Archive for May, 2002

Saab and Its Owners Top HLDI Safety Study

Posted on 30. May, 2002 by .




Saab and Its Owners Top HLDI Safety Study

Saab congratulates the drivers of its 9-3 5-door, 9-3 Convertible and 9-5 Sedan for helping these vehicles finish in the top three in their respective group in HLDI safety study.

Norcross, Ga. – Drivers of Saabs are among the highest educated group of drivers in the market. They are also among the safest.

According to the recently published Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) report, the Saab 9-3 5-door topped the midsize four-door category, the 9-3 Convertible finished second in midsize sports cars, and the 9-5 Sedan was third among the midsize luxury group for relative frequency of injury insurance claims. (The 9-3 Coupe and 9-5 SportWagon do not appear in the study due to a statistically insuffient number of collision claims.) HLDI’s study, covering model years 1998 – 2000, compares cars on the basis of cost of injuries sustained following on-road crashes. The study measures both the frequency a given model is involved in a collision and the frequency with which accidents result in injuries requiring compsensation from an insurance company. Saab congratulates its drivers who significantly helped achieve these top scores.

Saab’s real-life safety philosophy puts priority on systems and structures that help protect Saab occupants during a real-world collision. Although Saab conducts numerous laboratory crash tests ? including simulated animal collisions and truck-to-car side impacts ? it is real-life collisions and their infinite variables that drive Saab safety engineers and their work.

One of the many factors that may help explain why Saab drivers are less likely to suffer injury is the Saab Active Head Restraint (SAHR) system. Investigations have shown that this system reduces the risk of serious neck injuries relating to whiplash in rear-end collisions by as much as 75 percent.

A vehicle’s safety performance is the product of many factors, including driver and occupant behavior, personal judgment and other variables. The design of the car also influences its real-life safety integrity. The 2002 HLDI data again supports that when it comes to injury insurance claim rates, Saab and Saab drivers perform well together in the real world. For more information, the complete report can be found on the HLDI Internet website at

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New Saab 9-3 Model Fuels Expansion Plan

Posted on 15. May, 2002 by .




New Saab 9-3 Model Fuels Expansion Plan

The announcement of the all-new 2003 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan is backed by the biggest investment program in new models and production facilities in Saab’s history. It also signals the Swedish manufacturer’s most competitive entry yet into the largest segment of the premium car market, going head-to-head with sedans from BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

Norcross, GA – Saab’s all-new 2003 9-3 Sport Sedan, announced May 13, replaces the current range of three and five-door hatchbacks and is the first step in a carefully phased five-year growth plan targeted at raising annual sales and production figures to over 200,000 cars, up from current levels of approximately 130,000 cars.

Almost alone among the world’s premium manufacturers, Saab has continued with its traditional hatchback formula. However, the premium car segment is dominated by sales of sedans, which account for almost 60 percent of total sales. The remaining 40 percent are wagons, convertibles and coupés.

Saab has already had tremendous success with its 9-5 sedan, which replaced the 9000 hatchback in 1998. Annual U.S. sales of the 9-5 have been nearly 70 percent higher than the 9000’s best sales of 11,858 units in 1988. Now with a new 9-3 Sport Sedan model, instead of a hatchback, Saab is positioned to compete head-to-head with the other sedans in this large and growing marketplace.

A sporty, fun-to-drive focus is an essential qualifier for this type of car. Customers in this part of the segment are younger on average, aged 35 to 45 years old, and place a higher priority on a sporty, performance-oriented experience. In this respect, the positioning of the new sports sedan draws more strongly on Saab’s tradition for fine chassis dynamics and turbo-inspired performance than in any previous model.

Research also shows that if versatility is an important requirement, customers often prefer a wagon to a hatchback. Hence, the significance of the 9-3 Sports Sedan as the first, core product in the roll-out of a number of distinct variants.

While the arrival of the new Saab 9-3 initiates the first phase of a product-led growth plan, Saab has already laid the foundation to deliver higher production volumes and quality levels with a $450 million investment in new facilities and machinery at its Trollhättan, Sweden plant. Saab has, in effect, built the equivalent of a new factory.

Production of the new 9-3 will utilize a 226,000-square-foot expansion to the assembly shop – the biggest investment in this area for more than 40 years. Last year, a 135,000-square-foot addition to the body shop was completed, allowing different body parts for various models to be produced simultaneously. And a new, fifth press line has also been added to the press shop, as well as new efficiencies that allow a 30 percent increase in productivity. Include the addition of an entirely new paint shop, among the most modern and cleanest in the world, and all the main production processes at Trollhättan have been enlarged and modernized.

“We have the tools to do the job,” said Saab Automobile’s president and CEO, Peter Augustsson. “We have the products we need under development and we have the capacity we need to meet our goals, including the highest levels of quality assurance.

“It is fair to say that Saab is raising its game. For the first time, we have what we need to consistently build our market share year on year.”

The investment in new products and production facilities is the largest in Saab’s history and has been planned and resourced with the full cooperation of owner General Motors. It is a clear statement of GM’s commitment to the expansion of Saab as the leading European premium brand in its portfolio of auto manufacturers.

“We have also done a great deal of work in identifying and clearly defining the key characteristics of the Saab brand,” commented Mikael Eliasson, vice president, sales and marketing. “We have examined how we should best communicate the brand. Apart from more tightly focused marketing, that also means taking the Saab brand out to locations where our customers work, socialize and travel. For example, there are innovative ‘shop windows’ for Saab, such as brand centers at airports and railway stations, and new retail outlets at prestigious, metropolitan locations around the world.”

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The first sketch: Saab Engineer Creates Marketing Image

Posted on 13. May, 2002 by .



Photo Credit: Saab Automobile


The first sketch: Saab Engineer Creates Marketing Image

During the early development stages of the new 9-3 Sport Sedan, Saab’s chief chassis engineer, Ekkehard Schwartz, was asked to describe the car’s core appeal. His immediate response was a quick sketch, but not of the car itself. He drew the image of an exhilarated driver.

Norcross, GA – The whole idea, Schwartz explained, was to build the car around the driver, focusing on achieving a rewarding, interactive experience behind the wheel. Every element of the design of the new Saab 9-3, therefore, aims to enhance communication to and from the car, involving rather than insulating the driver. That includes the design of the chassis, the powertrain, the steering, all controls and the immediate driver’s environment, the cockpit of the car.

The key element of the sketch is the big grin to the driver’s face, Schwartz emphasized. The pure joy of driving is, ultimately, what it’s all about.

Schwartz’ original sketch has now been adopted as the central image in an international marketing campaign to announce the arrival of Saab’s first compact sports sedan. “My artistic abilities may be rather limited, but it is clearly the message that counts,” he noted. “Although I think I’ll stick to my career in chassis development work.”

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World Premiere: All-new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan

Posted on 13. May, 2002 by .



Photo Credits: Saab Automobile


World Premiere: All-new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan

· First Saab positioned in premium, compact sport sedan segment
· World class chassis dynamics enhance driver involvement
· Long wheelbase and wide track for good handling and spacious interior
· New powertrain includes lightweight, aluminum turbo engine
· New five-speed automatic transmission and six-speed manual gearbox
· In-house Saab electronics for sophisticated powertrain behavior
· Fiber optic electronics for advanced, modular ‘infotainment’ systems
· Exceptionally strong body for good handling, refinement and safety
· Second generation Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR)
· Load-limiting seat-belts, dual stage front airbags and side curtain airbags
· ‘Profiler’ customization program and choice of four specification levels

Norcross, GA – The all-new 2003 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan is the first step in the biggest product development program in Saab’s history. It spearheads the arrival of an entirely new family of cars, each focused on meeting the particular requirements of a different niche in the market.

As Saab’s first contender in the premium, compact sport sedan segment, the focus for the new 9-3 is dedicated to delivering a unique, fun-to-drive experience that promises to set new standards for the class.

The coupé-like silhouette, with steeply raked windshield and rear window and short front and rear overhangs, communicates a strong, sporty stance, which is reinforced by negative wheel cambers. The overall look is designed to convey a sense of movement even when the car is stationary. The shape of the windows and the wedge-like profile also combine with the sleek integrated headlights and grille to give the car its distinctive Saab identity.

Excellent aerodynamics including a highly competitive 0.28 drag coefficient, resulting in low lift forces at the rear axle, improving high speed stability and braking. Careful airflow management also benefits the driver by helping to prevent road grime building up on the side windows and taillights.

The new model comes with a choice of two new, 2.0-liter, all-aluminum turbocharged engines, ranging in power from 175 to 210 hp. The front-wheel-drive transmissions include five- and six-speed manual gearboxes and a five-speed automatic with Saab Sentronic manual selection and the option of steering wheel controls. There will be three “Forms,” or specification levels: Linear, Arc, and Vector.

Compared to its predecessor, the new 9-3 offers more spacious accommodations, particularly for rear passengers, within the same overall length. Front and rear width is increased by 2.16 in. (55 mm) and the wheelbase is 2.8 in. (71 mm) longer.

It is price-positioned to compete with the BMW 3-series, Audi A4, and Volvo S60. Sales start in October 2002.

The main features of the new 9-3 contribute to an enriched, sporty driving experience in four key areas: driver involvement, refined performance, driver adaptability and driver-centered design.

Driver Involvement
The new 9-3 is the product of the most exhaustive development program in chassis dynamics undertaken by Saab. The handling of the car, its sensitivity to driver inputs and a high degree of feedback all combine to deliver a level of driving involvement and pleasure that challenges the class benchmark. The main highlights include:
· ‘ReAxs’ passive rear-wheel-steer characteristic. The kinetics of the rear suspension are tuned for a unique rear-wheel-steer response designed to improve handling and stability.
· Four-link independent rear suspension. High lateral stiffness adds stability and grip; longitudinal compliance enhances ride comfort.
· Low mounted steering rack gives excellent feel and precision with progressive power assistance and fast response.
· Front suspension is MacPherson struts with lower A-arms mounted on a hydroformed, rubber-isolated sub-frame. High lateral bushing stiffness improves steering response and precision; high longitudinal compliance contributes to ride comfort.
· Advanced chassis electronic systems. Chassis features Saab-tuned “user-friendly” ESP (Electronic Stability Program), EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution), CBC (Cornering Brake Control) and TCS (Traction Control System).
· Optimized braking power. Front and rear brake discs are larger than previous model; varying in size, depending on specification level.
· Minimized unsprung weight for better ride quality. Hub carriers and toe and lower rear suspension links are aluminum, while anti-roll bars are hollow section steel.
· “Shear” bushing at top of rear shock absorber mountings adds to the compliant ride quality and effective vibration suppression.

Refined Performance
Saab is a center of expertise within General Motors for the development of turbocharged gasoline engines. The 2003 Saab 9-3’s new powertrain adds enhanced refinement and driveability to Saab’s traditional strengths of high torque for strong, mid-range pulling power. It also delivers a level of sporty performance in keeping with the chassis dynamics, further reinforcing the new car’s driver focus. The main highlights include:
· New all-aluminum 2.0-liter turbo engine. Saab developed and tuned two versions of the new engine for 175 hp (badged 2.0t) and 210 hp (badged 2.0T) with high torque for confident passing. All internal components are unique to Saab. Balance shafts and dual-mass flywheel offer greater running refinement.
· Sophisticated powertrain performance. Highly sensitive and precise throttle control, adaptive torque delivery and smooth power on/power off characteristics are benefits of the new Trionic-8 engine management, the latest version of Saab’s own 32-bit in-house system.
· More transmission choices. Updated five-speed (175 hp) and all-new six-speed (210 hp) Saab manual gearboxes are available. A new five-speed, adaptive automatic transmission with Saab Sentronic manual gear selection and optional steering wheel controls is available.
· Unique “pendulum” engine mounting. Engine noise and vibration is reduced by installation of rods at the base of the engine for optimal torque control.

Driver Adaptability
In addition to its driver-focused chassis dynamics and powertrain performance, the new 9-3 is also designed to adapt to a wide range of driver needs, establishing a close interaction with its owner. Main highlights include:
· “Profiler” customization. A wide range of functions can be pre-set according to personal preference, including: anti-theft alarm, parking assistance, rain sensitive wipers, and automatic climate control.
· Advanced electronics. The new Saab 9-3 features the most complete automotive systems use of fiber optics. With a signal capacity 50 times greater than conventional wire circuitry, fiber optics provide a high-speed platform for advanced in-car “infotainment.”
· Dual zone air conditioning with automatic balance control. The system senses changes in sunlight or shade outside the car and automatically adjusts airflow to keep interior temperature constant.
· Three specification levels. “Linear” features an understated interior with attractive leather upholstery and anthracite trim. “Arc” adds more luxury, with 16-inch alloy wheels and leather interior with poplar wood trim. “Vector” adds a sporty flair, with 17-inch alloy wheels and a sports leather interior with matte chrome trim.
· Inaugural Linear Launch Package. An optional package will be offered for the Linear form that includes 16″ 10-spoke alloy wheels, in-dash 6-CD player, upgraded stereo system, power sunroof and driver’s seat, and lower body color match trim.
· Additional load-carrying potential. A standard 60/40 split folding rear seat with ski hatch provides additional utility to carry extra cargo.
· Lower running costs. Longer service intervals and reduced maintenance times minimize inconvenience for the owner. Vehicles are covered under the Saab No Charge Scheduled Maintenance Program for 3 years or 36.000 miles, whichever comes first, for factory-recommended scheduled maintenance performed at an authorized Saab dealer in the United States. On-board algorithm adapts oil change cycle to how car is used.
· Host of comfort features. Designed to make living with the new 9-3 as convenient as possible, these include: a remote window and sunroof operation, “halo” perimeter lighting at night, automatic dimming interior mirror, and integrated garage door remote.

Built Around the Driver
Consistent with all Saab vehicles, the new 9-3 is built from “the driver outwards.” That means the cabin ergonomics, the instrumentation, the controls, and the seating position are all developed from the driver’s perspective. Its advanced safety features benefit all who use the car. Highlights include:
· Cockpit feel. The instrument panel arcs around the driver, with a logical layout and tactile feel to controls. Steering wheel adjusts for both rake and reach. Green instrument illumination and Night Panel function contribute to safe night driving.
· High position display. Saab Information Display (SID) is located on top of the fascia near the base of the windscreen, close the driver’s natural field of vision. Screen shows radio settings and driver information.
· Structural strength. With added torsional rigidity, the body is more than twice as stiff as its predecessor’s. This contributes to outstanding ride and refinement, handling and safety properties.
· Designed for Real-life Safety. Many dozens of different crash configurations were carried out during development, utilizing Saab’s database of more than 6,000 real-life road accidents. Tests include truck-to-car side impacts, car-to-car frontal impacts with a closing speed of 74 mph and replica moose impacts.
· Second generation Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR). Pioneered by Saab, SAHR helps prevent neck injury for front seat occupants in rear-end impacts. Integrated into the seat backs, this safety system is improved for even quicker action.
· Integrated safety features. Restraint systems include seat belt pre-tensioning and load limiting for front seating positions, combined with dual-stage front airbags, seat-mounted side airbags and new side curtain airbags.

Announcing the arrival of the new model, Saab Automobile President and CEO Peter Augustsson, commented, “This car offers a level of driver involvement and responsive performance never seen before from Saab. The integration of a fine-handling chassis with the new, refined powertrain delivers a true ‘fun-to-drive’ package.

“It is a formula designed to appeal to young, premium-car buyers who place a priority on a rewarding driving experience, but who also want to express their individuality through choosing a distinctive, less commonplace brand.”

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Saab Wins World Traffic Safety Achievement Award

Posted on 01. May, 2002 by .




New York, NY — Saab Automobile was recognized at the 2001 World Traffic Safety Symposium as the winner of the 2001 Safety Achievement Award based on its development and implementation of the Saab Active Head Restraint (SAHR). This innovative system is designed to protect front seat occupants against whiplash-related injuries resulting from a rear-end collision. This achievement award highlights Saab’s continued commitment to its real-life safety philosophy.

Saab wins 2001 honors
Founded in 1990, the World Traffic Safety Symposium was formed to address the growing concern of traffic injuries and fatalities on roadways. The Symposium is dedicated to bringing auto manufacturers, public and private organizations, and the media together to share information and discuss innovative ways to make automobile travel safer.
Each year, the group gathers research and data from around the globe to create a presentation of the most interesting and innovative advancements in traffic safety. Industry experts, journalists, and manufacturers are invited to attend this showcase of the most cutting edge, life-saving safety features available in vehicles today.

Whiplash among leading medical costs
“Over the past few years, safety agencies, insurance companies, and manufacturers have gathered large amounts of data regarding the frequency and severity of neck and cervical spine injuries,” said Dr. David Viano, Saab’s Manager of Advanced Safety Research and Development. “The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that there are over 800,000 cases of whiplash annually in the U.S., with an average societal cost of 4.2 billion dollars. In addition, more than half of the medical insurance compensation to car accident victims is related to whiplash injuries.”
Saab developed a dynamic head restraint and seat back structure that is designed to
prevent neck and spine injuries that can cause long-term disabilities. Saab first introduced SAHR on its 9-5 model line in 1998 and included the system as standard equipment on all model year 1999 vehicles worldwide.
Real-life crashes in Sweden from April 1998 through September 2000 have been evaluated in a field study. The results of this study are scheduled for release in May — however, early indications show positive results with a significant reduction in long-term whiplash injury.

How the SAHR works
The SAHR system is entirely mechanical and is based on the lever principle. An upper padded support is connected to a pressure plate in the backrest of the seat. In certain rear collisions, the occupant’s body is typically forced by the crash pulse into the backrest, which moves the pressure plate towards the rear. Subsequently, the head restraint is designed to move up and forward to “catch” the occupant’s head before the violent whiplash movement can start.
The precise activation of the system is determined by the force with which the front seat occupant’s back is forced against the backrest, the magnitude of the collision forces, and by the occupant’s weight. A major benefit of the mechanical SAHR system is that in most accidents, it requires no post-collision repairs to restore it to operational condition, unlike pyrotechnic systems such as airbags.

Real Life Safety Initiative
The SAHR is an example of Saab’s philosophy towards real-life safety. Saab puts priority on systems and structures designed to protect Saab occupants during a real-world collision. Although Saab conducts numerous crash tests — including simulated animal collisions and truck-to-car side impacts — it is real-life collisions and their many variables that drive Saab safety engineers and their work.
“Real-life safety is what matters and is what we are continuously aiming to improve,” said Viano. “That is why we are gratified with winning this achievement award. It is not based on a controlled test or a concept — it is based on performing well in the real world.”
Saab Cars USA, Inc. is the importer of Saab 9-5 and 9-3 automobiles for Sweden-based Saab Automobile AB and is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, near Atlanta.

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Production Concept