Saab

Saab Logo

Saab was founded in postwar Sweden as an attempt to take advantage of what
Sweden had learned about engine design and construction during World War
Two. Though it struggled to find a market at first, in the late 1970s it
introduced the Saab 900, the first general consumer vehicle to have a
turbocharger built in as standard.

While not as fast as some of the sportier German models, it nonetheless had
excellent speed and an unbeatable safety record. In an era when seat belts
weren’t even mandatory in many places, the 900 had both a seat belt and an
optional air bag, as well as crumple zones and an integrated roll cage.
This set the standard for high quality construction and excellent
reliability that made the brand a popular premium and a repeated “Best Buy.”

Five Remarkable Things about Saab:

  • The company marketed itself under the slogan “We Make Jets,” even though
    Rolls Royce, BMW and Mitsubishi also produced jet engines.
  • The ceilings of most of their cars were so strong that they did not need
    to be reinforced to meet rally safety standards.
  • They were the first company to put a turbocharger on a general consumer
    vehicle.
  • The cars they produced were the safest on the market throughout the 80s
    and 90s.
  • One 900 Turbo owned by a man in Wisconsin drove well over a million
    miles in fifteen years without having a single engine part replaced.

  • Popular Saab Models

    The ultimate successor to the 900 was the Saab 93, which came out in 1998.
    Although less powerful, it was carefully engineered and very well built.
    Offering executive style and comfort in a general consumer vehicle, the
    Saab 93 was a consistent best seller and Consumer Reports Best Buy for all
    of the years in which it was produced. Available in a variety of styles,
    the Saab 93 was popular with upper middle class buyers in Europe and
    America.

    The last Saab ever built was the Saab 95. Built while the company was under
    GM ownership, it was originally intended to be a badge-engineered
    Chevrolet. However, the company engineers dismissed the vehicle they were
    to badge engineer as wholly inadequate and not worthy of their company’s
    brand. They thus completely re-engineered the car to make it faster, safer
    and better. However, these cost overruns led to the Saab 95’s release to be
    very much delayed, and in fact the car was not released until after GM had
    sold the company to Spyker, a small Dutch firm specializing in exotic
    sports cars. The Saab 95 was then forced onto the market by Spyker before
    it was ready, and its low sales confirmed that the company would go out of
    business.

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