Saab 9000. Björn Envall gives the world a wedge.

1990 is one of the fateful years at Saab. GM gets in and immediately goes to the most important construction sites. The new plant in Malmö, whose construction was a political decision, will be closed 18 months after its inauguration.

Saab 9000 Aero. Image: Saab Automobile AB
Saab 9000 Aero. Image: Saab Automobile AB

For every vehicle built in Malmö, Saab 18.100 is said to have lost US dollars. In addition to Malmö there are other loss-makers. The Saab 900 is no longer cost-effective to produce. Worse, rework and warranties bring another deficit of up to 2.500 € per car.

Then 1990 drops the decision for 3 new series. A successor to the 900, which is working at full speed, which should still have significant consequences for the Saab 9000. And the project 108, the realization of which would have changed the history of Saab.

The car world at the beginning of the 90 years

Since the presentation of the Saab 9000, the environment has changed dramatically. Audi has the V8, which is economically a flop, but will change the brand image sustainably. BMW has caught up, or rather, outdated. The advantage of Saab is history, even if the 9000 CC is still a good car. There is need for action, Björn Envall gives 1992 a wedge to the world.

Advanced vehicles at the beginning of the 90er Jahre wedge wedge. The most futuristic showed the Citroen XM, the most functional of the Saab 9000. How Envall managed to make a perfect wedge out of the dumpy 9000 CC body without touching the doors deserves respect. A crouched front with broadband headlights, a high tail with a continuous tailgate, which makes the 9k appear more visually.

The lightness of the glass dome of the 9000 CC disappears, the new conclusion is more serious and valuable. The sidelines are clear, every stroke sits, no showmanship, instead objectivity everywhere. Form follows function. Saab design, as it could not be clearer. An improved insulation gives even more upper-class feeling, the progress is noticeable.

In the interior, however, there is a standstill. Cockpit and seats are not touched, maybe because you can not improve good. But also because you have no budget for a revision. The demands of buyers have changed since 1984, the interiors have become more sophisticated. Only Saab does not move. For Saab scores in the technology.

The Saab, which cleans the air.

Because the real trump card of the 9000 CS lives under the bonnet. With the Trionic first pulls a 32 bit processor from Motorola in a car. The 68000er is high end, and the 9k one last time high tech. In a video you can see how the Trionic cleans contaminated air. The 9000 sucks in the fumes from an 2 Saab, leaving clean air. That draws then - one last time. Technology-savvy people who have environmental awareness are buying a 9000, although it's very expensive - but because it's cool. And because he is individual. Above all, because he is extremely safe.

The safest car in the world

The basic construction comes from the beginning of the 80 years. But Saab has always kept the 9000 up to date, and the 9000 CS is investing heavily in security. An improved structure of the body, better impact protection in the doors, the seats have on the upper section a plate that protects the neck and cervical vertebrae. The forerunner of the active headrest comes as another innovation, and Vi Bilägere prints a comprehensive article on the safest car in the world in April 1992.

That the Saab is also fast, the 225 PS variant can clear the left lane, the passage is on the level of a super sports car, these are all side effects, which provides the 9000 additionally. More would have been possible. On Saab 9000 AWD with 280 PS is in the magazine of the museum. He would have strengthened Saab's ambitions for the upper class, because they really existed.

The project 108, which was mentioned at the beginning, would have been this great Saab. The 9000 was successful, but it moved between the vehicle classes. The interior, the high performance, the price, everything was upper class, the outer dimensions, however, only upper middle class. Taking advantage of the success of the 9000 GM decided a large series, which should compete against the BMW 7er. The project 108 ran from 1990 to 1992, then it was discontinued. It quickly became clear that you would not make money with the first generation upper-class generation, the accountants in Detroit left the courage, the books were closed. Instead of the 108, the successor to the 9000 should now quickly come onto the market.

The prolonged life of the Saab 9000

If everything had gone according to plan at GM, then the 9000er saga would already 1996 at the end arrived. But there was the hastily developed Saab 900 II, which was 1993 on the market. In principle, a typical Saab construction, the gearbox was flanged as on the 9000 left to the engine. Saab customers had such better space and more cargo than the drivers of other Group brands, the sovereign turbos and the hatchback do not even talk. But the 900 II came on the market in a hurry and with it the problems.

The developers of the Saab 9000 successor were deducted for emergency use in the 900 II, the project Saab 9-5 delayed so at least 6 months.

1993 once again demonstrated innovations in the Saab 9000 Ecosport study, but they did not find their way into the series anymore. Heat storage elements and electrical heating elements should eliminate emissions during cold start, and headlamps with additional UV light should improve active safety. Like the 17 "Super Eros, they remained exclusive to the study. Leading the way? In any case, and decades later, Mercedes brings in the S-class a UV high-beam assistant.

1995 got the 9000 additionally a V6, 1996 put an 2 liter Softturbo the entrance engine. However, sales continued to fall, the competition had slowed down, the 9k had become a case for fans.

They bought it anyway, even as Saab 1997 presented the 9-5 and thus the complete break of a tradition in the Saab superclass. 24.201 were built 1997, 2.540 in the following last year of production. That successors and predecessors rolled together for a short time together, is due to suppliers who did not work as it was intended in Trollhättan.

Saab puts an end to eccentricity and avant-garde

Saab press releases at that time saw the switch from 9k to 9-5 as an ascent "away from the eccentric Scandinavian to the global brand". At first, Saab wanted to be eccentric 2010 again, with the successor to the 9-5 I, which again cited the design features of the 9000. But it was already too late.

What remains? The 9000 was avant-garde from Sweden, more innovation packed Saab never in a car. He opened new markets, he was the entry class in the upper class, which Saab never redeemed, because GM lacked the courage to do so. Audi risked it in a comparable starting position, accepted losses incurred for a model generation and was at times the most profitable brand in the VW Group. At Saab the exit is known.

In the last part of the Saab 9000 saga, we then write about the situation of the first big Saab in modern times.

Part 1: Saab 9000. The first tech Saab.

Part 2: Saab9000. The car from the high-tech forge.

10 thoughts on "Saab 9000. Björn Envall gives the world a wedge."

  • Once again the purest reading pleasure!

  • Thank you! Meant is the 68000, it lacked an "0". Is corrected.

  • Thank you, totally interesting. The 9000 was the car that impressed me so much that Saab was on the radar after that and stayed.

    Incidentally, the 32 bit processor is called 68000, not 6800. that was the 16-bit predecessor.

  • It is a pity that GM did not let the Swedes do it, as an innovation engine and research laboratory that integrates all innovations into the small series SAAB in order to then install what is permeating the group worldwide.
    The 9000er is for me still the benchmark for all other Fahreuge in the upper mid-range. And in the sense of space and charging options, he is still unbeaten. The compact design with large interior is not a disadvantage rather a huge advantage, I notice that when I'm traveling today with the 9-5NG.

    Thanks for the article!

  • The 9000 will continue to accompany us. Also because there are always facts that neither Mark nor I knew. So the saga continues ...
    We only have the data for German first deliveries from 1995, I suspect NEVS would be the correct contact person.

  • A great report! Again ... 😉 Thank you, thank you.
    This report shows my "beginner's time". At the beginning of the 90-ziger I started to deal with SAAB. Safety, appearance and the pilot's window of the SAAB 900 were addictive. But when the exhaust fumes of a SAAB became cleaner than the ambient air, it had happened to me. The first of three SAABs was ordered.
    Making history and commenting on it makes sense. This makes it clearer and clearer to every fan and other SAAB-savvy person why the 4 letters from Sweden have disappeared.
    It's unbelievable what the engineers at Göta Älv have done and promoted !!! From this point of view, it remains to be hoped that the same today have more "freedoms" at NEVS and significantly improve the automotive world in spe !!!

  • Again, a brilliant report on the 9000 ... pity that the 9000er saga is approaching the end so slowly. From me you are welcome to continue at irregular intervals! It is very interesting for me as 9000er and Saab newcomer, to learn a lot of new things about the development, the further development and also about the embedding in the remaining Saab model range as well as the position opposite the competitors. This is not in any sales brochure, a book known to me and in any report of the classic press. Respect!

    Can you also find the production date of a CC in your documents? Or can the museum or NEVS help me there?

  • Great report! So you get as a Saab newcomer insight into the brand world!

  • -5831 was built on the 13.12.1997, on the same day two more 9k were produced for Germany. -8181 is from 30.03.98, with 9 other 9000 for Germany. The last 9k for the German market had the 8756. All other questions can be answered by the Saab Museum or NEVS, whoever owns the production documents.

  • Is it known, which chassis numbers in model year 1998 got the 9000?
    It was consecutively numbered, ie also 900II / 9-3I and 9-5 received chassis numbers from the series - what are the VIN endings of the last produced 9000 before the very last one (VIN ending -1008785)?
    Can you also get more information about -8181 and -5831? I know them both - one moves a good friend, the other me. I am interested in the actual production data and with which SAAB the two rolled off the production line together, ie what came before and after.

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