Saab

Saab

"Born from jets" wasn't merely a clever tagline. It's an accurate reflection of the history of the company, whose name is an acronym that means "Swedish Airplane Corporation". After the Second World War, the market for planes of all types was a bit soft, so the company conceived the Saab 92. The unusual vehicle was unlike anything else on the market, both a reflection of the company's aero roots and also the unique needs of postwar Scandinavia. Front-wheel drive was a feature from the beginning, but the tiny two-stroke engines would make way for a famous slant-4 engine in the 99 and the 900 it evolved into. GM bought half of the company in 1989, and the other half in 2000. The 9-3 and 9-5 formed the core of the brand, joined by the 9-2X and 9-7X, and a very brief run of the 9-4X crossover. After GM hit financial difficulties around 2008, Saab was prepared for a sale that never took place. The company was shuttered in 2010, and then had a complicated afterlife involving a Chinese carmaker, Spyker, and National Electric Vehicle Sweden. NEVS dropped the Saab trademark in 2016, ending a long and fascinating history.

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