Saab, an acronym for Svenska Aeroplan AB, began in 1949. After World War II the military aircraft market declined so they decided to produce passenger cars. Their first creation was the Saab 92, named for the 92nd Saab design. The first 91 were all aircraft. Although they were always a small manufacturer compared too many other companies, through the years they were able to offer some unique innovations such as the impact absorbing, self-repairing bumper, headlamp wipers and washers, CFC-free air conditioning, and direct ignition among others.
Saab suffered heavy financial losses for years and found themselves in serious trouble in the 1980s. By 1989 they had produced far more cars than they were selling. They needed help and looked to other companies to keep them alive. In 1990 they found the backing that they desperately needed through General Motors. First GM purchased half the company. Years later they completed the total buy out of Saab. Under General Motors direction, Saab was able to declare a profit by 1995, the first time since 1988. Unfortunately, this didn’t last and have only posted profits two years out of eleven. This is blamed on Saab’s marketing as a luxury car when it fails to offer many of the amenities other brands have. Due to this the future is uncertain. GM continues to run the brand but this is thought to be because other auto-makers seem less than interested in buying it.