Archive for October, 2002

IIHS Study Touts Saab's Active Head Restraint

Posted on 23. Oct, 2002 by .



Photo Credit: IIHS


IIHS Study Touts Saab’s Active Head Restraint

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study finds SAHR significantly reduces neck injuries in rear-end collisions
According to the study, SAHR provided a 43% reduction in neck injury claims; 55% reduction in claim rates for women, 31% reduction in claim rates for men.

Norcross, Ga. — New research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has determined that Saab’s Active Head Restraint (SAHR) system reduces neck injuries among car occupants by 43 percent. The study measures the effectiveness of the SAHR system by comparing the rates of insurance claims for driver neck injuries in rear-end crashes before and after the SAHR system was introduced. Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm insurance companies supplied claims data for the study and participated in the research. The SAHR system was introduced in 1997 as the world’s first active, anti-whiplash head restraint and is standard equipment in all Saab models.

“The IIHS study reaffirms our own research that the SAHR system is effective in reducing whiplash in rear-end collisions,” said Stefan Olsén, development engineer in Saab’s Collision and Safety Department. “It’s more evidence that our real-life safety philosophy is sound. Good laboratory tests are helpful, but what is most important is that our safety systems perform well in real-life crashes.”

The 43 percent reduction in claim rates is significant because the SAHR system is compared to Saab’s previous head restrtaints which were, at the time, considered ‘best in class’ by the Swedish insurance company, Folksam. In a study released in 2000, Folksam found that the non-active head restraints in Saab 900 and 9000 models were among the best in the market.

In the current IIHS study, the reduction in neck injuries were greater for women than men. The SAHR system produced a 55 percent reduction in claim rates for women, compared with a 31 percent reduction for men. The SAHR system provides multiple adjustment points to allow the head restraint to be ideally positioned for most front-seat occupants.

In a study released last year by the Journal of Trauma, Saab’s Active Head Restraint system was determined to reduce the risk of serious neck injuries relating to whiplash in rear-end collisions by as much as 75 percent.

Real-life accident statistics show that neck injuries are one of the most common results of rear-end collisions, even at relatively low speeds. The triggering factor in these whiplash injuries is the violent movement of the head in relation to the body during an impact from behind, often leaving victims with long-term injury and pain. In the event of a rear-end collision, the SAHR system is designed to limit the head movement of the occupant during the impact, helping to reduce the risk of whiplash injuries.

The 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 some rear collisions, the occupant’s body will be forced by the crash pulse into the backrest, which moves the pressure plate towards the rear. Subsequently, the head restraint is moved up and forward to “catch” the occupant’s head before the dangerous whiplash movement can start. The precise activation of the system is determined by the force with which the occupant’s back is forced against the backrest, the magnitude of the collision forces and by the occupant’s weight.

A benefit of the mechanical SAHR system is that in most accidents it needs no repairs to restore it to operational condition after it has been activated. After the head restraint has constrained the movement of the neck, it reverts to its initial position and is immediately ready to operate again. As whiplash injuries usually occur in low-speed collisions in which the car may sustain only limited damage, the active head restraint does not increase the cost of the repairs needed after the crash.

Saab Cars USA, Inc. is the importer of Saab 9-5 and 9-3 automobiles for Saab Automobile AB and is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, near Atlanta.

For more information on the IIHS study, see For more information about the SAHR, see

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Demand for New Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan Exceeds Expectations

Posted on 23. Oct, 2002 by .



Photo Credit: Saab Cars, USA, Inc.


Demand for New Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan Exceeds Expectations

Worldwide, strong demand for the newly launched 2003 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan far exceeds supply, with the volume of orders more than double the number of cars that have been built during the first two months of production.

Internationally, over 14,000 cars are on order and only half that number have been manufactured. By the end of the year, Saab expects to receive 40,000 orders.

Norcross, GA — The first retail sale in the U.S. of the all-new Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan was recorded at Saab of Troy, near Detroit, Mich., kicking off the American launch of the new Swedish-built car. Saab dealers and customers throughout the U.S. and in markets worldwide are taking delivery of new cars and the manufacturer is trying to keep up with the overwhelming demand for the newest Saab model.

The first Saab 9-3 was a black Linear model with Launch Package, five-speed automatic transmission and heated seats, leased by Shirley Kennedy of Troy, MI for her 21-year-old daughter, Katie, a student at Michigan State University. According to Mrs. Kennedy, “Since Katie’s lease was about to be up on her Toyota 4-Runner, we looked at a lot of cars, including BMW, Land Rover, Acura. She wanted to wait before making a decision until the Saab 9-3 was out. I was worried about our deadline and wanted her to make a decision. She insisted on waiting for the Saab. I admit, I am very glad we did.

“There are so many things Katie liked about the car. The first thing that attracted her to the car was its sleek exterior design. Additionally, the inside is very plush yet the car is sporty. It drives great.”

The introduction of Saab’s new 9-3 Sport Sedan has followed a carefully planned strategy, including special-invitation previews, direct marketing and Internet publicity. During the pre-launch period from May to September, approximately 45,000 potential customers requested additional information on the new Saab 9-3 in the U.S., the Swedish company’s largest single market. That figure is approximately four times the number of annual sales of the former 9-3 hatchback model.

Right from the outset, the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan was designed to fulfill a role as a dynamic car loaded with driving pleasure, and this message was spread to the general public long before the launch itself got underway.

“We have been working with performance-related concepts as target themes since the car began to take shape on the drawing board almost five years ago. Our intention was to create vast interest and big expectations surrounding the launch,” noted Mikael Eliasson, Vice President Sales and Marketing at Saab Automobile AB, headquartered in Trollhättan, Sweden.

In European markets, the official launch kicked off in July with a special event in Stockholm, where more than 1,000 journalists, 4,500 sales staff from dealerships and 1,000 specially selected customers experienced the all-new 9-3 for the first time.

“The result of the launch was that the 4,500 sales staff acted as well-trained ambassadors for the car. We also received very positive articles and reports in the press,” Eliasson added.

In the U.S., the 9-3 officially began selling on Oct. 11, but in other international markets, approximately 7,000 cars have already been delivered to Saab dealers and their customers. During the last two months, more than 14,000 orders have been received in various markets. While the Saab 9-5 has a global market share of 9 percent in its segment, and the former Saab 9-3 hatchback had 3.5 percent in its segment, the sales objective for the new 9-3 Sport Sedan is set considerably higher, according to Eliasson.

“By the end of the year we will have received orders for 40,000 9-3 Sport Sedans, and of this we expect to be able to deliver 32,000 cars.

“Of those who have ordered, and in other ways demonstrated an interest in the 9-3 Sport Sedan, we know that many are owners of competing products who are taking the step to change marques. As we intended with this new car, we are clearly appealing to a broader audience,” Eliasson said.

Saab Cars USA, Inc. is the importer of Saab 9-5 and 9-3 automobiles for Saab Automobile AB and is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, near Atlanta. For more information about the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan, see

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