We don`t make compromises. We make Saabs.

The 80s and early 90s were the most creative years at Saab. Never before - and never again - have there been more innovations from Trollhättan. Saab was Saab. The Swedish brand had developed its own self-image and deliberately positioned itself as an intelligent alternative beyond the mainstream.

We don't make compromises, we make Saabs! Image film 1990.
We don't make compromises, we make Saabs! Image film 1990.

The film very aptly shows how you saw yourself at that time, how you wanted to be perceived by the customer ”We dont make compromises. We make Saabs</em>" von Saab Nordamerika. Saab 900 und Saab 9000 waren uneitel und gut durchdachte Autos. Intelligente Multitools, so könnte man sagen. Konstruiert,  um die Passagiere sicher von A nach B zu bringen, vielseitig mit einem unerhört flexiblen Ladevolumen. Schnell, verdammt schnell, wenn man es wollte, denn modernste Turbotechnologie befeuerte damals schon die meisten Saabs.
<h4>We don
t make compromises. We make Saabs

The fact that a Saab is comfortable, ergonomically sophisticated, that a Saab communicates with its driver and that man and machine are one unit, all of which made the vehicles so special.

Back then Saab promised longevity. Brave, because turbos were considered vulnerable in the 80s, 4-valve engines as technical avant-garde. Saab kept the promise. If you take good care of your 9000 or 900, you have a car for the rest of your life.

Saab is now history. Maybe also because the philosophy of the unexcited long-term car, which is also part of the technical avant-garde, could no longer be conveyed today. Perhaps the Saab doctrine of delivering the best and most versatile to its customers simply fell out of time without us noticing. At that time, cars were invented by engineers, not marketing people. The boring SUV wave, it was simply unthinkable back then.

The 80s and 90s were not just sunshine. At that time the 900 was already hopelessly out of date and only produced red numbers, which even the successful 9000 could no longer compensate. Entrepreneurial misjudgments forced Saab AB's automotive division to look for new partners. GM started with 50%, the rest is known.

Our project to save old Saab films is still going on. On the back burner, but I still want to work on a large mountain of VHS tapes. Saving Saab history, making it publicly available, is perhaps more important than ever today.

21 thoughts on "We don`t make compromises. We make Saabs."

  • The vehicles were probably too expensive in production and / or development for the price level that Saab could achieve in the market. Obviously, there was already a profitability problem at that time. In a book I have read about the new Saab 900, I describe how several projects have been started to launch 9000 components from 900 components, all of which had to be stopped for cost reasons. Saab was then probably (according to the story in this book) without 900 successor there until the rescue appeared in the form of GM's GM2900 platform.

    What GM did not understand is that premium means more value to the customer, not more money to the manufacturer.

    Was not Mercedes in a similar situation? The 1995 X-type E-Class came off the previous development scheme, first to develop and then calculate what the car costs, and has promptly because of rust, etc. cost Mercedes a reputation as a premium manufacturer.

  • Mark, these are the stories you only experience with Saab. Is just a special brand and I had yesterday also a very special, very nice Saab experience. The short story comes on the blog next week!

  • That's right, the contracts exist. However, the fact that neither paint shop nor press shop is already running in Trollhättan has nothing to do with the fact that NEVS would question Sweden as a location. The reasons for the delay are in China.

  • Nailed it! Exactly everything (unpretentious, universal, etc.) was the 9000.

    The upper end of the middle class is now over 1.900 kg curb weight. That's a hell of a lot of material for a disposable product. Maybe there would be a market again for “the philosophy of the unexcited long-term car”?

    Anyone who just wants a good car - and it's just good, but not cheap - has a problem today. No wonder that the market for young and old-timers is booming and more money is invested in the care of baby timers.

  • Nice story!

  • Markus; maybe too late but I still think you have to write this letter to TATA. Will be able to bite your teeth vigorously 🙂 I hope to see you next time I drive around in Zurich.

  • Interesting facts about the "Long Run", including a tabular overview of the records achieved: https://duddha.me/2016/02/08/touringcarmadness-saab-turbo-the-long-run/

    Incidentally, on all 9k exhaust valves burned out after about 75% of the distance (like last summer with my “old lady” ;-)), because the fuel pump due to the curve elevation of 34 ° with an almost empty tank for a much too lean mixture and thus has caused far too high temperatures in the combustion chambers.
    As a remedy then the complete cylinder head (and, as a precaution, the perfectly intact turbocharger) was changed.

  • I have had my 4th SAAB (4 - 99 - 900 - 93combi) for 95 weeks now and I am always very satisfied with the cars.
    And top service workshop from Bad Tölz.
    Today it is no longer about quality or people worldwide - only commerce counts.

  • Correct. But you have a contract for finished 93 ev bodies. Total 150-200000.Mindesest three years of work until the factory in China is done. They should already have started the production.

  • Hello Tom. Yes gladly. I will. I drive around 6 km a month, privately and on business. I have 500 km relatively quickly. My father had had Saab since 500. with EVERY problem-free 000. Daily long distances are better than just short nice weather tours. My Saab garage in St.Gallen (well-known Saab tuner “Hirsch”) always wanted to sell me a “new” one. Since the 1967 nine-to-five is the best Saab ever built for me, I will never part. if the engine or the automat should actually reach the eternal hunting grounds, I will simply have them professionally restored by Hirsch St.Gallen, because that is worth it to me. It is also absolutely rust-free because the cavity is sealed with wax. Spirit of Saab.

    My employer wanted to give me as a company car an Audi A6, brand new, station wagon, V6 petrol engine. Of course I said thankfully. He asked why, then once as co-driver from Zurich to Geneva. On the way home to Zurich I let him drive himself (which I never do!). Tucked away in Zurich, he said gracefully that he now understand WHY am I driving the Saab glider instead of a brand new mainstream Audi. The best part was his grin, bright eyes and excitement when he was allowed to overtake on the highway, without kickdown, just accelerate; uiii, 160 km / h, sorry he said he did not realize that he was already so fast on the way

    I explained the story of Saab to him, but he didn't listen, he was too enthusiastic about the Swedish Castle. When he still dared a kickdown, I couldn't say anything more. He couldn't trust his shining eyes that it was showing 190km / h, and that in Switzerland, max. 120km / h. He really wanted to see the engine because he couldn't believe me that “only” a 2,3 Lt. 4-cylinder works. Incidentally, he now drives a nine-to-three 4 × 4 2,8 SC privately. Nice, just nice to be able to experience something like that for yourself.

  • fabulous the idea about old saab videos. He gives an about the viggen production at valmet on you tube but I lost the link. Was only 40 seconds.

  • With the old films you get emotional ... I can't understand a lot about the current development either, but the customer seems to want it. Have fun with the 9-5 and please report to us bloggers when half a million is full!

  • There has been a report on NEVS in the German press in recent days. This one is very speculative and for the most part does not refer to facts. So far we only know that the schedule is changing, everything else is pure speculation.

  • The behavior of the Swedes themselves is even less understandable. After enormous efforts, NEVS now seems to be on the right track - actually still incomprehensible why SAAB AB has not yet given in with the naming rights.

    In the meantime it is becoming apparent that NEVS no longer has much in mind with Trollhättan - the prefabrication of body parts for China is already on the brink for Trollhättan. One can understand NEVS - the Swedish workers will suffer. The SAAB AB as well as the state authorities still give a pathetic picture. The insolvency administrators may also be included here - all highly incomprehensible!

  • Why and how was a great brand hit against the wall? You can read in the current Auto Bild, which also says something about Saab. It is about Plymouth, more precisely about the XNR study. The Plymouth brand was crushed at the latest when Daimler joined Chrysler. Something like that happened to Saab at GM. Only that there was no entry at GM, but the brands within the group that, according to, did not want or could not follow the mainstream of the new millennium. This also included the SUV wave. Can you also see at Volvo with his XC90 or VW with his Touareg or or ...

  • Emotional report. thank you very much Tom. I also had a CD and then a CSE. You can't find that much space in this class today. I will probably never understand the “SUV” wave either. Because they have no more space than 9-5. I don't even want to talk about the disastrous clarity. They offer their street steamers with reversing cameras instead of clearly arranged vehicles. My 9-5 Aero 2,3Lt. 2002 SC has a modest 356 km on it, first engine, first machine, I flush out a machine oil every 000 km. Twice a month I drive from Zurich to Bremerhaven to visit my future wife. I don't find any other vehicle more comfortable. I'll never understand why TATA didn't save Saab too. You would have the mainstream Volvo brand and an exclusive niche brand Saab. Because they have enough money. I think I'm seriously writing them a letter. 🙂 svenska greetings from Zurich.

  • Well written, Tom. Bring me back to 1991; my first Saab was a 9000 CD and after that some 9000 CSE's followed. Because it was a business car I had to exchange the car every 120.000 KM, and of course for a new Saab. This is how my passion for Saab came about.

  • I recently took the 901 Aero back to the regulars' table, instead of the 9-3 l convertible,
    while I noticed the Aero has the much better light, and I prefer to drive it as the convertible, ergo GM had already made much worse!

  • How could you put such a great brand on the wall? I still do not believe it. Great movie, please deliver more!

  • Very nicely written again, especially “the senseless SUV wave…. ”! 🙂
    For 3 weeks now, I've been driving my Turbo CD rather than my 9-3 Cabrio ... it's simple, simply beautiful ... those old boxes!

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