Saab Original Models
The first production vehicle, the Saab 92, featured a lower drag coefficient than many modern cars at the time. The 92 was followed by the three-cylinder 9-3, which was unveiled in 1955. The 9-3 was the first Saab model to feature the unique and distinctive fastback profile. By the end of the decade, Saab introduced the 9-5 wagon and the 9-3 750 Gran Turismo, its first ever sport model.
Starting in 1960, the Saab 9-6 enjoyed a 20-year production run and helped the company establish itself on the international automobile market.
Saab Through The Years
As a brand, Saab didn't really gain popularity in the United States until the 1980s. During this period, the Saab Turbo models became particularly popular with the new set of the young urban professionals who were busy flexing their consumer muscle. The Saab 900 Turbo and the Saab 900 Turbo Aero were particularly popular at the time, as was the convertible version.
American automobile giant General Motors acquired half of Saab's automotive division in 1990. GM helped the company launch a revised version of the 900 that included new safety features. During the 1990s, Saab also released the 9-5, a premium four-door sedan.
In the first decade of the new Millennium, GM acquired the rest of Saab's automotive division. However, ironically during this period, Saab's popularity in the U.S. began to decline. In an effort to appeal more to the American public, the company introduced a sedan version of the 9-3, which didn't feature the distinctive hatchback profile Saab was so closely associated with. Unfortunately, rather than appeal more to American drivers, the new model 9-3 instead became just another anonymous upscale model issued by GM.
GM was eventually forced to sell Saab off during the automotive industry collapse of 2008 and 2009. The company was acquired by Dutch automaker Swedish Automobile NV (SWAN) and is currently in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings.
The Saab 9-5 is a four-door executive car model, first introduced in 1997 to replace the popular Saab 9000. The 9-5 is relatively affordable as far as midsize luxury sedans go. It's also available in a variety of different trim levels. The most recent generation of the 9-5 was the first vehicle issued by the company following Saab's takeover by SWAN.
The 9-3 was a compact version of the 9-5. It was first issued in 1998 and remained in production until 2011. As an entry-level luxury car, the 9-3 has a lot to offer. It's spacious, comfortable, has good safety features, and comes in multiple body styles.
The 9-4X is a midsize crossover SUV introduced in 2011. It's very similar to the latest generation of the 9-5 on the inside. While the 9-4X is indeed stylish and luxurious, it's pretty slow for a vehicle in its class and the price may be daunting to many potential buyers.
Although it was technically a Saab in name, the 9-7X could perhaps be regarded as an American vehicle in Swedish clothing. While the 9-7X was adorned with Saab's signature grill and badging, the midsize SUV was closely based on GM's midsize SUV platform. It may be unfair to write the 9-7X off as a second rate imposter, but its strange alchemy of American design and Swedish accents never quite added up. After only four years in production, it was discontinued in 2009.
Future of Saab
Though the Saab brand is currently languishing in limbo, it would be unfair to blame the quality of the vehicles the company produced over the years. The Saab brand was one of the last European cars to catch on with American drivers. Sadly, America's love affair with the quirky Swedish luxury brand ended all too quickly.
But while the future production of Saab vehicles is up in the air, used Saabs remain viable options for anyone looking for a good deal on a stylish European luxury car. During its run as an automaker, Saab garnered a well-deserved reputation for safety and innovation.