Saab Automobile's New Corporate Symbol Derived From Company's Aircraft Heritage
Saab Automobile has adopted a new corporate symbol. The new symbol has been designed to more clearly visualize the values that lie in the brand name. It continues the evolution of the past Saab symbols, and its history - steeped in aircraft - follows the colorful history of the Swedish company.
It all began with aircraft
In 1937, the newly-founded Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget - abbreviated to SAAB - began construction of an aircraft factory in Trollhattan, Sweden. Aircraft production began the next year and during WWII, nearly one thousand people were employed at Saab building Swedish bombers and fighter aircraft.
The company's corporate symbol was the drawing of a twin-engine propeller aircraft viewed from the front. The letters S-A-A-B were suspended under the fuselage and the outstretched wings.
In 1939, Saab moved its design and administrative departments to Linkoping, Sweden, and it was there that Saab's first car emerged. On June 10, 1947, Saab used its cafeteria to unveil the car to the press.
The car shown to the journalists was prototype No. 2 - Saab serial No. 92002. Waiting outside was the first prototype - the Saab 92001 - which is on display today at the Saab Car Museum in TrollaŠttan. The front of this original Saab carries a fictitious badge designed to confuse any curious onlookers during the secret road tests.
When car production officially began in December 1949, an aircraft-inspired emblem was fitted to the front of the hood. The letters SAAB against a blue background were written in a square with rounded corners, and two chromed wings sprouted out in opposite directions from the bottom of the square.
The corporate symbol and the brand name still consisted of the drawing of a twin-engined propeller aircraft. But the letters SAAB had now been moved up, elongated and radiated upwards from the aircraft silhouette.
Although the company name was usually written in capitals letters - SVENSKA AEROPLAN AKTIEBOLAGET - the word "Saab", even then, was always written in lower-case letters.
Saab's badge design was retained through 1962. The next year, the corporate symbol containing the propeller aircraft was incorporated into the radiator grille, and the following year - on the 1964 models - an elegant chromed emblem with the same motif also appeared on the trunk lid.
The Saab-Scania Group The company name was changed on May 19, 1965. The earlier Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget became Saab Aktiebolag. The first completely redesigned car - the Saab 99 - was presented on November 22, 1967 and gave an inkling of what the new Saab logotype would be. Instead of the tall and slender SAAB emblem, the trunk lid was fitted with an elongated badge of modern design, with the letters joined together into an ideogram.
When Saab-Scania was formed in 1969 by the merger of Saab Aktiebolag and Aktiebolag Scania-Vabis, the logotype of the new group was designed using the same typeface as the Saab logotype, but written in capital letters: SAAB-SCANIA.
The car badges were also gradually changed. Up to the 1973 models, both the Saab 95/96 and the Saab 99 had the original 'classic' corporate symbol with an aircraft in the radiator badge. However, the 1974 models were fitted with a simple, stylish Saab emblem, fully in line with the general identity rules of the Group.
A new Group symbol
In May 1984, Saab-Scania presented a new Group symbol for the entire Saab-Scania Group.
The automotive manufacturing traditions of the Group were symbolized by the mythological animal, the Griffin. Vabis produced its first factory-made car in 1897, and when Scania unveiled its first car in 1901, it too used the Griffin as a symbol. This mythological animal - half lion and half eagle - was the symbol for vigilance and was included in the coat of arms of the County of Skane (Scania is Latin name for Skane) where these companies originated.
The roundel symbolized what the high-tech group of companies stood for - high-class products on the ground and in the air. The symbol was designed by the well-known artist Carl Fredrik Reutersward and, with the 1985 models, was fitted both to Saab cars and trucks and buses from Scania.
The use of the Saab-Scania symbol was modified twice - in 1990 and in 1992. Saab Automobile AB was established as an independent company on 1 January 1990 as a result of a cooperation agreement between Saab-Scania AB and General Motors (Europe) AG.
Starting in 1995, when the Saab-Scania Group was disintegrated and a 50 percent holding in Saab Automobile was taken by Investor AB, Scania began using a new version of the earlier Group symbol.
New Saab company symbol
The mythological Griffin is also linked to Linkoping, the city to which Saab aircraft production was concentrated after moving from Trollhattan in 1959. Linkoping has city rights dating back to the 1280s and is the cathedral city and seat of county government of Ostergotland County, the coat of arms of which also includes a Griffin. So it is no mere coincidence that one of today's most advanced aircraft - the JAS 39 - bears the name Gripen (Swedish for Griffin).
The name Griffin has been used on Saab cars when, in the spring of 1992, the Saab 9000 Griffin was launched as the top-of-the-range model.
The new Saab corporate symbol is an evolution of the previous corporate symbol produced by Carl Fredrik Reutersward in the mid-1980s, and consists of a navy blue round plate with a golden-crowned Griffin head in red, under which the name SAAB is written in silver. Like Saab's global Retail Environment Design (RED) approach to new dealership facilities, the new symbol has been designed to profile Saab more clearly and visualize the values inherent in the brand name. It will be featured on all 2001 Saab models.