Saab took a major step forward in 1978 when the first Saab 900 went into production. A development of the 99, it included a longer wheelbase, wider front and rear tracks and new frontal styling. The changes allowed the installation of power-assisted steering and further enhanced handling and crash impact performance. Production of the two models overlapped for six years, until 1984, when the 99 was replaced by the 90.
The 900 range brought sales success in the large US market, where power steering was a necessity, and had become a modern classic by the time its 15 year production run had ended. It was also the foundation for a new niche product that quickly became a mainstream success: the first Saab Convertible. Launched in 1986 as a robust, soft-top model for everyday use, the 900 Convertible set new class standards for the time. The automatic, triple layer hood and four-seater layout gave customers an open top car that was practical to use all the year round.
In 1987, sloping frontal styling was introduced across the entire range, including a new grille design, headlamp units and front and rear bumpers.
A total of 908,810 Saab 900s were produced, of which 48,888 were Convertibles.