Saab History

Saab Was In The Car Industry What Tesla Is Today

Just exactly 10 years ago, while Saab Automobiles was about to shut down, the startup Tesla Motors had just appeared on the market and at that time the market capitalization was $ 2.5 billion, which was 5 times more than the then Saab. In the meantime, everything has happened in these ten years, from the bankruptcy of Saab and the multiple takeover of the remnants of this company, to the fact that it was announced at one point that Tesla cars might be produced in Trollhattan.

SAAB was one of those brands that you can say have personality but also knowledge. Unfortunately, we who regularly follow the events in and around Trollhattan, know that the chance was not used, and that the production of cars in this small town will practically stop. At Saab, the world of cars has always been “viewed from above”, but in a completely different way. Nominally arriving from the aviation industry they made the car out of spite, and the equally stubborn and uncompromising remained until the end.

At one point, even the management of General Motors thought that they could make this company a profitable company, but they did not understand the essence – Saab was not one of “the ordinary” high-volume car manufacturers. There are numerous reasons why Saab still has a lot of fans today, and some of its cars have the status of a shrine. What made them special was certainly the innovations. Saab was first in many ways. So much so that Automotive Journalist Jason Cammisa declared him Tesla in the 1980s, What you can see in his interesting video dedicated to Saab cars and the Swedish innovations that Saab brought to the world of cars:

As Jason himself noticed, Just see the Saab 99 designed by aeronautical engineers. In addition to the aerodynamically-shaped body verified in the air tunnel, this car had crumple zones and numerous reinforcements. As with most Saab models, this car was also able to roll over and remain unharmed thanks to the powerful A-pillars, and the firmer bodywork was not seen by the market until years later.

Saab 99 Cutaway Drawing
Saab 99 Cutaway Drawing

The Saab 99 also had reinforcements in the door, so it remained immune to a side impact. Air quality was also taken into account, so the Saab was fitted with a ventilated carbon filter, and heated seats were also offered. And then in 1978 the Turbo arrived. It was not the first installation, but it was optimal with a perfectly done engine performance. Tesla is not the first electric car either, but it was the first with optimal performance.


  • The video is a fun, must-watch for Saab enthusiasts. It solidifies why we like them. They’re distinctive and cool. I must admit there’s a part of me that doesn’t want the whole world to know about our favorite automobiles. My daughter calls it gatekeeping.

  • I wouldn’t call Saab as “Tesla of the 80’s” or even 90’s.
    They caused some kind of hype with 99 Turbo but that’s it.

    Sure they had some absolutely brilliant inventions – unfortunately the majority of them never saw the light of day in production models.

    Poorly managed automobile company (while owned by GM) refusing to share the components with other GM brands and limited funds left the manufacturer to the situation where they could only do facelifts after another while other car brands introduced totally brand new models. Add unrealistic pricing and there you have whole mess: nobody than a die-hard SAAB fan would purchase the cars.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love those cars to death and wish they’d once again emerge on the planet earth but some things have to be done differently then.

    What I really like: their independent design, dashboard, seats etc., how they drive, the safety. That’s why I think I’ll drive our NG9-5 and NG9-3CV to the “bone” until I’d even think of other car brands.

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