Saab History

About Saab

One of the comments we (Saab) hear most is how Saabs seem to be built around the driver, almost as if they were more the cockpit of a plane than the cabin of a car.

People who make this claim are more right than they could possibly know.

Because the fact is, before Saab made cars, Saab made airplanes.

And the very first Saab car was designed and hand built by 17 aeronautical engineers. Only one of which had a driver's license. Amusing as it sounds, this anecdote sums up all that makes Saab different: Clean, aerodynamic lines, efficiency and functionality, and innovations beyond what people would expect from a car.

Over the years, our (Saab) designers' contributions to the automotive industry have been as monumental as turbocharged technology and side-impact protection, and as sublime as disappearing cup holders.

It's easy to get caught up in Saab's history. It's even easier to get excited about its future. We (Saab) invite you to explore both here.



Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (SAAB) is founded in Trolhattan, Sweden, to produce high-performance aircraft before World War II.


Saab's vast experience acquired from airplane design is applied to engineering automobiles. Over the years, Saab's unique aviation background leads to many firsts in the automotive industry.

1947 Saab 92001

Saab's first prototype features a transverse two-stroke engine, front wheel drive, a sturdy safety cargo and, as you might expect from plane designers, an aerodynamic wing shape profile.

1949 Saab 92

Saab's first series to go into production had a lower coefficient drag than many of today's cars. More than 20,000 Saab 92s were built between 1949 and 1956.

1955 Saab 93

The Saab 93 is a radically redesigned car, with a three-cylinder engine, new transmission and tubeless tires.

1956 Saab Sonett

The Sonett represents Saab's first sports car. It has a top speed of 160 km/hr. Perhaps too advanced for its time; only six were ever produced.

1958 Saab 93 750 Gran Turismo

The first series-built Saab sports car is a considerably trimmed Saab 93.

1959 Saab 95

The first Saab wagon can seat two, five or seven. It would be refitted with a V4 engine in 1967.

1960 Saab 96

The Saab 96 is a big seller until its production ceases in 1980. More than 547,000 are sold during its impressive 20-year run.

1962 Saab Sport

Later dubbed the Saab Monte Carlo 850 after Erik Carlsson's rally victories. Saab fitted seatbelts are standard.

1966 Saab Sonett II (Saab 97)

The two-seater sports car has a body of fiberglass reinforced plasstic. The two-stroke engine was soon replaced by a V4.

1967 Saab 99

The first to feature the classic Saab wraparound windscreen, the 99 will lead to many innovations over the next five years, including headlamp cleaning in 1970, self-repairing bumpers in 1971 and side-impact door beams in 1972.


The Saab 99 is Saab's first large medium-sized car, giving passengers more room and comfort than ever.


Saab AB and the truck manufacturer Scania-Vabis AB merge under the name Saab Scania AB.

1970 Saab Sonett III

The new Sonnet features a totally redesigned body styled in Italy. It's also the first-ever Saab with a floor-mounted gear lever.

1973 Saab 99 Combi Coupe

The Saab 99 is developed into a practical hatchback and becomes a signature Saab in the process. The fold-down rear seat and large tailgate offer exceptional versatility.

1976 Saab 99 Turbo

Saab creates a sensation with the use of turbo technology in everyday cars.

1977 Saab 99

The Saab 99 Turbo turns heads in the IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt. The world has its first reliable turbocharger car engine for everday use.

1978 Saab 900

Saab is the first to offer a cabin air filter, a welcome feature for allergy sufferers.

1980 Saab 900 Turbo Sedan

Saab introduces the APC system, which adjusts the engine to run on varying fuel grades by raising or lowering turbo boost.

1983 Saab 900 Turbo 16S

Also known as the Aero model, the 900 Turbo 16S is the world's first car with a 16-valve turbo engine.

1984 Saab 9000 Turbo

This model represents Saab's entry into the premium car segment. Although it has the same exterior dimensions as the Saab 900, the 9000's generous interior space qualifies it as a large car in the US.

1986 Saab 900 Convertible

Saab unveils its 900 Convertible. Up until 1998, this enormously popular model accounted for 15% of Saab's car sales.

1988 Saab 9000 CD

The Saab CD is born, and so is Saab's Traction Control System (TCS) which is designed to help reduce the risk of skidding.

1990 GM acquires Saab

The Saab car division is restructured into an independent company. Saab Automobile AB, with headquarters in Sweden. Investor AB and General Motors own 50% each.

1991 Saab 9000 CS

This year's model is fitted with the world's first CFC-free air conditioning system and one of the strongest side-impact protection systems in existence.

1993 Saab 900

The new Saab 900 offers world-class safety features, including a rear seat with a loaded retention beam, three rear three-point seatbelts and rear side-impact protection.

1994 Saab 900 Convertible

Saab presents a new, four-season 900 Convertible, featuring a spacious rear seat, heated rear window and well-insulated hood.

1997 Saab 9-5

The 9-5 is Saab's first premium four-door sedan. It also happens to be the world's first car with Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR) and ventilated seats.

1998 Saab 9-3

Crash safety features such as standard two-part side airbags is just one of 1,100 enhancements made to the new Saab 9-3. In addition, this model represents Saab's first turbo diesel engine.

1999 Saab 9-5 Wagon

A car for active lifestyles. Load-securing rails, sliding load floor and roof rails offer excellent load-carring capability.

1999 Saab 9-3 Viggen

Designed for sports car enthusiasts, Viggen features a special chassis and a High Output Turbocharged 2.3L engine capable of 225 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. It seemed only fitting to name such a powerful car after Saab's fighter plane, the JA 37 Viggen. The word 'viggen,' it should be noted, is Swedish for thunderbolt. Which explains why all 400 cars made its first production year were Thunderbolt Blue.

2001 Saab 9X Concept Car

Part coupe, part roadster, part wagon and part pickup truck, the Saab 9X is voted 'Concept Car of the Year' at the Geneva Motor Show.

2002 9-3 Sport Sedan

The 9-3 hatchback has evolved into a sportier vehicle with an all-new chassis and firmer emphassis on driving performance.

2002 Saab 9-3X Concept Car

A unique fusion of sporty, coupe body-styling, and off-road functionality, the bold Saab 9-3X offers multi-dynamic features.

2003 Saab 9-3 Convertible

Redesigned from the group up, the 9-3 Saab Convertible re-establishes Saab's leadership in the sporty, all-weather convertible segment.

2003 9-3 Sport Hatch Concept Car

This sporty mid-size wagon complements the larger 9-5 SportWagon while still offering plenty of clever functionality.

2004 Saab 9-2X

The 9-2X represents another Saab milestone. Our first model to offer all-wheel drive, the 9-2X is designed to handle virtually any weather conditions.

2004 Alcokey Concept

Another safety innovation from Saab, the Alcohol Lockout Key-Fob concept is designed to help prevent would-be drunk drivers from starting their cars.

2005 Saab 9-7X

Saab introduces its first sport utility vehicle.Source: Saab

Vehicle information, history, And specifications from concept to production.
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