A Swede from Graz. Saab 9-3 Cabriolet production at Magna.

Saab Cabriolets come from the north. From Finland, not from Sweden. The 900 was built there, the successors up to the 9-3 I. The change to the south came with the 9-3 II. From 2003 the open Saab became a convertible from Austria. A decision that is difficult to understand. Because while the production was relocated to the Alpine Republic, the main plant in Sweden fought for every single job.

A Swede from Graz
A Swede from Graz

The decision in favor of Magna production was made by Peter Augustsson. A manager who came from competitor Volvo and during his tenure the course was set in a questionable direction. This included awarding the production of the new convertible to Magna Steyr. Instead of better utilizing the plant in Trollhättan, the highest-yielding Saab model was still manufactured on a contract basis. In Sweden meanwhile, jobs were cut on a large scale and the company was ordered to implement a strict cost reduction program.

Graz instead of Uusikaupunki

The video shows the production in the Graz Magna plant. The film was produced for the Saab partners' sales rooms; the speaker in the background uses empty phrases that the marketing departments came up with in the early 2000s. Premium is the key word, from bed rugs to toothbrushes, every product wanted to be just that. Saab too, of course, and today this term is so used up that you don't want to hear it anymore.

One problem with this: The Saab 9-3 Cabriolet was not premium. At least not at the beginning of its production, which was hardly due to Magna Steyr. The materials were not of the usual Saab quality. Some components of the interior, such as the dashboard surround, were simply out of the question in terms of appearance and feel. The only remedy was a visit to the Saab dealer, who brought the interior to the desired standard for several notes with parts from Hirsch Performance.

That being said, the quality improved over the course of production and facelift, and the 9-3 Cabriolet had never been a bad car anyway. Driving it is a lot of fun, no matter which engine variant you choose. At the beginning of his career it was even available with 3 gear versions. Manual with either 5 or 6 gears or an automatic transmission. The manual 6-speed transmission was delivered by Opel, the variant with the 5-speed came from Saab. No question which one was better to switch.

5 stars for the Saab 9-3 Cabriolet

Sweden was extremely proud of the 5 stars that the convertible received in the NCAP crash test. All Saab vehicles thus had the highest safety standard, a major selling point. The production of the new Saab 9-3 Cabriolet at Magna Steyr ran until GM left the company and Spyker took over the company.

Victor Muller then brought the production home to Sweden, even if not many vehicles were built under his direction. At Magna you won't be too sad about that. The bottom line is that production for Saab has never been big. It was much more about the image gain. Magna wanted to build convertibles for a traditional European brand.

15 thoughts on "A Swede from Graz. Saab 9-3 Cabriolet production at Magna."

  • From my point of view (11/2004 - Aero Cabrio - 101.000 km) I did everything right. Two times a spring break at the front left, once the battery was flat, a xenon bulb, luckily I haven't had any more problems. And the car is still great fun!

  • I just came across this report, a hint of fate?

    I need a new car soon and after the good experience with my 900/2 - 2.3L (1997) convertible and simply wanting to drive a SAAB again, I am thinking of such a car. 2005 year of construction, 160.000 KM 1,8t - with checkbook. There are always Monday cars, but can you basically do something wrong with the car? Unfortunately, opinions differ widely on other platforms, but what do you think?

  • Our Saabine is made of 09, same engine, same color, same leather, also deer, also strut brace.
    I can only confirm the good choice 🙂

  • So since I only know the 6-speed gearbox, I have to ask what is not so good about the 6-speed gearbox? Would rather have thought that they are always preferable to 5 gears because less consumption and less speed

    • Shifts more precisely, has shorter switching distances. It's just more comfortable to drive.

  • The 5-speed automatic in my 2004 convertible is great. 175 hp and switched with the shift paddles, the convertible runs smoothly and smoothly. The switching operations are almost not noticeable.
    Convertible and automatic, that just fits right?

  • So I'm very happy with my Austrian, only the 6-speed transmission is actually more garbage.

  • Human

    I find the industrial robots fascinating. They all have 5 fingers on each hand, wear welding goggles, optical ones or none, their hair short or long, earring or not, look authentically male or female, are even dressed individually ...

    You could almost get the idea that you could build human-made cars in the heart of Europe.

    Seriously, every Saab convertible is a treasure, built with a high level of craftsmanship. Unfortunately I don't have one. Not yet? Take care of your treasures. All Saabrios always a good trip.

  • Espresso black and beige upholstery, what a dream combination! There is only one thing, move often and keep forever, an extraordinary convertible to love.

    Mine is lime metallic and gray upholstery with black inlays, also very nice and to love!

    Have a good trip at all times and have fun with the beautiful convertible

  • Nice video! After the Innenraun facelift with the new instrument holder, however, the “flaw” was eliminated. If you follow all this you have to say that logical decisions were not always made in TH. Saab has actually existed for a long time for this. Was and is apparently due to the love of the buyer and owner!

  • Thanks Tom, very interesting. Was already forgotten that our convertible was built at Magna Styer.
    Still one of the most beautiful convertibles that would be built.

  • My convertible a 9-3 1.8t Vector (MY 2005) had the Made in Austria sticker! Could even be that in the movie! 🙂
    Espresso black metallic with light beige interior in glove leather quality. I love it very much and after 15 years. After deer tuning (PS 195) and additional strut brace every time a pleasure to drive.

  • No, Griffin convertibles were not exclusively built in THN.

  • Great video, it gives you a real insight. It's just the Griffin convertibles that were built in Sweden again, isn't it? ´Have asked on Facebook before, but maybe there is someone here who knows that. The Made in Austria sticker that you could find on some convertibles in Austria was an idea from Magna or Saab?

  • Thanks for the interesting video!

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