SAAB Advertising

Unveiling Saab’s Remarkable Impact in the US Market: The Iconic 1983 Advertising Campaign for the Saab 900

Saab's Impact in the US Market and the 1983 Advertising Campaign for the Saab 900

Experience Automotive Excellence: Discover the Unparalleled Appeal of the 1983 Saab 900.

In 1982, amidst a challenging economic climate and a downturn in the automotive industry, Saab managed to achieve remarkable success in the United States. With a combination of unique features, emphasis on performance, and a loyal customer base, Saab’s sales reached an all-time high that year. This article delves into the operations of Saab in the US during that period and explores the advertising campaign for the much-anticipated 1983 Saab 900.

Saab’s Resilience in the US Market

The United States faced significant challenges in 1982, including a recession, stagflation, and quality concerns within the auto industry. Despite these obstacles, Saab defied expectations and experienced its best sales year up until that point. While other automakers struggled, Saab capitalized on its distinct approach to design and engineering, offering a compelling alternative to the mainstream American and European brands.

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Saab’s Unique Selling Point

One of Saab’s standout features was its unconventional ignition switch placement in the center console. This innovation, highlighted in the advertising campaign, showcased Saab’s commitment to driver ergonomics and intuitive design. Additionally, Saab’s love for turbocharged engines driving the front wheels set the brand apart from its competitors. The combination of turbocharging and front-wheel drive provided impressive performance and handling characteristics that appealed to driving enthusiasts.

Taking a Jab at BMW

The 1983 Saab 900 advertising campaign took a playful jab at BMW, one of Saab’s German rivals. While BMW had gained a reputation for producing “Ultimate Driving Machines,” Saab positioned itself as a worthy alternative, emphasizing its turbocharged engines and unique driving experience. This subtle dig aimed to challenge the dominance of the luxury German automakers and attract customers seeking a different kind of driving thrill.

Discover the Unmatched Attention to Detail: A comprehensive guide in eighteen paragraphs unveils the secrets of the '83 Saab 900, showcasing its innovative features, including the center console ignition switch and the exhilarating power of turbocharged front-wheel drive. Don't miss the playful jab at BMW!
Discover the Unmatched Attention to Detail: A comprehensive guide in eighteen paragraphs unveils the secrets of the ’83 Saab 900, showcasing its innovative features, including the center console ignition switch and the exhilarating power of turbocharged front-wheel drive. Don’t miss the playful jab at BMW!

Scarcity and Demand

The success of Saab in 1982 led to a supply-demand imbalance, with Saab dealers reportedly having to turn away potential customers due to limited inventory. This scarcity created an air of exclusivity around the Saab brand, further piquing the interest of prospective buyers. The advertising campaign emphasized the need to act quickly to secure a new 1983 Saab 900, fostering a sense of urgency among potential customers.

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Customer Testimonials

The comments of Saab admirers from that time as well as contemporary ones point to the positive experiences and loyalty of Saab owners. Many shared stories of surviving accidents thanks to the safety features of their Saab vehicles. This customer satisfaction and brand loyalty played a crucial role in Saab’s success during this period, as word-of-mouth recommendations and testimonials contributed to the growing interest in the brand.

Legacy and Challenges

Despite the accomplishments of Saab in the early 1980s, the brand eventually faced difficulties in the US market. Ownership changes, financial struggles, and a failure to adapt to changing consumer preferences led to Saab’s decline and eventual bankruptcy. However, the impact and influence of Saab’s innovative designs, focus on safety, and dedication to performance continue to resonate with automotive enthusiasts and loyal fans.

In 1982, Saab defied industry trends and achieved its best sales year in the United States, capturing the attention of car buyers with its unique features, performance-oriented driving experience, and emphasis on safety.

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The advertising campaign for the 1983 Saab 900 leveraged these strengths, highlighting the brand’s innovations and positioning itself as a compelling alternative to established luxury automakers. Though Saab faced challenges in subsequent years, its legacy as a trailblazer in automotive design and engineering endures, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.

Goran Aničić
the authorGoran Aničić
For over 10 years, Goran Aničić has been passionately focused on Saab automobiles and everything related to them. His initial encounter with Saab cars took place back in 2003 when the first Saab 9-3 and sedan version were introduced. At that moment, he was captivated by the car's Scandinavian design logic and top-notch engineering, and everything that followed stemmed from that first encounter. Later on, through his work at the editorial team of the Serbian automotive magazines "Autostart" and later "AutoBild," he had the opportunity to engage more closely with Saab vehicles. In 2008, he tested the latest Saab cars of that time, such as the Saab 9-3 TTiD Aero and Saab 9-3 Turbo X. In 2010, as the sole blogger from the region, he participated in the Saab 9-5ng presentation in Trollhättan, Sweden. Alongside journalists from around the world, he got a firsthand experience of the pinnacle of technological offerings from Saab at that time. Currently, Goran owns two Saabs: a 2008 Saab 9-3 Vector Sportcombi with a manual transmission, and a Saab 9-3 Aero Griffin Sport Sedan from the last generation, which rolled off the production line in Trollhättan in December 2011.

1 Comment

  • Saab USA’s ad agency, Ally and Gargano, were great at irreverently pointing out the uniqueness of the brand, and created a number of award….and customer….winning ad campaigns. One of my favorite, was a 1984 ad that celebrated Saab’s record US sales, while poking fun at the quirkyness of their color palette, stating : Last year, we sold every car we imported to the United States…..including X,XXX Alabaster Yellow ones!

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