Saab Car Manufacturers

August 5, 2013

Saab Car Manufacturers

In 1944, Swedish aircraft manufacturer Svenska Aeroplane Aktiebolaget (Swedish Aeroplane Limited, began investigating the possibilities of building a passenger car. Five years later, the result of the efforts of 16 aircraft engineers, of which only one even owned a driver's license, went into production as the Svenska Aeroplane AB 92.

The car, more commonly known as the Saab 92, was made available for sale in 1950 The aircraft knowledge built into the 92 quickly made a name for Saab - the 92 had the lowest coefficient of drag of any 1950 model and an efficient 25-horsepower, two-cylinder engine. The Saab 92 further established itself by making a successful series of runs in rally sport competition.

In addition to notable performance, Saabs have also been known for efficiency and safety. A fighter plane cockpit is cramped for space, so everything must be easily accessible and able to be manipulated quickly and efficiently. Saab engineers applied these parameters to their vehicles as well, giving the driver's seat a cockpit-like feel with all controls in easy reach. Even the ignition placement is designed for easier functionality--by locating the ignition near the hand brake and shifter, all controls that need to be engaged before the car can move are located together for seamless transition from one mechanism to the next.

For safety, Saab was the first to implement standard headrests, headlamp wipers and washers, and an impact-absorbing, self-repairing bumper. Saab continues to develop innovative safety features, such as a safe seat rear passenger protection system and active head restraints. Saab also broke ground on many convenience features as well; the company was the first to offer heated seats and a passenger compartment filtration system.

Aside from 1978's Europe-market-only Saab 600, every Saab model has started with the number 9. The 600 was a rebadged Lancia Delta; Saab also collaborated with Fiat in producing a new car platform that underpinned the Saab 9000, Alfa romeo 164, Fiat Croma, and Lancia Thema.

Saab began to lose money in 1988; and as the Swedish automaker began to struggle, General Motors purchased a 50-percent stake in 1990 with an option to buy the outstanding shares within a 10-year period. It wasn't until 1995 that, with GM involvement, Saab would once again turn a profit. In 2000, GM purchased the remaining shares, making Saab a wholly-owned subsidiary.