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  1. #1
    Frank
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    Saab history - mile stones

    1937
    Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (first abbreviated to SAAB and later Saab) founded in April for manufacture of military aircraft in Trollhättan. First group of engineers gather together in the yellow villa still to be found next to the Saab Car Museum in the Nohab industrial complex.

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    1939
    SAAB acquires and merges with the ASJ aircraft division in Linköping and moves head office, development, etc., to Linköping. Trollhättan continues as an aircraft production and assembly unit.

    1939
    Decision to produce cars after alternate lines of production were studied. Work on first car prototype started in Linköping by a small team of about 15 aircraft engineers led by Gunnar Ljungström. The team was joined by Sixten Sason, then a technical illustrator at Saab, who drew the shape of the new car and later became one of Sweden's greatest industrial designers.

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    1946
    April: work starts on the first running prototype Saab 92.001, ready in November. Secret testing of the prototype.

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    1947
    Production prototype 92.002 shown to press gathering in Linköping on June 10. Work gets underway to install car production equipment at the Trollhättan plant which is still making the Saab 91 Safir (single-engine, two-seater propeller plane). At the press conference it was announced that the complete car would be built in Trollhättan and that the Linköping plant would concentrate on aircraft which now also included a 32-passenger airliner, the Saab 90 Scandia.

    1949
    December - series production starts. Two variants: the Standard 92 and the De Luxe version! All were painted in the same moss green to simplify work in the paintshop.

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    1950
    Customer deliveries commence in Sweden and exports also start to neighboring Scandinavian countries to acquire foreign currency much needed to pay for imported materials and equipment.

    Saab's rally saga starts only a few weeks after production commences: Two cars entered in the Monte Carlo Rallye, driven by Chief Engineer Rolf Mellde and legendary lady-driver Greta Molander. Both cars finished: Mellde 69th overall and Greta Molander 8th in the Ladies Class and 55th overall.

    Rallying continues to be used for testing and Saab ends the year by winning the Rikspokalen, considered the toughest and most important rally in Sweden. Mellde won overall, Molander the Ladies Class and together with K. G. Svedberg they win the team award ahead of cars such as Porsche.

    1953
    First major success for Saab in Rallying: Swedish Rally Championship (first of more than a dozen titles) through Mellde. European Rally Championship (Ladies Class through Greta Molander).

    1955
    Saab 93 replaces the 92: 748 cc three cylinder engine, developing 33 bhp and new front and grille plus totally new suspension, and newly launched tubeless tires. Erik Carlsson begins to get a name winning the Rikspokalen in his private 92.

    1956
    Saab Sonett Super Sport prototype open two seater sports car with fiberglass body on light alloy frame developed and produced for motor sports to meet new competition rules. Six units made, of which five still exist including two belonging to the Saab Museum.

    A Saab Sonett and two 93s exhibited at New York Coliseum in March and Saab Motors Inc. formed for sales in USA. Ralph Millet, head of Saab's purchasing office for aircraft components thus adds Saab car importing to his duties. First Saab 93's sold in 1957 following surprise victory in Great American Mountain Rally in early winter '56.

    Explosive sales start in 1957 with 1,410 Saab 93s, corresponding to 14% of Trollhättan's production. By end of 1959 some 12,000 Saab 93s had been shipped to USA, already Saab's largest export market.

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    1957
    Saab Saxomat automatic clutch offered as an option.

    1958
    Saab's first "cult car" the Saab 93 Granturismo 750 (predecessor to Saab Sport).

    1959
    Saab 95 * station*wagon version * launched. Featured fold*down, rearward facing third seat making it a seven*seater. First units assembled in Linköping.

    1960
    Saab 96 revealed (February 17). Major exterior changes and improvements including flow*through air*circulation, larger and more powerful engine. The 96 was to become the mainstay of Saab sales throughout the 60's. Production capacity now raised to 30,000 units annually and decision to move up to 50,000 already made.

    1960-1963
    Period of outstanding success for Saab in international rallying brings world renown to the Saab brand: Erik Carlsson's three straight overall wins in the British RAC rally, 1960, *61 and *62 (first ever triple) and the Monte Carlo 1962 and 1963.

    1962
    Seatbelts are introduced as standard, several years before becoming mandatory. Saab Sport (special version of Saab 96), featuring 841 cc engine, developing 52 bhp with separate engine lubrication and triple carburetors, as well as front disc brakes, presented at Stockholm Motor Show in Spring of 1962.

    1963
    Saab becomes first volume maker to offer diagonally split dual brake circuits (MY 64).

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  2. #2
    Frank
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    1964
    April 2 (name's day in Sweden for Gudmund) sees start of first all new car under project name "Gudmund" and which was to become the Saab 99.

    1966
    Saab's first four-stroke engine: the Ford-built V4 introduced in the Saab 96 and 95, Initially in parallel with the two-stroke engine, but the latter was swiftly phased out as the V4 became an immediate commercial and rallying success.

    1967
    Sixten Sason, designer of Saab cars, dies shortly before the Saab 99 is previewed for the press in Stockholm on November 22 in its initial two-door version.
    First completely new model since the 92-96, it is powered by a 1.7 liter in-line engine developed for Saab by Ricardo and built in the UK by Triumph.

    1967
    Saab Sonett II arrives. A two-seater sports car developed specifically for the US market to bring glamour to the Saab name in an automotive market where European rally success had little impact. Initially launched with the two-stroke engine from the Saab 96 (just 258 units) but soon fitted with the V4. The II was added to distinguish it from original Sonett which now became Sonett I.

    1968
    Pilot series of Saab 99 tested by Saab engineers and hundreds of private drivers in Sweden in a final field test prior to volume production in the autumn as MY 69.

    1969
    Saab-Scania AB formed following merger of Saab AB (then manufacturer of military jets, Datasaab computers, advanced electronics, as well as Saab cars) with Scania-Vabis AB (trucks, buses and diesel engines).

    New automotive division formed to encompass all vehicle operations within Saab-Scania with head office in Södertälje, involving transfer of all passenger car commercial staff from Linköping. Production and engineering (excluding drive train) continue in Trollhättan. Work starts on development of own 2-liter engine for the Saab 99 range to be made in a new engine plant in Södertälje.

    Saab-Valmet plant starts operations at Uusikaupunki. This 50 per cent owned operation was established for assembly of CKD Saab cars both for Finland and for re-exportation.

    1970
    Sonett III (with more contemporary design) launched.
    Headlight wiper-washers presented (MY 71). February 1970: total production from start in 1949 passes 500,000 mark.

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    1971
    Heated driver's seat and self-repairing 5 mph bumpers (MY 72) plus high level of interior safety features gain Saab first international safety award. Saab 99 gets electronically controlled fuel injection plus Saab's first automatic transmission.


    1971
    Stig Blomqvist wins two world championship events: Swedish Rally and the RAC. Blomqvist goes on to win the Swedish Rally six times and the Swedish national Rally championship 7 times for Saab.

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    1972
    Saab 99 named Car of the Year 1972 in Sweden

    Saab Car Division formed and passenger car operations separated from Scania. Headquarters established in Nyköping together with the Swedish sales organization (Saab-ANA) as the base.

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    1974
    Saab 99 range of 2- and 4-door sedans broadened with the launch of a 3-door hatchback brought to market (pre-viewed August 1973) under the designation "Combi Coupe" - a concept that was to become a hallmark for Saab in the '70s and '80s and influenced the design parameters for the original Saab 9000 and the second generation Saab 900. The five-door version appeared in 1975 as MY 76. Generally considered to be the first true hatchback, with practical fold down rear seat and large hatch opening to bumper level and a 1.5 m3 load area, and widely copied over the years.

    Assembly of Saab 99 models (CKD) starts at former Mercedes-Benz plant at Mechelen in Belgium.

    1975
    Rally debut of the Saab 99 - Saab EMS with experimental 220 bhp 16 valve engine wins Boucles de Spa Rally in Belgium with Stig Blomqvist as driver.

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  3. #3
    Frank
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    1976
    Saab reveals its innovative Turbo Concept to the press in August. Some 100 pre-series cars built for field testing and press testing to build up awareness. Emission control system with 3-way catalyst and Lambda sensor introduced. One millionth Saab car leaves assembly line in Trollhättan.

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    1977
    IAA motor show in Frankfurt sees the market launch of the Saab 99 Turbo initially available as a three-door hatchback and easily recognized by unique "Inca" wheels and distinctive rear spoiler. Instant market success and enormous media attention increases interest in the Saab brand. Saab Turbo quickly becomes new "cult car".

    1978
    Launch of the Saab 900, based on 99 platform but with longer wheel-base and 21 cm longer body, new front and all new interior. Initially only as 3- or 5-door hatchback. Cabin ventilation air filter - another world first from Saab - highly acclaimed by pollen-sufferers.

    Both Saab 96 and Saab 99 remain in production and for a brief period Saab has three model lines.

    1979
    Work starts on Project X-29 (code name for the 9000) in co-operation with Lancia and later Fiat.

    1980
    Saab 96 production discontinued in January 1980 (the 95 already February 1978). Thus ended 30 years production of the 92-93-95-96 family, with a total of 730,607 cars.

    1980
    Saab 99 Turbo: the first turbocharged car to win a world championship rally event: Stig Blomqvist, Swedish Rally 1980. Four-door version of Saab 900 introduced (MY 1981).

    1981
    Patented APC System (for Automatic Performance Control) introduced to control turbo boost pressure and enable safe running on varying octane ratings. An innovation that strengthens Saab engineering repute and confidence in turbocharged cars.

    First side mirror with split field (introduced on MY 1982 cars) to cover blind angle earns Automobilclub von Deutschland award as safety improvement of the year.

    1982
    Asbestos-free brakes: Saab first car manufacturer in the world with this development (MY83).

    1983
    Saab 900 Convertible design study shown at IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt.

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    1984
    First four-valve turbo engine car appears in the Saab 900 Aero. 16-valve Engine Concept (with 4 valves per cylinder) was revealed a year earlier at the 1983 Geneva Motor Show.

    1984
    Saab 9000 press launch in May. Only third all-new model in Saab's history. Initially planned as large 5-door luxury car with a sedan profile but with the practicality and flexibility of a hatchback. Vast interior space gains EPA rating as a "Large Car" in US alongside Cadillac, Lincoln etc.

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    1985
    Saab reveals revolutionary Saab Direct Ignition at the Stockholm Motor Show. Saab DI System is an advanced engine management concept, featuring unique cylinder head with one coil mounted on each spark plug (and thus no distributor or other moving parts).

    1986
    Saab 900 Convertible launched on the US market as MY 86 and on other markets as MY 87.

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    1986
    Two world and 21 international speed records set by three completely standard production Saab 9000s driven 100,000 km, non-stop for 21 days at the Talladega Speedway in USA. Fastest car averaged 213.229 kph.

    1987
    The 2 millionth Saab produced. ABS brakes introduced on the Saab 9000, the first front-wheel drive car to have this feature.

    1988
    Four-door version of Saab 9000 designated "CD" launched in early '88. The Saab 9000 CD was the launch car for the patented Saab Direct Ignition System.
    Driver's side airbag, Saab Traction Control and optimized emission controls with pre-heated Lambda sensor.

    1989
    Inauguration of new plant in Malmö which featured parallel assembly. Plastic components code-marked to facilitate re-cycling. Light pressure turbo engine introduced in 900 series (MY 90).

    December 15: Surprise announcement that GM was to buy 50 per cent of Saab-Scania's passenger car business following establishment of new entity: Saab Automobile AB.

    1990
    Saab Automobile AB officially formed March 15 (but operates as such as of Jan. 1). David J. Herman appointed first President and CEO.
    Head Office officially transferred to Trollhättan.
    Component plants in Kristinehamn, Kramfors, Halden and Nyköping closed or sold off. Saab 9000 ranked Safest Car in Sweden by Folksam (first time this biennial award is given and subsequently twice again awarded to Saab for 9000 in '92 and '94).

    The Saab 9000 is hailed as Sweden's safest car by the Folksam Insurance Company. The distinction is awarded every other year, and Saab receives it again in 1992 and 1994.

    1991
    Major facelift and upgrade of the Saab 9000. The 5-door version designated 9000 CS, with new front and rear design. Other changes include completely new inner body-structure with higher levels of crash resistance including advanced side protection and stiffer body for improved ride and roadholding. CFC-free air conditioning - another Saab first.
    Investor buys all shares in Saab-Scania AB and thereby becomes joint owner of Saab Automobile AB.

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  4. #4
    Frank
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    1992
    Saab Trionic System with 32-bit micro-processor for engine management launched in Saab 9000. September: Keith O. Butler-Wheelhouse takes over as President and CEO.

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    1993
    All-new Saab 900 launched in Trollhättan. First time an existing Saab model is replaced with a completely new version in same market segment. Evolutionary design gets positive reception in that the new 900 shows its heritage. Saab 900 gets high marks for new safety features, new 2 liter turbo engine and the Saab Sensonic automatic clutch. First Saab car to offer a V6 engine as a complement to traditional 4-cylinder power plants.

    More than 30,000 people assemble in main square in Trollhättan to get a first view of the public unveiling of the new Saab 900.

    1994
    Saab 900 3-door Coupé and new 900 Convertible unveiled at Detroit Auto Show.

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    1995
    Saab Automobile reports first profit for full year (1994). Saab reveals asymmetrically turbocharged 3.0 litre V6 engine and other future engine innovations at Frankfurt Motor Show IAA. Saab Ecopower Concept launched.

    1996
    Saab reveals Saab Active Head Restraint, SAHR, at Geneva Motor Show. Robert W. Hendry appointed President and CEO.

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    1996
    Six completely standard Saab 900 models in unique endurance test at the Talladega Superspeedway set 40 new international speed records for distances up to 25,000 miles, with 100 motoring journalists taking part.

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    1997
    Saab celebrates its 50th anniversary as car maker. The refurbished and expanded Saab Car Museum serves as the hub of the celebrations.

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    1997
    The Saab 9-5 is unveiled in Trollhättan during the summer. The car has its first public showing outside the Saab Museum and attracts around 25 000 persons.

    1998
    The Saab 9-3, an upgraded version of the Saab 900, has its premiere at the motor exhibition in Detroit in January and goes on sale as the 1998 model.

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    1998
    The Saab 9-5 SportWagon , Saab's first wagon model in thirty years, is presented at a preview in May. It goes on sale as the 1999 model. Among its unique refinements are load-securing rails and, as an optional extra, a sliding load floor.

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    1999
    The high-performance variant of the Saab 9-3 Viggen premieres at the motor show in New York at the end of March and is test-driven by the assembled world press at the launch in Monte Carlo a month later.

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    1999
    Saab's new Paint Shop is brought into full production during the spring.

    The Saab 9-5 Aero is shown for the first time at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

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    2000
    General Motors and Investor come to an agreement whereby the GM Group is to take over Saab Automobile AB. As from January 28, Saab is wholly owned by GM.

    Saab Variable Compression (SVC), a new engine concept that renders possible a radical reduction in fuel consumption without any impairment of engine performance, is presented at the motor salon in Geneva. Yet another engine concept, Saab Combustion Control (SCC), is shown for the first time at the motor show in Paris.

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  5. #5
    Frank
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    2001
    Saab's first concept car since 1985, the Saab 9X, is shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. For the first time, the good points of a sport coupe, a roadster, a wagon and a pickup are accommodated in one and the same car.

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    2001
    An upgraded Saab 9-5 is unveiled to the press in Copenhagen in July. Among the innovations is a 3-liter diesel engine.

    2001
    An upgraded Saab 9-5 is unveiled to the press in Copenhagen in July. A host of design and engineering improvements includes the introduction of a sporty, all-new 3.0-liter , V6 turbo diesel enginge.

    2002
    In January, President and CEO, Peter Augustsson, is also appointed Chairman of the Board of Saab Automobile AB.
    2002
    Another concept, the Saab 9-3X, is unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in January. Combining an off-road capability with sporty, coupé-like styling, the 280 bhp 9-3X is a further demonstration of Saab's commitment to distinctive, original design.

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    2002
    The all-new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan is launched to the world's press at Stockholm in July, ahead of sales beginning in September. Focused on delivering a sporty, 'fun to drive' experience, Saab's first compact, premium sedan features an exceptionally refined, all-new powertrain, including aluminum, 2.0-liter turbocharged engines; a unique Saab 'ReAxs' passive rear-wheel steer characteristic for responsive handling; powerful electronics with an industry-leading use of fiber optics for advanced 'infotainment' systems and outstanding levels of safety, including second-generation Saab Active Head Restraints. A 'Profiler' function allows personalized, pre-programming of up to 24 equipment settings.

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    2003
    The all-new Saab 9-3 Convertible is unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March and driven for the first time by the world's press in June at Copenhagen. The new Convertible was developed in parallel with the 9-3 Sport Sedan, combining its fun-to-drive chassis dynamics with a body structure almost three times stiffer than that of its predecessor. Special features include an advanced automatic soft-top operation, a CargoSET trunk expansion system, pop-up roll bars and a versatile CargoWing rear spoiler offering ski/snowboard stowage.

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    2003
    At the New York Auto show in April, Saab announces a co-operation with Fuji Heavy Industries to produce a performance-orientated, all-wheel-drive hatchback model, the Saab 9-2, for the North American market. Positioned
    below the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan as a new premium entry model, it will be developed with Subaru, Fuji's automotive division, and produced in Japan.
    Sales are scheduled to begin in Spring 2004.

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    2003
    Saab declares its intention to enter a new market segment by unveiling the Saab 9-3 Sport-Hatch Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
    Challenging the traditional distinction between hatchback and wagon bodystyles, its sporty five-door, four-seater format includes innovative load-carrying features, such as an integrated tailgate bike-carrier. Powered by a 250 hp, 2.0-liter turbo engine with Saab Sentronic automatic transmission, the 9-3 Sport-Hatch Concept signals Saab's commitment to offer a distinctive alternative choice in the premium mid-size wagon segment.

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    2003
    The Saab 9-2X is unveiled to the press in Los Angeles in December before making its public debut at the 2004 LA and Detroit auto shows. Presented as an early entrant into the emerging US premium sports compact segment, there will be two variants of the sporty and versatile five-door format, a 227 hp 9-2X Aero and 165 hp 9-2X Linear, both backed by standard, full-time all-wheel-drive systems. It has been developed in co-operation with Subaru, Fuji Heavy Industries' automotive division, and will be built in Japan. Start of sales in the US and Canada is confirmed for July 2004.

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    2004
    In January, Saab announces global sales of 131,706 units for 2003, the second highest sales volume in its history. In the US, almost 48,000 cars were sold, an all-time record.

    2004
    The 9-7X, Saab's entry into the American mid-luxury SUV segment, is unveiled at the New York International Auto Show in April. Due to go on sale in spring 2005, it will be powered by a choice of 300 bhp, 5.3V8 or 275 bhp, 4.2 six cylinder gasoline engines.

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    2004
    In May, Saab announces a sporty, state-of-the-art 1.9-liter turbo diesel engine for the 9-3 Sport Sedan in 150 bhp (16-valve) or 120 bhp (8-valve) formats. Sales to begin with Model Year 05 production.

    2004
    In June, EuroNCAP announces a maximum five-star crash safety rating for the Saab 9-3 Convertible, which becomes the first four-seater soft-top to achieve such a distinction. Saab's entire European product line-up is now five-star rated.

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    2004
    As US sales of the Saab 9-2X sports compact model begin in July, Saab and Fuji Heavy Industries, the Japanese manufacturer of Subaru cars, announce an expansion of their co-operation through the integrated development of a future new 'cross-over' vehicle.

    2004
    At the Paris Motor Show in September, Saab announces the development of new BioPower engine for the 9-5 range, which can run on ethanol or gasoline. Also on display is Saab's unique Alcokey concept, a miniature alcohol-sensing device which is part of the car's key fob and intended to help drivers observe drink-driving rules.

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