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SAAB: Once Volvo’s Rival, Now Lost in History’s Shadows, What Really Happened?

The Swedish vehicle brand
Volvo’s eternal rival
It was once selected as the safest vehicle brand

SAAB, a Swedish automaker, has always been mentioned together with the Volvo brand. Their history goes back to the days when they originally made fighter planes. They produced fighter planes until World War II, but after the war, they stopped producing additional fighter planes and began making automobiles, which is where their history began.

When discussing car safety, we ask, “Which manufacturer makes the safest vehicles?” There are times when we have to answer the question. Most people will answer Volvo. However, SAAB is one of the manufacturers that places as much importance on safety as Volvo and is always mentioned when discussing safe vehicles.

볼보-사브-스웨덴

볼보-사브-스웨덴

Low awareness compared to proven performance
Famous in South Korea as Scania

Thanks to its conservative corporate tendencies that value tradition and stability, it had the image of a safe vehicle and was able to make decent vehicles. In addition to the active use of turbocharged engines, downsizing technology was innovative and unrivaled at the time.

Volvo, which was considered a rival, also actively adopted turbo engines. It is said that the two Swedish brands worked hard to develop turbocharger technology because of the climate and tax system. In South Korea, commercial vehicles from Scania, SAAB’s commercial vehicle division, were imported first, and passenger vehicles were imported later, gaining popularity for a while.

Downfall due to wrong management
Tried to leap electric vehicles but failed

SAAB failed to revive due to management difficulties and other problems and disappeared from our memories. In 2012, NEVS (National Electric Vehicle Sweden) acquired SAAB and created and introduced electric vehicles using SAAB’s existing technologies.

Afterward, it seemed to be seeking a new start with electric vehicles, but unfortunately, in 2021, as rumors of bankruptcy of its parent company, China’s Evergrande Group, were raised, all development was eventually halted in 2023 and once again disappeared into SAAB’ sry.

SAAB’s situation contrVolvo’sth Volvo’s growth
Can SAAB take on a new challenge again?

SAAB did not meet the industry’s trend at the time, which valued trends and continued conservative corporate management, so it faced a transition period and could not recover. On the contrary, Volvo has steadily launched new vehicles, establishing its own identity as the world’s safest car and, simultaneously, becoming a company that symbolizes the success of the Northern European vehicle brand.

It is sad to see the conflicting sides of two companies founded in the same country. It makes us think about whether SAAB, which was unable to adapt to the changes of the times and has fallen into decline due to lagging management, can come back to us through new challenges.

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