Saab is a line of automobiles manufactured by Saab Automobile AB, currently a subsidiary of the General Motors Corporation, which began production in 1949. Once producing vehicles exclusively in Sweden, the current Saab Automobile model lineup now includes a vehicle produced in the USA.
Until 1990 the company was owned by SAAB, an acronym for "Svenska Aeroplan Aktie(B)olaget" (The Swedish Aeroplane Company), which also included SAAB Aerospace and truck manufacturer Scania. After World War II the company's main market for military aircraft declined and after considering other options SAAB decided to move into the passenger car market with Gunnar Ljungström in charge of design. The first car, the Saab 92 was a streamlined steel bodied saloon with a 2 stroke engine driving the front wheels and independent suspension all round. Showing their aviation background the car had, at 0.32, the best drag coefficient of any production car in the world at the time. The 92 name was used as it was the 92nd Saab design, the previous 91 had been aircraft.
Four stroke engines were introduced with the Saab 95 and 96 in 1966 which used a V-4 unit bought in from Ford followed by the Saab 99 of 1967 with a Triumph based engine. This gained an optional turbocharger in 1977. In February 1970, Saab built their 500,000th car. An agreement was reached with Fiat in 1978 to develop a new car platform which became the 1984 Saab 9000 and shared its structure with the Fiat Croma and Alfa Romeo 164.
By the late 1980s Saab were producing more cars than they were selling and in 1989 had 40,000 units in stock. The Arlöv plant was closed but heavy financial losses continued. Talks were opened with Fiat, Mazda and Ford and in January 1990 Saab-Scania moved their passenger vehicle operation to a new company Saab Automobile AB.
General Motors bought half of Saab Automobile on 15th March, 1990 for USD600 million, with an option to acquire the entire company within a decade. David J Herman became president with Stig Göran Larsson as vice president. Before exercising the option to buy the entire company, GM shared its ownership of Saab Automobile with Investor AB, the main owner of Saab.
Losses continued and the Malmö plant was closed in 1991. A new Saab 900 was launched in 1993 based on the Opel Vectra and in 1995 Saab declared a profit for the first time since 1988.
In March 2005, it was announced that GM would move the production of the next-generation Saab 9-3 from Trollhättan to their Opel plant in Rüsselsheim, Germany. Current models are the 9-3 and 9-5, both of which are manufactured in Trollhättan, Sweden and the Saab 9-7X (aka Trollblazer) SUV, manufactured in Moraine, Ohio. The Saab 9-2X (aka saabaru), a rebadged Subaru Impreza and manufactured in Japan, was discontinued after the 2006 model year.
In 1990 GM purchased half of Saab (and bought the other half ten years later) in what is now seen as an impulse buy. Saab loyalists have long criticised GM's badge engineering of Saab products. This criticism reached a fever-pitch with the introduction of the Subaru Impreza-derived 9-2X (derisively called the "Saabaru" by American critics) and the GMT360 platform (Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, et al.)-derived 9-7X SUV. Until massive incentives created impressive demand, the 9-2X sold very poorly, with Saab barely managing to sell a few thousand of them. Even those weren't enough to save the 9-2X, as it was discontinued after the 2006 model year. There was very little in the way of marketing for either the 9-2X or 9-7X. Also, true Saab fans preferred the front wheel drive and good fuel economy that their cars were capable of.
The Saab brand overall has not been a money-maker for GM, with total losses from 1990-2005 supposedly exceeding US$2 billion, showing black digits only two of these years. The said losses are all the more daunting because Saab, in 2005, posted record unit sales in Europe, its core market. These losses led GM's most vocal investor, Kirk Kerkorian, to renew his call for GM to cut its losses and dump the Swedish brand. However, there were no suitors interested in acquiring the brand, and the attempted sell-off never took place. In late March 2006, it was reported that Mr. Kerkorian revised his position and now is "of neutral opinion" towards the Saab brand (he had also voiced criticism of GM's Hummer brand).
* Saab 92 (1949 - 1956)
* Saab 93 (1955 - 1960)
* Saab 94 (1956)
* Saab GT750 (1958 - 1962)
* Saab Sport (1962- 1966)
* Saab Formula Junior (1960)
* Saab 95 (1959 - 1978)
* Saab 96 (1960 - 1980)
* Saab 97 (1967 - 1974)
* Saab 99 (1968 - 1984)
* Saab 90 (1984 - 1987)
* Saab 900 (1979 - 1993) ('Classic', the convertible was in production until 1994.)
* Saab 900 (NG) (1994 - 1998) ('New Generation')
* Saab 9000 (1985 - 1998)
* Saab Sonett in four versions, incorporating Saab 94 and Saab 97.
* Saab 600
* Saab 9-2X (2004 - 2006, 5-door hatchback, developed from the Subaru Impreza, and only sold in North America)
* Saab 9-3 (1998 - Current)
* Saab 9-4X (Planned GM Theta Premium platform, 5-passenger crossover SUV, sister car to upcoming Cadillac BRX crossover)
* Saab 9-5 (1997 - Current), including Saab 9-5 BioPower, that uses E85 biofuel.
* Saab 9-6X (Cancelled, was to be a crossover SUV based on the Subaru B9 Tribeca)
* Saab 9-7X (2005 - Current, mid-size SUV, based on Chevrolet TrailBlazer, sold primarily in North America)
* Ursaab (1946)
* Saab Monster (1959)
* Saab 60 (1962)
* Saab Quantum (1962-1963)
* Saab Catherina (1964)
* Saab MFI13 (1965)
* Saab Toad (1966)
* Saab 98 (1974)
* Saab EV-1 (1985)
* Saab 9-X (2001]
* Saab 9-3X (2002)
* Saab 9-3 SportHatch (2003)
* Saab 9-5 Aero BioPower (2006)
* Saab Aero-X (2006)