SAAB is an acronym Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget and represents a Swedish automobile manufacturer which is owned by the former Spyker car company. (Today, it's called Swedish Automobile NV). Saab has gone through many transitions as a company in the past few years. It has struggled financially, bounced from owner to owner, and struggled to avoid insolvency. The company was almost acquired by several Chinese buyers throughout 2011, but these attempts were blocked by General Motors, which had acquired Saab in 1990. GM threatened it would not allow the transfer of technology licenses and patents. Sadly, in late 2011, the company filed for bankruptcy, and it seems that the Saab brand is now gone forever. However, enthusiasts can still revel in the Saab cars that were left behind, some of which were produced in the past few years.
Saab originally belonged to "Swedish Aeroplane Limited" (after translation), a company that originated in 1937 in southern Sweden. The company was constructed at this time to provide aircraft for the Swedish Air Force, which would sustain the country's neutrality in WWII. By 1944, the Saab company decided to move into automobile production. The result from this Project 92 was the Sab 92001 (also called the Ursaab) in 1947, and the design clearly harkened back to Saab's original aviation roots. The 92001 went into production as the Saab 92; it sold twenty thousand units during the mid-'50s. This vehicle was then heavily redesigned and released as the Saab 93 in 1955. The 93 added a cylinder to its engine, and in 1959 a wagon variant of the 93 was added to the market as well. Saab also began to participate in the racing circuit at this time.
In the 1960s, Saab merged with Scania-Vabis AB to create the Saab-Scania AB company. Saab's next major move was expanding its Saab 99 range in 1973 by adding a combi coupe variant. Due to the great success of this vehicle, Saab was able to produce its millionth vehicle in 1976. Saab partnered with rival Fiat in 1978 to sell a Lancia vehicle as the Saab 600, and to create a fresh platform for both of the companies. This merger led to the production of several popular Alfa Romeo, Fiat, and Lancia models, as well as the 1985 Saab 9000, the brand's first real luxury vehicle. Minus one zero, the Saab 900 premiered in 1978 and is still Saab's best-selling (and most popular) model to-date.
During the 1980s and 90s, Saab was restructured and joined forced with GM. The Saab 9-5 replaced the mature Saab 9000 before this merger. After the merger, the new partnership produced the Saab 9-3 in 2003. The 9-3 was followed by several other models, including the Saab 9-2X, the Saab 9-5, the Saab 9-3 wagon, and the Saab 9-7X. By 2008, the Saab brand was "under review" by GM, and well, you know the rest of the story. RIP Saab, a fantastic company with aviation roots that was killed by competitors such as Fiat, Honda, and Hyundai and a struggling global economy.