Swedish premium car maker Saab enjoyed a busy 2003, with key new models announcements, and record sales in many markets. Here is a summary of Saab's year:
- During 2003 Saab revealed a record number of new models, including the acclaimed new 9-3 Convertible, the 9-3X SportHatch concept, the 9-2X and the 9-7X for the North American markets.
- Saab sales in the UK increased by over 6 per cent, with healthy growth also recorded in other key markets, such as Sweden and Italy. Sales in the USA reached an all-time record at over 47,000 units, making Saab the fastest growing European car brand in the American market.
Saab 9-3 Range
- The Saab 9-3 Sport Saloon gained a strong foothold in the growing UK mid-size premium saloon sector, with sales exceeding 8,000 units (making it Britain's fourth most popular premium mid-saloon, after the established German offerings).
- The 9-3 saloon gained many awards during 2003, including Horizon TV's Car of the Year, Auto Trader's Compact Executive car of the Year, and Top Gear's top junior executive car. The 9-3 was also found to be Britain's most secure car, in What Car? Magazine's annual anti-theft security test, as well as the most comfortable.
- The much anticipated new 9-3 Convertible arrived in the UK in September, and to date over 1,300 examples have been delivered to delighted customers. The waiting list for most new 9-3 Convertible derivatives now stretches into early Summer 2004.
Saab 9-5 Range
- The 250 bhp, low emission Saab 9-5 Aero was Britain's best selling premium performance saloon in 2003, with sales accelerating in the final quarter of the year following the introduction of the aesthetically enhanced 2004 model.
- The new, tax-efficient 220 bhp 9-5 2.3T model, launched in September, is also proving to be in strong demand.
- The Saab 9-5 was awarded a 5-star EuroNCAP rating during 2003, to match the 5-stars already achieved by the new Saab 9-3.
- The 9-5's pioneering SAHRs anti-whiplash front seat head restraints set the benchmark, Thatcham rating them as the most efficient of any car tested in reducing the risk of whiplash injuries.
With the pending introduction of the new entry 9-3 1.8i models, plus an expansion of the 9-3 Convertible engine programme (the 150 bhp 1.8t and 210 bhp Aero models arrive in March), 2004 looks set to be an even better year for Saab.Published 31 December 2003