Car Peer Pressure

At the suggestion of my Mrs…..

Why did Saab move the key from the centre to the steering column in the mid-90’s?

Why did they move it back?

Why don’t they build a hatch any more?

Car Peer Pressure. It’s a bigger factor than you think…..

….and by the way, though my wife isn’t into Saabs anywhere near as much as I am, she does long for a day when Saabs are instantly identifiable at first glance, vis-a-vis the C900.


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  1. From what I understand the key in the floor thing was a fluke. Here’s the story how I heard it: when SAAB moved from a column shifter to a floor shifter the ignition lock moved with it. Rather than having a steering wheel lock they locked-out the gear shift to meet U.S. Department of Transportation requirements. After this SAAB concocted the story that it’s actually safer (avoids knee injuries) to have the keyswitch between the seats. When they designed the 9000 they designed it with the keyswitch in the column, but the 900’s floor mounted one was quite an attention-getter as a conversation piece. Also since SAAB claimed that the floor-mounted keyswitch is a safety enhancement, how do they explain putting it in the steering column of the 9000? That’s why the 9-5 has it in the center column like the 900 and 9-3.

  2. Oh, the hatch thing: there supposedly was not a market for a hatch. Supposedly Americans (SAAB’s largest market) hate hatchbacks. We supposedly hate two-door cars too, and that’s why there was no 2-door hatch offered in the last year of the first-gen 9-3 (2002), except for the Viggen, and the SportSedan is only available as a 4-door to date. SAAB only sells 4-door automobiles currently.

    SAAB replaced the hatch with the “combi”. Supposedly you get the same utility of a hatch but with added structural rigidity. I don’t care for the look as much though, personally.

  3. I don’t think it’s moved around. I can’t think of any model that had it in both places.

    900 – Floor
    9000 – Console
    9-5 – Floor
    9-3 – Console

  4. on hatches – arguably a saab pioneering design.Certainly a defining feature of most of the great Saab models. They’ve now abandoned it; lets see who as a hatch in their current line up

    Anything from Korea
    Holden ( GM Aus)

    can sonebody see whats wrong with this picture?

  5. Just a note without any meaning… 🙂

    The picture of the red Saab 900 Turbo is taken in the town of Helsingborg on the west coast way south in Sweden.

  6. One more note (I’m having breakfast and nothing else to do…).

    There is a dark red Saab 900 T16 (model year 92) still registered with that number. It was put in traffic December 12, 1991. It had 8 owners since (that usually includes the car dealers in between).

    And the security code I had to type in to post this message was a combo of the first 3 digits in my phone number + the model number (Volvo PV 444) of my dads first car in the fifties.

    Oh well… Boring weather and now I’m of to work…

  7. Not only is the picture of a Saab line-up without a wagonback, combi coupe or hatchback completely wrong but Saab made the best hatchback ever in the C900. Not only did my ’93 900 TU5 get me across a km of soggy paddock to a shearing shed party in a quiet Tassie town a few weeks back, but there was room for a mattress in the back. Downpour, big sleep, no sheep.

  8. Back to the question.. Why did saab put it into the console on only the 9000? Simple. Saab didnt design the 9000. The “Type Four chassis”, upon which the 9000 was based, was shared with the Fiat Croma, Lancia Thema and the Alfa Romeo 164. The design was by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign, not saab. While the basic structure of the car was designed by Giugiaro, saab made a whole bunch of changes to make it unique.

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