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Raising the Roof: Saab Celebrates 20 Years of Open-top Motoring


Los Angeles, CA - Saab is celebrating two decades of Convertible sales success by announcing an anniversary model, the Saab 9-3 Convertible 20 Years Edition, starting in the country where the story began.

The concept of a practical, all-year-round, 'four season, four-seater' soft top was pioneered by Saab when it launched the first Saab 900 Convertible in the United States market in January 1986. A limited production run of 400 units with 175 hp, 2.0-liter turbo engines was an immediate success and the following year the Saab Convertible was taken into full global production.

Now, more than 240,000 Saab Convertibles later, the 9-3 '20 Years Edition' Convertible is being unveiled back in the United States as the latest expression of an iconic product that combines sporty design with surprising functionality, the core appeal of the Saab brand.

Offered at an MSRP of $44,615 (including destination charges), the Saab 9-3 20 Years Edition Convertible is powered by the all-new 250 hp, 2.8V6 turbo engine and distinguished by its unique 'electric blue' metallic paint finish. The new top-the-line model goes on sale in February 2006 and is limited to 300 units for the United States market. Based on Aero specification, with a lowered sports-tuned chassis, it includes the following features:

* Tonneau cover, door trims and door handles color-matching in electric blue metallic

* Unique 'double five-spoke', 17-inch alloy wheels

* Rear trunk lid lip spoiler, color-keyed

* Parchment leather sports interior with electric blue upholstery trim lines

* Touring package, including electrically-operated seats with memory on driver's side, express up windows, auto dimming rear-view mirror with garage door opener, rain sensing wipers and rear park assist.

The 9-3 Convertible also offers all the fun-to-drive qualities of the widely-acclaimed 9-3 Sport Sedan chassis; a fast-acting, fully automatic top with space-saving flexible trunk storage; pop-up rear roll bars and a five-star EuroNCAP crash safety rating.

Other Saab Convertible design features include:

* Front seats with integrated seat-belts for ease of use/ convenient rear seat access

* A cockpit-inspired cabin ambience with light parchment-colored interior headlining

* Profiler instrument/function customization by personal preference

* Soft-top lowering by remote control

* 'Intelligent' air conditioning control with heat settings when soft-top is down

* Saab ReAxs passive rear wheel steer characteristic for optimum handling

* Active front head restraints to help prevent neck injury in rear-end collisions.

* DynaCage rollover protection system with pop-up rear roll bars, strengthened A-pillars, sills and automatic seat-belt pre-tensioning

On the road, the all-aluminum, 2.8V6 turbo engine, with a single twin-scroll turbocharger, delivers 250 hp maximum power and an outstanding 258 lb-ft of maximum torque between 1,800 and 4,500 rpm. It gives the Saab 9-3 20 Years Edition high levels of performance (0 - 60 mph in just 7.0 seconds) and refinement in keeping with its eye-catching, good looks. It also offers excellent fuel economy, rated at 28 mpg EPA Highway. There is a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.

Standard electronic chassis systems include Saab-tuned ESP (Electronic Stability Program); EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution), CBC (Cornering Brake Control) and TCS (Traction Control System).

The current 'third generation' Saab Convertible, launched in the fall of 2003, has taken annual global sales to a record volume of almost 19,000 units, building on the success of its predecessors. The 'second generation' 900/9-3 Convertible achieved total global sales of 140,500 units between 1994-2002, averaging more than 15,500 units a year and accounting for 24 per cent of all 900/9-3 production. This compares with almost 49,000 ' first generation' Saab 900 Convertibles sold between 1987 and 1993, an average of 7,000 units a year, or 14 per cent of all Saab 900 production.

In some European markets, the Saab Convertible has achieved an annual share of the premium convertible segment as high as 30 per cent, a remarkable penetration when compared to Saab's usual 6 per cent share of the premium car segment.

"Customers are attracted by the 9-3 Convertible's premium quality, its sporty styling and generous equipment levels," says Janke Jonsson, Saab's managing director. "Its success reinforces Saab's leading role in the premium convertible segment and also highlights the core values of our brand."

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