The Saab Designers (1947 to Present)

Posted on 16. Feb, 2007 by in 1937-1939, 1940-1949, 1950-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2009, Designers

Saab Automobile has had a great lineup of capable detail-oriented designers from the very beginning. Had it not been for their creative abilities and substantial influence on design language, Saab Automobile would not be where it is today, setting itself apart from the masses and creating unique, progressive and fun automobiles for people to enjoy.

It is long overdue that we thank these designers for all of the work that has gone into the production vehicles that we have enjoyed for years in addition to all of the conceptual charettes they have done for designs and concepts that did not make production.

I begin with a smorgåsbord below depicting some of the most notable designers from the early years until today. Additionally, I have provided a comprehensive list (work in progress) that should help clarify each and every Designer, along with their contributions to the Saab designs that became a reality, ultimately going into production.

sixten.jpgIn 1939, a self-taught illustrator by the name of Sixten Sason, notable for being responsible for designs with Hasselblad, Electrolux and Husqvarna from everything from cameras, refridgerators, waffle-irons, power-saws to even an early plan for a bridge across the Öresund to link Sweden to Denmark, now known as the Öresund Bridge completed in 2000. He began work with Saab Airplane company (SAAB) later that year to draw planes and other material during the Second World War. When the War was coming to an end, the company began shifting their strategies with the addition of automobile manufacturing. During this time of transition for the company, Sixten Sason was asked to contribute to the “Project 92”, that was introduced in 1947 as the first prototype for SAAB, the automobile manufacturer. This Prototype was known officially as the 92001 and later production model “92” ,were inspired by the SAAB J21 plane.

bjorn.jpgIn 1969, Björn Envall started with Saab, while working alongside Sixten Sason on his final project, the SAAB 99. Björn Envall’s most notable achievement under his role as chief designer with Saab, was the transition of the classic Saab 900 (1979-1993/94) to the new generation 900, commonly known as the NG900 that was introduced in 1994 until 1998. Björn Envall was responsible for the 99, 90, 900, 9000, EV-1 concept car, and a secret “EV-2” internally released concept vehicle which was to eventually set the stage for his final project, the new generation 900.

einar.jpgNorwegian born, Einar Johan Hareide, began with Saab in 1985 and worked until 1989 before he decided take a job with Mercedes Benz briefly, then returned to Saab in 1991 as a designer until 1994. In 1994, he was appointed design director otherwise known as chief designer until 1999. It is important to note that Hareide worked alongside Björn Envall on the new generation 900 designs (Envall-Hareide era). Einar Hareide was also responsible for the early introduction of the 9-5 until the first modification was made in 2002, the 9-3 which was the successor to the new generation 900, as well as the 9-3 Sport Sedan designs from 2003 until 2006, and exterior design until 2007.


michael_ola.jpgMichael Mauer, a trained industrial designer worked with Mercedes Benz straight out of school for a number of years in his home country of Germany. In 1997 he assumed the role the chief designer of Advanced Design of Mercedes in Japan which is where he met Anthony Lo. In 2000, he was asked by the President of Saab Automobile at that time, Peter Augusston to be chief designer for Saab. When Michael Mauer started, the 9-3 Sport Sedan was completed, however Mauer did contribute to the 9-3 Sport Sedan wheel design as his first responsibility. His first notable accomplishment was the introduction of the 9-X concept car in 2001, followed by the 9-3X concept car in 2002, with the 9-3 Sport Hatch concept in 2003.

anthony_alex.jpg Anthony Lo, a former colleague of Michael Mauer at Mercedes, joined Saab Automobile in October of 2000. Lo worked with Mauer Saab Automobile directly from 2000 until 2004, when Mauer took an opportunity with Porsche and Lo was named director of advanced design for General Motors Europe in August of 2004. Anthony Lo’s achievements included the 9-X, 9-2X, 9-3X, 9-3 Sport Hatch as well as his most recent design, the Aero-X with Alex Daniel, first shown to the public at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 2006.

I conclude this writeup with a comprehensive list (work in progress) of all the designers that have been responsible carefully and intelligently integrating and developing Saab’s design language into each and every Saab model from past, present and the future.

Additions, modifications are appreciated.

Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

Design Contributions by Designer

Sixten Sason 1912–1967
SAAB DESIGNS 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 99 (1939-1967)

Gunnar Ljungström
SAAB DESIGN 92

Rolf Melde
SAAB DESIGN 94, 95, 96
Björn Envall 1942-
SAAB-SCANIA DESIGNS 99, 90, 900, 9000, EV-1, NG900 (1969-1992)

Björn Karlström
SAAB-SCANIA DESIGNS MFI-13, 97 II/V4 (1966-1969)

Sergio Coggiola
SAAB-SCANIA DESIGNS 97 III (1970-1974)

Gunnar A. Sjögren
SAAB-SCANIA DESIGNS 97 III (1970-1974)

Giorgetto Giugiaro1938-
SAAB-SCANIA 9000 (1978-1981)

flagno.gifEinar Hareide
SAAB-SCANIA NG900, 9-5, 9-3, 9-3 SS (1985 – 1989) + (1991-1999)

Tony Catignani
Saab Automobile 9-5 (1993- )

Michael Mauer
Saab Automobile 9-X, 9-2X, 9-3X, 9-3 SportHatch (3.21.2000-2004)

flagchina.gifAnthony Lo 1964-
Saab Automobile 9-X, 9-2X, 9-3X, 9-3, SportHatch, Aero-X (10.2000-PRESENT)

question.jpgAlex Daniel
Saab Automobile Aero-X

Erik Rokke
Saab Automobile Aero-X

Ola Granlund
Saab Automobile, 9-X, 9-2X

Simon Padian
Saab Automobile 9-X, 9-3X, 9-3 SportHatch, Aero-X

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2 Responses to “The Saab Designers (1947 to Present)”

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  2. ph

    15. May, 2017

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