This year total sales of the Saab Convertible since its launch 20 years ago will exceed the quarter million mark, confirming Saab’s prominent position in Europe’s premium soft-top segment. The introduction of a diesel engine is expected to increase sales still further.
Ever since the first Convertible was sold 20 years ago, Saab has played a major role in advancing the popularity of open-top cars as a practical, all-year-round means of transport. The emergence of the Saab Convertible as a global icon of style and desirability has also been reflected in its commercial success.
Sales are scaling new heights as the latest, third generation model sets new volume benchmarks for the brand. All-time record sales in 2004 of just over 19,000 units have been followed by more than 18,500 units sold last year (2005), the third highest figure in the Convertible’s 20 years of sales.
The appeal of the current range will be broadened further this year by the addition of a 1.9TiD engine, as successfully launched in the 9-3 Sport Sedan and SportCombi, and the introduction of the special 9-3 Convertible 20 Years Edition. This follows the launch of a new 230/250 bhp 2.8V6 Turbo engine last autumn.
In seven of Europe’s 16 biggest markets, the Saab 9-3 Convertible was the best-selling car in the premium convertible segment last year (2005), achieving a record volume in Europe’s largest market for premium soft-tops, the United Kingdom.
A record pan-European sales volume of almost 10,000 cars last year also saw the Convertible come within a few hundred units of taking the number one spot in Europe outside Germany, the home market for three of the leading brands in the segment.
The current model is continuing a strong upward sales trend established by its predecessors. Almost 49,000 ‘first generation’ Saab 900 Convertibles were sold between 1987 and 1993, an average of 7,000 units a year. This volume was more than doubled by the ‘second generation’ 900/9-3 Convertible, which achieved global sales of 140,500 units between 1994 and 2002, an average of more than 15,500 units a year.
Now after its first two full years of production, almost 38,000 units of the third generation model have been sold, an annual average in excess of 18,500 cars.
The 9-3 Convertible is assembled by Magna Steyr at a dedicated facility near Graz, Austria. The 150 bhp, 1.9TiD diesel engine now joins an all-turbo four and six cylinder gasoline line-up, ranging in power from 150 to 250 bhp. Backed by a maximum five-star EuroNCAP crash safety rating, the Convertible is available in Linear, Vector or Aero specification.