Saab drivers greet each other - but why do they do that?

It's a fact! Saab drivers greet each other. Still and for regional reasons perhaps more than ever. But why do they do that? Even the most die-hard fans can't give a valid answer. It's always been that way, you'll hear when asked.

Maybe that's how it is. But there could also be a completely different reason for this. An advertising campaign by Saab Germany from the 70s takes up this topic. Is there a marketing strategy behind it that was so successful that greetings are still used today? Or was the greeting first and then the advertising?

A question about the well-known chicken-egg principle.

Saab 99 - it couldn't be safer
Saab 99 – it couldn’t be safer

Saab drivers greet each other - but why do they do that?

In the fall of 1974, Saab Germany launched a new advertising campaign for the 99th. Or perhaps an advertisement for Saab drivers greeting each other? It's tough. The explanation that the Swedish manufacturer provides is less complicated. It sounds plausible.

Because Saab drivers, he suspects, have a lot in common.

There is the professional success to be able to afford a Saab 99. Which is certainly correct, because the 99 is much more expensive than the products of its market competitors. Then there is the car sense that you need to be able to judge the qualities of an automobile (Saab). And of course the copywriters bring individuality out of the marketing machine, because without the inclination to do so, you wouldn't be able to appreciate the progressively innovative 99.

Saab drivers greet - but why?
Saab drivers greet – but why?

This is tough marketing stuff that is supposed to connect people. Did he really do that? Did social success and the joy of it go hand in hand with automotive expertise?

Marketing, diaspora effect, what’s behind it

Or was it actually the diaspora effect at Saab? A small, conspiring minority is found because they are convinced that their product is, on the one hand, special and, on the other hand, better in many details than what the rest of the world is driving? Maybe she also thinks that it looks better, has a pretty special design and of course the car key only sits in the center console.

Saab 99 advertising in 1974
Saab 99 advertising in 1974

It is difficult to judge what was on the mind of the German Saab driver of the year in 1974 to greet his brand colleague. In this case, I'm too young to be able to judge it reliably. It was probably pure joy to meet a like-minded person in the endless expanses dominated by Opel, Ford and Volkswagen.

At least that's how it feels for most of us today.

Perhaps, it is also possible, the campaign had a precursor. The greeting itself could possibly have a deeper reason. It may have come to Europe from the US market; in North America it is said to have been common in Saab circles early on. We don't know, it's Saab archeology, and whenever a new artifact related to the iconic Swedish brand lands on my desk, I'm happy about it.

We're bringing the Saab campaign back to the present

Car culture can be exciting, we still have mountains of treasures to uncover. Perhaps there will be another Saab campaign that reports more about the phenomenon of greeting each other.

We have digitized the campaign from autumn 1974 (Link) and brought her back to the present. Just as greeting is still relevant, as long as there are Saab vehicles on the roads, the campaign is also valid. The print can be purchased - as a reminiscence of old days and the present - from Tuesday in the Aero X Club Shop (Link) be ordered.

16 thoughts on "Saab drivers greet each other - but why do they do that?"

  • During the 70s and 80s, the Saab greeting was clearly more pronounced across Europe, if not everyone, but almost everyone, said hello. Presumably also because of the advertising on the various markets at the time, as well as this gesture transmission from the Saab dealers at the time. With the introduction of 9k, this practice slowly declined, especially among new customers who were not yet aware of it or had no idea. In any case, you can quickly see whether it is a passionate Saab driver, because some people still automatically have the Saab greeting in them. It is also interesting to note how generationally the children of Saab drivers have adopted this passion.
    It is also a fact that this greeting habit has tended to decrease; Maybe there are too many of us and our thoughts are elsewhere, although this is completely understandable due to the traffic and concentration.

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  • I always say hello and am happy about every reaction. I estimate the return rate is 70 percent. Sometimes the other person saw me earlier than I did and greets me first. Then the joy is even greater.

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    • Are you kidding me and I'm so happy to hear. My problem is that I don't have anyone to greet I DON'T see anyone here in my home town of St.Petersburg FL and on my last trip to Saint Augustine FL 0000 did I see. If I have to see another Saab I have to go to the Saab store in Tampa, Mike and his guys are always busy fixing Saab's. Hello to you ALL and greetings from Florida.

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  • I greet every (!) SAAB user, even if I don't control one anymore...
    When I was still using the TTiD, I felt like I was always greeted back.
    It was fun :-)!

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  • I try to say hello to every car driver I pass on the street, simply because we share a love of Swedish automotive culture. And usually the greeting is friendly, sometimes even euphoric.
    The Alfisti were also once enthusiastic greeters, which I was able to experience as the driver of an Alfa 33 in the nineties. Whether this is still the case today - I don't know.

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  • I actually really enjoy doing it; However, there is rarely the opportunity to do so in Austria due to the low density of Saabs - and I drive very little. The nicest encounter I had while driving was a few years ago when I was driving over the Hochrindl-Alpl in Carinthia. Then a 9.3 NG II convertible with the top open came towards me and my Saabine, full of a family of four, and all four of them waved at me exuberantly and with smiling faces. That was really nice 🙂

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  • I also like to say hello when I see a Saab in traffic (or don't miss it).
    ... one of those nice quirks at Saab.

    The greeting is often returned, but unfortunately not always. 🙁
    And every now and then, of course, you get “wonderful” questioning looks. 😉
    (When I don't respond to the greeting, I always imagine that it's probably just because of my strange Saab, which may not always be immediately recognized as such... it can't have anything to do with me, for example) 🙂

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    • ...well in the 9-5NG I often think that you aren't immediately recognized as a SAAB, in the 9-7x I'm probably ignored from time to time by the scrap metal faction.

      But as Tom already writes, I'm happy when I see another SAAB and I'd like to say hello! It's even nicer when you meet and there is a conscious formation flight. When two 9-5NGs meet, it's even nicer!!

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      • Yes, this scrap iron group... 😉

        I once took my 9-5 SC 2.3t arc to an “expert” (really; he was “famous” here in my extended area) in his workshop for a while (he then gave up at some point and I think “emigrated” too). ).

        And he complained (in essence) about the new Saabs (9-5 NG and especially the 9-4x) before they were published: They weren't Saabs anymore, something like that would never come into his yard, he would drive them away, etc. Etc. ……

        I can't fully understand it: I'm happy about every Saab (even the ones that I personally don't think are as great as some of the sonnets etc.)!

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  • I also greet every Saab that comes towards me, but I don't always notice a greeting in return. These days I parked my 9.3 sedan right next to a 9.3 convertible and said a friendly greeting. A pained reaction ensued. Drivers like that simply don't deserve a Saab.
    By the way, that used to be the case when I met someone else with my Zastava 1100.

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  • In Spain it is usual to salvage between Saab Pre ​​GM conductors.
    It is possible for the units to be driven and stored in one of the united states that are very valuable to the automobiles

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  • hmmmmm The last 10 times no one said hello back... That's why I leave it alone, and no other Saab has ever greeted me first... So I have a completely different perception...?

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  • I know Greetings almost internationally from motorcycles. The origins of the biker greeting go back to racing in the 1970s. The British motorcycle racer Barry Sheene already used the V sign when overtaking opponents and as a greeting to the audience on his victory laps.

    At Saab it is a little more differentiated. In Portugal/Spain there is a lot of greeting. In DE/FRA/BE/NL I only experienced this very rarely.

    Why? These are definitely not Saabistas, just car users who would drive another car as soon as it was running

    Or I just need to be more careful?

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    • At least I would have expected a stronger greeting from NL, but there are probably relatively more Saabs there, so there are probably a lot of car users, as you mentioned, who don't care what they drive. I've already written it several times, in the Visegrad states the culture of greeting is much more developed.
      I greet every Saab driver and am always happy to receive greetings in return.

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      • There seem to be quite a few Saabistas, especially in southern Europe. Or people who associate Saab with more than just a vehicle. I was once asked about my 9-3 OG in a parking lot and a nice conversation ensued, even though the person opposite didn't have a Saab.

        But yes, I should also pay more attention to ALWAYS say hello and be happy about it when something comes back.

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      • I also suspect regional differences. In any case, in our town a young couple greets us euphorically with their Aero, that's quite a joy.

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