaid salaries becoming an issue for the third time during the summer, and would restart bankruptcy proceedings unless the salaries were paid. As a result of the announcement, shares of Saab's parent company, Swedish Automobiles, plummeted by 20%.59
On August 25, it was confirmed that the August salaries had not been paid to the blue-collar employees, and most likely its white-collar workers also, whose salaries were rumoured to be paid on August 26.60 On the same day, Enforcement Administration announced that it has foreclosed on about SEK50 million (US$7.9 million/€5.45 million) and they are entitled to the money from the company's payroll account if they do not find the remainder earlier. Saab must have approximately SEK100 million (US$15.8 million/€10.9 million) each month in the payroll account in order to remunerate their entire workforce.61
On August 26, Swedish Automobile announced that they have pushed forward the interim report until next week (week 35).62 On the same day it was reported that Saab was preparing an application for reconstruction of the company. Saab was lacking the appropriate funds to start production, pay salaries to their employees, and debts to their subcontractors.63
On August 31, after a 5-day delay, Saab released its interim report which announced a loss of €201.5 million with revenues of €359 million after the first six months.64 It was also reported that Saab was preparing an application for reconstruction of the company. Again this is as a result of insufficient funds preventing the start of production, payment of employee salaries, and payment of subcontractor debts. In 2011 Saab's Trollhättan plant ended production.
On September 7, Saab Automobile petitioned Swedish court for a voluntary reconstruction. The aim was to protect the company from creditor's claims until Chinese government approval could be completed for a €245 million deal agreed in June 2011 with Pang Da and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile(Zhejiang Youngman).65 The following day, the Swedish courts rejected Saab's reconstruction petition, expressing doubt that the automaker could secure the funding necessary to continue.66
On September 12, Saab announced that it had signed a technology license agreement worth €70 million with Zhejiang Youngman.67 On the same day, it became known that the trade unions Unionen and Swedish Organization for Managers (Ledarna) submitted the application requesting that Saab be put into liquidation.68 Saab Automobile confirmed through a press release that the trade unions had petitioned for bankruptcy supervision of the company.69
On September 22, Saab Automobile AB and its subsidiaries Saab Automobile Powertrain AB and Saab Automobile Tools AB (collectively Saab Automobile) received approval for their proposal for voluntary reorganization from the Court of Appeal in Gothenburg, Sweden.70
On 28 October, media reports stated that the Chinese carmaker Youngman and the Chinese automotive retailer Pang Da had agreed to a joint US$140 million takeover of Saab Automobile and its UK dealer network unit from Swedish Automobile, with Youngman and Pang Da taking 60 and 40 percent stakes respectively.717273
On 6 December, GM announced that it would not continue its licenses to GM patents and technology to Saab if the company had been sold to Pang Da and Zhejiang Youngman, stating that the new owner's use of the technology is not in the best interest of GM investors. This was somewhat ironic since most of the so-called patents were Saab's in origin but surrendered to GM's ownership back in 2000.74 Because of this, Saab started working on a new proposal which would not change the original ownership structure and would not include a Chinese partner as an owner of the company, but instead as a 50% owner of a new daughter company.
On 19 December 2011 with no alternatives left after GM continued to block any form of involvement with a Chinese partner, Saab officially filed for bankruptcy after a three-year fight for survival. Due to Sweden's bankruptcy laws, a party that files for bankruptcy can be bought out of bankruptcy. Therefore, this was not the end of Saab.
In the aftermath, both Saab’s CEO Victor Muller and Saab’s Manager of Government Relations, Anna Petre,75 have stated that the original deal with Pang Da and Youngman that would have given the two Chinese companies 54% of Saab’s parent company, Swedish Automobile (SWAN), was cleared with GM.76 The turbulence created by Saab’s administrator, Guy Lofalk, leading the Chinese to believe they could take a 100% ownership, and the subsequent bid for 100% of SWAN, supposedly severely hurt the relationship with GM.77 Muller blamed Guy Lofalk for the collapse of the talks. He claims that Lofalk had led the Chinese investors to believe they could become sole owners of the company. Muller also said he knew that sole ownership was impossible. GM's had strong concerns about licenses. "Until this problem arose the relationship with GM was excellent," Muller said.
There is some doubt as to the validity of both Muller and Petre's opinions. Since 26 January 2010 Saab was managed by the board, Victor Muller presiding.
Victor Muller, as CEO of Spyker cars, is now suing General Motors and claims they are accountable for the bankruptcy of Saab.78 Victor Muller: "Ever since we were forced to file for Saab Automobile’s bankruptcy in December of last year, we have worked relentlessly on the preparation for this lawsuit which seeks to compensate Spyker and Saab for the massive damages we have incurred as a result of GM’s unlawful actions". Obviously Victor Muller changed his opinion and now blames General Motors instead of Guy Lofalk. In June 2013 the claim was dismissed by a US federal judge.
On 29 January 2012 the receivers handling Saab’s bankruptcy stated that discussions were being held with 4–5 interested parties that had the intention of buying Saab out of bankruptcy.79 Parties that publicly have shown interest are China's Youngman, Indian Mahindra and Mahindra and the Turkish private equity firm Brightwell Holdings. On 14 February 2012 the receivers of the bankruptcy let the press know that there were now six or seven interested parties to buy Saab as a whole and restart production of Saab vehicles and that they aimed to have a final candidate before the end of February.80 On March 6, 2012, three companies placed bids for complete SAAB Automobile buy out; Mahindra and Mahindra and Youngman with bids in the region of US$300m-400m,81 and Tata Motors with a bid of US$350m, which was later denied.82
On April 10, 2012, many documents regarding the bankruptcy became official and the deadline for final bids of Saab Automobile was reached. Since the first reconstruction in 2009, Saab has gathered a debt of approximately €1.3 billion. The total value of all assets has been found to be approximately €360m. The potential sale of Saab will therefore mean that many with claims on Saab Automobile will be without money. GM’s claim of approximately €220m will be prioritized because it consists of preference shares. The handful of previous interested parties in buying Saab Automobile out of bankruptcy have all been confirmed to have handed in final bids and are all intending to produce Saab cars in Trollhättan in one form or another. The receivers hope to have a deal done before summer. The receivers have also found that the sale of the Saab Automobile property in summer of 2011 may not have been legitimate and the property may have to be returned to Saab.838485
On 16 April 2012, a meeting on Saab’s bankruptcy was held at the District Court of Vänersborg.86 The official receivers in charge of the Saab liquidation valued the assets at us$500m and the debt at US$2,000m. After subtracting the value of the assets, Saab leaves a debt of US$1,500m.87
On 29 May 2012, Saab AB (aerospace and defence company) CEO Håkan Buskhe spoke to the media for the first time in an interview regarding the bankruptcy of Saab Automobile.88 Saab AB has the rights to the name Saab Automobile and has the possibility to block the use of the name for any potential buyer of Saab Automobile. He stated that as long as any potential buyer will continue production and development in Trollhättan they will grant the use of the name but that they will block any deal with a buyer who has the intent of taking production and development outside the country. It is also mentioned that Saab AB has strategic partnerships with one of the interested parties in buying Saab Automobile, Indian Mahindra, regarding aerospace and defence and that Saab AB is trying to sell its Jas 39 Gripen fighter jet to India. However, he did not want to comment on Mahindra's offer on Saab Automobile.
On 6 August 2012, Spyker, represented by the law firm Patton Boggs filed a lawsuit against General Motors in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan claiming US$3 billion in damages for the actions GM took in the fall of 2011 to stop the various proposed deals between Spyker and Youngman concerning Saab Automobile where Youngman claimed to be ready to invest several billion dollars in Saab Automobile to guarantee its future. More precisely, under the Automotive Technology License Agreement (ATLA) between GM Global Technology Operations Inc (GTO) and Saab, GM refused licensing of the platforms and technology in Saab cars if any Chinese party would be involved in Saab's ownership structure. To solve this issue, Spyker and Youngman came up with a deal where Youngman would provide Saab with a loan of €200 million which would be converted into an equity interest in Saab only after Saab ceased using GM technology in its vehicles. Despite this, GM maintained that they would still refuse licensing of platforms and technology needed for production of Saab cars in Trollhättan and also threatened to cease 9-4X production at GM's plant in Mexico, should the deal go through. Consequently, the deal finally collapsed and Saab was forced to file for bankruptcy. According to Spyker, the actions taken by GM were not legal. Since Saab has been in receivership since the bankruptcy, and will be until the deal with NEVS has been closed, Spyker and the receivers of Saab Automobile have entered into an agreement where Spyker will bear the costs of the litigation in exchange for 90% of the claim if the case is successful.89909192
In June 2013, the district court dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that General Motors was within its rights to block the sale.93
On 13 June 2012, a press conference was held announcing that Saab Automobile AB and its subsidiaries Saab Automobile Powertrain AB and Saab Automobile Tools AB as well as the Saab factory had been acquired by the Chinese consortium National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS).94 Saab Automobile Parts AB was not included in the deal and the Swedish National Debt Office will continue as an owner of that company.95 NEVS plan is to build pure (and only pure) electric vehicles with an electric version of the current 9-3 model available in 2013/2014 as well as to continue development of the replacement to the 9-3, the Phoenix. GM has continued to refuse licensing of the technology in the Saab 9-5 and 9-4X and these models will therefore not be produced. The rights to use of the Saab trademark has not yet been granted by Saab AB and Scania AB and negotiations on that matter will continue.9697
On 16 August 2012, Scania AB let the Swedish press know that the Griffin logo used in both Scanias and Saab Automobiles trademark will not be allowed for use on future Saab cars with NEVS as the owner of Saab Automobile. Scania believes the logo is of high value in China and fears that it will end up in the wrong hands through the Chinese interests behind NEVS.98
On 3 September 2012, NEVS announced that it had finalized the acquisition of Saab Automobiles assets. NEVS will be able to use the name SAAB on future cars but not the Griffin logo. Production of the 9-3 would initially focus on a turbo-charged petrol variant, but an electric variant - initially aimed at the Chinese market - would commence production in 2014.99
On 8 January 2013, NEVS announced a deal with Qingdao Qingbo Investment Co, Ltd, for a 22% stake in the company. In return, NEVS/SAAB will receive SEK 2bn, along with a production facility for models sold in China. Cars sold in North America, and most of Europe will continue to be made in Trollhättan, Sweden. The possibility of using FIAT/Chrysler sourced drivetrain components for non- electric models is also being examined.100101
On 12 August 2013, the Saab plant at Trollhättan reopened its doors to welcome back employees for preparations and restructuring of the production line. Production of the existing 9-3 will commence shortly with a new electric engine, while SAAB finishes the preparations for the new 9-3 Phoenix.
On 19 September 2013, the first Saab-branded vehicle produced by NEVS was rolled off of the assembly line. The first pre-production model was aesthetically identical to the previous Saab 9-3 and mainly used to test new components and assembly line equipment. NEVS have announced a facelift of the exterior to be shown on a finalised production model. On 29 November 2013 NEVS announced that full-scale production would commence on 2 December 2013, having replaced the 20 percent of parts originally sourced from former Saab owner General Motors.102
|Country||Cars (2010)||Cars (2009)||Cars (2008)||Cars (2007)||Models|
|32,048||20,950105||75,073||102,915||9–3 Sedans, Wagon, and Convertible, 9-5 Sedan and Wagon|
|0||98106||0||0||9-4x (Q2 2011)|
Saab manufactured various models at the Valmet Automotive plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland, between 1969 and 2003, in a joint-venture established in 1968 together with Valmet. Since 2003, Saab no longer manufactures any cars in Finland as the production of the 9-3 convertible was moved to Graz, Austria. In 2010 production of the 9-3 convertible was moved to Trollhättan. This marked the first time that the Trollhättan facility manufactures the 9-3 convertible.
A common feature of Saab car types was the use of the number 9 in the model numbers. The final models were the 9-3 and 9-5, both of which were manufactured in Trollhättan, Sweden. Until 2008, the 9-7X was manufactured by GM along with the Chevrolet Trailblazer and its platform-mates. The exception to this naming rule is the Saab-Lancia 600, which was a rebadged Lancia Delta.
- Unnamed Saab 9-3 replacement, production had been planned for October 2012
- Saab 9-2, inspired by the classic Saab 92. Production had been planned for 2014
- Saab 92 and descendants:
- Saab 92 (1949–1956)
- Saab 93 (1955–1960)
- Saab GT750 (1958–1960)
- Saab 94 Sonett I (1956)
- Saab 95 estate (1959–1978)
- Saab 96 (1960–1980)
- Saab 97
- Saab Formula Junior single seat racing car (1960)
- SAABO caravan/camper/travel trailer (1964–1968)
- Saab 99 and descendents:
- Saab 600 (1985–1988)
- Saab 9000 (1985–1998)
- Saab 900 "New Generation" (1994–1998)
- Saab 9-3 first generation (1998–2002)
- Saab 9-2X (2005–2006)
- Saab 9-7X (2005–2009)
- Saab 9-5 first generation (1997–2009)
- Saab 9-3 SportSedan (2002–2011) second generation
- Saab 9-3 Convertible (2004–2011), (2012 by ANA)107 second generation
- Saab 9-3 SportCombi (2006–2011) second generation
- Saab 9-3X (2009–2011)
- Saab 9-5 (2010–2011) second generation
- Saab 9-4X (June 2011 – December 2011)
- Saab 92 line:
- Saab EV-1 (1985)
- Saab 9000 line:
- Saab 9XX Concept (1991)
- Saab 9-X line:
- Saab Aero-X (2006)
- Saab PhoeniX (2011)
- 1958: The GT 750 is the first car fitted with seatbelts as standard.109
- 1963: Saab becomes the first volume maker to offer diagonally split dual brake circuits.
- 1969: Saab creates an ignition system near the gearstickcitation needed – instead of behind the steering wheel like most cars – in an attempt to reduce the very common serious and permanent knee injuries during collisions, caused by the knee impacting the key.
- 1970: Saab introduces a world-first – headlamp wipers and washers.
- 1971: Heated front seats are introduced, the first time in the world they are fitted as standard.
- 1971: Saab develops the impact-absorbing, self-repairing bumpercitation needed.
- 1976: Saab was the first manufacturer to produce a turbo engine with wastegate to control boost.
- 1978: Saab introduces another 'world-first,' the passenger compartment air filter (pollen filter).
- 1980: Saab introduces Automatic Performance Control (APC), and an anti-knock sensor that allowed higher fuel economy and the use of lower grade fuel without engine damage.
- 1981: Saab introduces the split-field side mirror. This reduces the driver's blind spot.
- 1982: Saab introduces asbestos-free brake pads.
- 1983: Saab introduces the 16-valve turbocharged engine
- 1985: Saab pioneers direct ignition, eliminating the distributor and spark plug wires.
- 1991: Saab introduces a 'light-pressure' turbo.
- 1991: Saab is the first manufacturer to offer CFC-free air-conditioning.
- 1991: Saab develops its 'Trionic' engine management system, equipped with a 32-bit micro-processor.
- 1993: Saab introduces the 'Sensonic clutch' and the 'Black Panel', later to be called the 'Night Panel'.
- 1993: Saab develops the 'Safeseat' rear passenger protection system.
- 1994: Saab introduces the 'Trionic T5.5' engine management system, its processor is a Motorola 68332.
- 1995: Saab presents an asymmetrically turbocharged V6 at the Motor Show in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
- 1996: Saab introduces active head restraints (SAHR), which help minimize the risk of whiplash.
- 1997: Saab introduces Electronic Brake-force Distribution
- 1997: Saab fits ventilated front seats to their new 9-5.
- 1997: Saab introduces ComSense; an alert delay feature that reduces the risk of distraction by briefly postponing lower priority alerts when the brakes or indicators are activated
- 2000: Saab introduces SVC; a Variable Compression, an engine in which the compression ratio is varied by tilting the cylinder head in relation to the pistons.
- 2002: Saab developed an independent, multi-link, rear suspension system on the new Saab 9-3 known as "ReAxs", a system which provides crisp steering feedback and contributes to enhanced driving stability in curves
- 2002: Saab unveils the second-generation Saab Active Head-Restraint system, known as SAHR2, in the new Saab 9-3 sedan
- 2003: Saab introduces CargoSET; automatic storage well retraction for the convertible, a two-step tonneau action for quicker soft-top deployment
- 2008: Saab introduces Cross-wheel drive, an advanced all-wheel drive system with eLSD. Saab brands this systems as "XWD"
Safety has a high priority in the design of Saab cars. The cars are subjected to the Älgtest (elk test) as elk are a common cause of accidents in Sweden. Saab have compiled a database containing over 6,100 real-life accidents with Saabs. The first recorded event was in 1948 where Julian Shermis had an accident.110
All modern Saabs (except the 9000 and 9-2X) have a floor-mounted ignition. This is for many reasons, some of which follow:citation needed Saab believes this is a safer position in case of an accident. The driver's knee often jerks upward in a collision; the compact and dense ignition module on the steering column of many other cars has shattered many kneecaps. Saabs have bolstered dashboards for both front seat occupants. Also, the floor-mounted position yields more space, allowing modern Saabs to have a metal bar that rotates over and up into the ignition when the key is turned to the "Lock" position. This makes Saabs very challenging to hotwire. Ergonomically, the ignition's location next to the parking brake lever, gearshift, and seatbelt, saves time. Last of all, the ignition is located on the floor because, in the aircraft that inspired Saab automobiles, the throttle controls were all located on the floor. Originally Saabs also had the key located on the right side of the steering column, but when they changed from a column shifter to a floor shifter, the ignition key followed along, except in the Sonett III and 9000.
In October 1986, the Saab Long Run took place. Three standard Saab 9000 Turbos set 2 world records and 21 international records at the Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama, USA. 100,000 km (62,000 mi) were covered with an average speed of 213.299 km/h (132.537 mph) and 50,000 miles (80,000 km) with an average speed of 213.686 km/h (132.778 mph).
Ten years later, in 1996, three standard Saab 900 (NG) Turbos driven by factory test drivers and two standard naturally aspirated Saab 900s driven by journalists set new world records on the same speedway.
In early December 2006, a Wisconsin traveling salesman donated his 1989 Saab 900 SPG (Special Performance Group) to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum after amassing 1,001,385 miles (1,611,573 km) on the original factory engine. This mileage was verified by Saab.111
Dating back to 1937, Svenska Aeroplan AB (SAAB) created airplanes, introducing their first car, the Saab 92001, in 1947. Currently, Saab AB is separate from Saab Automobile (which is owned by Swedish Automobile, formerly Spyker Cars), and is probably best known for its Saab 37 Viggen (the Viggen badge would be shared by a 9-3). This has led to an ad campaign, "Born From Jets", evoking the days when Saab produced both aircraft and automobiles. Saab is imported into many countries. Each company has a president to the subsidiary or importer. In the case of the U.S., the first president was Mr. R. Millet.
In 1987, Saab created a TV advertisement called "Saab suite" (subtitled Ballet in 3 acts for 8 Saab 9000 Turbos). In the film, stunt drivers show incredible driving with stock cars, such as one-wheeled burnouts, bumper-to-bumper driving through a slalom, cars slaloming from opposite directions on the same course, two-wheel driving, sliding in full speed, and jumping over passing cars—all on a closed airport runway with classical music playing in the background.112
To commemorate its 40th anniversary, Saab formed a Performance Team in 1987, which laid on exhibitions of automobile acrobatics and formation driving. Initially this was done with Saab 9000s, as above, then later models, such as the Saab 900 (NG) were used. All of the team's members have previously competed in rallies, but what's unusual is that all 5 Performance Team members hold regular jobs at Saab: there are two engineers, a quality controller, a technician and the head of Saab's photo studio. The picture shows these vehicles on display at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Saab Aircraft Company, at Linköping, in 1997.
A Hewlett-Packard CPU-support chip features a Saab 900 Turbo 16 Cabriolet etched into its structure.113
As the brand has an unusual image in most markets, Saab owners tend to be correspondingly offbeat: intellectuals and enthusiasts.114115 In his studies of brand communities, Albert Muniz, professor of marketing at DePaul University in Chicago, found significant characteristics of Saab owners which he called Snaabery.116117 These included ownership of an original, pre-GM Saab; camaraderie with other Saab drivers and contempt for other brands such as BMW. Writer John Crace characterised the typical "Snaab" as a creative advertising executive with large spectacles and an asymmetric hairstyle.118 Rüdiger Hossiep, a psychologist at Ruhr University Bochum, found that Saab drivers have the highest level of psychological involvement with their cars, being over 10 times more passionate than the average Volkswagen driver.116 Saab's main three markets are Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.118
- The Swedish Car with Aircraft Quality (First English Slogan) 119
- Go Swift – Go Safe – Go Saab (Advertisement Page – 1970s FIA Year Book)120
- The most intelligent cars ever built. (1980s)121
- Find your own road. (1990s)119
- Welcome to the State of Independence (early 2000s (decade); United States)119
- Born From Jets. (2003–09; United States, Canada)119
- Move Your Mind. (Current Global Slogan)citation needed
- People Who Test Drive a SAAB, Usually Buy One119
- It's A Pity Other Cars Aren't Built This Way119
- We don’t make compromises. We make Saabs.119
- Saab. It's what a car should be.119
- Beyond the conventional (1990s United Kingdom).119
- The Command Performance Car.119
- The Well-Built Swede122
The Saab 900 Turbo was James Bond's vehicle of choice in many of the John Gardner Bond novels of the 1980s, beginning with Licence Renewed. In the second novel, For Special Services, the 900 was dubbed the "Silver Beast".123 The car is Bond's private vehicle that he had outfitted with various gadgets by the real-life company Communication Control Systems, Ltd. (CCS). In conjunction with the release of Licence Renewed, Saab had a real "Silver Beast" created that was virtually identical to the specifications in the book. The car is currently located at the Saab Museum in Trollhättan, Sweden.
In an essay originally published in In These Times in November 2004 entitled Have I Got A Car For You,124 writer Kurt Vonnegut recounts his experiences as the owner/operator of a Saab dealership in West Barnstable, Massachusetts and humorously claims that his criticism of Swedish engineering is the reason he was never awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature. The essay also appeared in the 2005 anthology A Man Without A Country.
Saab had a factory rally team with great successful drivers, Erik "On-the-Roof" Carlsson, Tom Trana, Simo Lampinen, Stig Blomqvist and Per Eklund. The team stopped competing in 1980. in 2012 a new Saab Rally team took part in the classic historic Midnattssolsrallyt (Rally to the Midnightsun) the team named S2AB Historic Rally team had 4 Saab 99 Turbo cars in the rally. Driven by ex. champions Ola Strömberg and Erik Uppsäll. In two regularity turbos Travis Decker and Jörgen Trued. S2AB (Swedish Advanced Automotive Business) is the company led by Magnus Roland former chassis manager at Saab.
- Barber Saab Pro Series
- Saab Car Museum
- Saab hockey stick
- Saab Turbo Mobil Challenge
- Saab XWD
- Talbot Horizon – replaced the Saab 96 on the Valmet line and used many of the same parts, especially in the interior
- Trionic 8
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saab vehicles.|
- Official website (Redirects to National Electric Vehicle Sweden's website)
- Saab news article collection since 1984 (by The New York Times)
- Saab at the Open Directory Project
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