Classic Cars: The Beginnings of Saab
As the owners of the Saab brand found out just a few short years ago, it takes an enormous amount of capital to operate an automotive company. Forbes’ Joann Muller noted in a 2011 article, right after the company went bankrupt, that “this industry already has too many brands, and too many factories for all to be profitable.”
Saab has not always had this problem though. Saab’s beginnings were in Sweden. The car manufacturer was formed in 1945, when Saab AB, the Swedish aerospace and defense company, began a project to design a small automobile. The Saab 92 was the first production model, and was introduced in 1949.
Almost 20 years later, in 1968 the parent company merged with Scania-Vabis, and ten years later the Saab 900 was launched. The Saab 900 actually became Saab’s best-selling model, with nearly one million being produced. Not only was it the best-selling model, it was considered to be the most iconic model produced by Saab as well. A popular convertible version followed in 1986, all of which were made at the Saab-Valmet factory in Finland, making up nearly 20% of 900 sales. Even today, the “classic 900” retains a cult following among classic car enthusiasts.
Although Saab saw many innovations in the following years, including producing its 100,000th turbcharged car in 1984 and touting new design features in the 90s and early 2000s, their sales dwindled by 2009. This eventually led them to the above-mentioned bankruptcy. Only time will tell if Saab can truly make a comeback.
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