Archive for September, 2003

Saab Sells First All-New 2004 9-3 Convertible

Posted on 25. Sep, 2003 by .

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Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

2003-09-25


Saab Sells First All-New 2004 9-3 Convertible

Saab kicks off its 2004 Convertible selling season with the first 9-3 Convertible sold at Saab of Santa Monica, CA.

Saab Automobile’s production of convertibles has reached a landmark 200,000 units.

Norcross, GA – The first retail sale in the U.S. of the all-new 2004 Saab 9-3 Convertible was recorded at Saab of Santa Monica, CA, kicking off the American launch of the Swedish-designed 9-3 Convertible. Saab dealers and customers throughout the U.S. and in most markets worldwide are currently taking delivery of new cars and trying to keep up with the strong demand for the newest Saab model.

The first 2004 Saab 9-3 Convertible sold was an Arc model in new Espresso Black metallic paint, with Parchment leather interior, five-speed automatic transmission, Xenon headlights and heated seats, purchased by Lori Brener of Santa Monica.

According to Brener, “I decided on a convertible in January, but I didn’t want a two-seater. When I saw online that Saab was introducing its new 9-3 Convertible this fall, I wanted to wait for it. As soon as one was in, I did my shopping, including test driving last year’s Saab and the 2004 Volvo C70. I knew the right car for me was the new Saab 9-3, and I absolutely love it!” Brener bought the car the next day, on her 37th birthday.

The all-new Saab 9-3 Convertible brings a stylish, open-top dimension to the new 9-3 range and is the latest step in the biggest new product offensive in Saab’s history. It represents the most significant advance Saab has made in 20 years of designing four-seater, four-season soft tops and is poised to reaffirm the company’s leading position in the premium convertible segment.

Sweden-based Saab Automobile has been building convertibles since 1986 and recently passed its 200,000-car production milestone. The historic 200,000th soft top, a 2004 Saab 9-3 Convertible, was manufactured at the Magna Steyr factory near Graz, Austria.

Twenty Years of Producing Convertibles
The Saab Sonett 1, Saab’s very first open car, made its debut in 1956. Only six prototypes were manufactured, however. Apart from a sports car concept with a Targa roof that was designed in 1965, plans for an open-top model were put on ice until the beginning of the 1980’s.

At the Frankfurt International Motor Show in 1983, Saab surprised the car world with a convertible that was developed from the two-door version of the Saab 900. The public’s response exceeded all expectations and prompted Saab to announce plans for production of a Saab Convertible in 1984.

Since 1986, when series convertible production began, Saab has established itself as a leader in the premium segment for sporty, open four-seater cars that can be driven in all seasons.

During the spring of 1986, a limited series of 400 cars was produced for the American market. The cars were sold out before many customers realized that sales had begun. The following 1987 model was also sold out long before production started. Sales of the second generation of the Saab 900 Convertible began in 1994. The following year resulted in a 95 percent sales increase, from 7,100 cars in 1994 to 13,800 in 1995.

Sales of the Saab 9-3 Convertible, which was introduced in 1998, reached an all-time high in 2000 with 18,741 convertibles sold. Sales of the newly-designed 2004 Saab 9-3 Convertible are expected to increase even further.

History of the Saab Convertible

1950 Sixten Sason, Saab’s first designer, sketches a Saab 92-based convertible, although the concept never leaves the drawing board.

1956 Six examples of Saab’s first open car, the Saab Sonett Super Sport, are manufactured. The car was originally intended for rally racing, but changes to racing rules made the new car no longer a contender in the GT class.

1965 Sixten Sason designs “Catherina,” a working prototype with a Targa roof.

1978 The Saab 900 is launched.

1983 The prototype for the Saab 900 Convertible, developed from the 2-door Saab Sedan, is unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The exhibition car has an automatic soft top, a unique rear spoiler and three-part plastic molding to cover the lowered roof.

1984 Saab announces that the first 900 Convertible, with a specially reinforced body, will be manufactured in Uusikaupunki, Finland.

1986 The first 400 Saab 900 Convertibles are produced for the U.S. market.

1988 Production of the 900 Convertible exceeds 5,000 cars per year as it achieves cult status, particularly in the U.S.

1992 Sales reach 10,800 units.

1993 The final first-generation Saab 900 Convertible leaves Uusikaupunki in September. A total of 48,888 were produced.

1994 The new Saab 900 Convertible is previewed at the Detroit Auto Show. Production starts in Finland.

1995 The first complete sales year for the second generation Saab 900 Convertible results in a 95 percent sales increase, from 7,100 cars in 1994 to 13,800 in 1995.

1996 Sales reach 14,200.

1997 Saab 900 Convertible no. 100,000 is produced. Sales are the highest ever.

1998 Saab 9-3 Convertible is presented. Special features include hydraulic soft top operation and a larger rear window.

2000 Best-ever annual sales as 18,741 cars are sold. Compared to the late 1980’s, average annual sales have now more than doubled.

2003 The all-new model year 2004 Saab 9-3 Convertible is launched and test driven by the press in Copenhagen in June. Sales start in some European markets and the U.S. in September.

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Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan Named "Best Pick" in IIHS Crash Test

Posted on 25. Sep, 2003 by .

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2003-09-25

Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan Named “Best Pick” in IIHS Crash Test

Norcross, GA – Saab’s “Real-Life Safety” philosophy helped earn the 2003 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan a “Best Pick” designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In the most recent series of 40-mph frontal offset crash tests, IIHS tested seven new or redesigned vehicles, including the 2003 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan. The Saab was one of five vehicles that earned the Institute’s “Best Pick” honor in this round of testing. The crashworthiness test evaluates vehicles on three primary elements:

ï‚· Ability of the structural cage to protect the occupant compartment
ï‚· Risk of occupant injury
 How well occupant movement is controlled by the vehicle’s restraint system

The Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan received the highest possible rating of “good” in all three categories.

“We are pleased with the findings of the most recent IIHS test,” said Debra Kelly-Ennis, President of Saab Cars USA, Inc. “In this test, the car’s various safety systems performed exactly as designed, and the occupant compartment maintained its integrity to help reduce the risk of injury.”

Among the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan’s standard safety features are adaptive, dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags engineered into the front seats, seat belts featuring crash pre-tensioners and load limiters, and Saab’s ‘second generation’ Saab Active Head Restraint (SAHR 2). 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.

In addition to the seat-mounted side-impact airbags, the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan also features side-curtain airbags that deploy from the ceiling, offering protection to front and rear occupants. The side-curtain airbags are activated in side impacts and also in severe frontal impacts, when stage 2 activation of the front airbags is deployed. The side-curtain airbags remain inflated for up to three seconds in order to help prevent a passenger’s head from striking the side windows, roof pillars or exterior objects during the course of an impact sequence. This added protection is especially effective during an offset frontal crash, as the IIHS test duplicates, when the vehicle rotates after the collision.

Saab’s 9-5 model has also been highly rated by IIHS. The 2002 Saab 9-5 sedan earned a “Best Pick” honor following an IIHS offset front crash test in 2002. The 9-5 earned a top “good” rating for each of the Institute’s criteria in the crash test.

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, please visit www.saabusa.com.

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Saab Cars USA drives into model year 2004 with strong August sales

Posted on 03. Sep, 2003 by .

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2003-09-03

Saab Cars USA drives into model year 2004 with strong August sales

Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan sales continue upward, lifting year-to-date sales up 17% over last year.

Norcross, GA — August proved to be yet another strong month for the Swedish manufacturer in the U.S. Sales for the month came in at 4,209 vehicles, up three percent over 2002. For the year, Saab sales in the U.S. reached 33,085 vehicles, a 17 percent increase over last year’s 28,390 for the first eight months of the year.

The car behind the sales story for Saab in 2003 is the all-new 9-3 Sport Sedan. Saab sold 2,287 of the award-winning sedan in August, a whopping 253 percent volume increase over the preceding 9-3 hardtop in August 2002. Year-to-date, the Sport Sedan is outselling the old model 9-3 hardtop by 92 percent.

“The 9-3 Sport Sedan is doing for us exactly what we had hoped and predicted,” said Ed Peper, VP of Sales for Saab Cars USA. “We’re seeing younger buyers coming from other brands visiting our showrooms to purchase the Sport Sedan.”

Another success story at Saab can be found in the Certified Pre-Owned Program. August sales totaled 1,180 vehicles – breaking the 1,000 mark for the first time in the program’s history. This volume marked a 163 percent increase over last August, and brought year-to-date sales to 6,297, a 142 percent increase over 2002.

“We’re ready for the upcoming model year with increased dealer traffic and growing market share,” said Peper. “Later this year we’ll have other exciting product announcements to even further expand our customer appeal.”

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, see www.saabusa.com.

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