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The “Jet” car
SAAB has a odd history for a automobile manufacturer. It has roots based in aerospace and defense. The automobile division of SAAB was formed in 1945 and production began in 1949. Born from what was once originally an aerodynamic division of the Swedish Railroad Works Company which then became parent company, Svenka Aeroplan Aktiebolaget,SAAB-AB saw many mergers and ownership changes in its relatively short life.
There was a merger with Scania, another Swedish vehicle manufacturer, in 1969 and a sale to General Motors in 2000. SAAB as the auto company struggled particularly in the 2000s. In 2010, GM sold off to Spyker, who then declared bankruptcy in 2011. After a court battle to prevent Spyker from selling to the Chinese, Swedish company, NEVS, purchased the ailing auto manufacturer.
Just like its ownership history, SAAB’s production locales changed a bit as well over the years. Initially manufactured in Sweden, production was later moved to a plant in Finland and then Austria before landing back in Sweden. A very small percentage of SAABs were produced in Mexico in 2010.
The initial model, the 92, boasted a 2 cylinder, 2 stroke engine that sat at a 90 degree angle in the engine compartment. This model went through many renditions over the years becoming the 93, 94, 95, etc. The SAAB 900 turbo was featured in some of the James Bond novels and was called the “Silver Beast”. The most successful model, as far as sales went, was the SAAB 900.
In 1955, exportation to the US was planned after then president, Tryggve Holm, visited New York. The president of that US division was a Connecticut man by the name of Ralph Millet. Sales were initially restricted to the New England states and author, Kurt Vonnegut, was once owner of a dealership in Massachusetts.
NEVS attempted to revive the brand and in 2013 had created some production vehicles. But in 2014, NEVS lost the rights to produce vehicles under the SAAB moniker. To this date, NEVS has not reacquired those rights and there are no current plans to produce any more SAAB vehicles.
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