The company refused to comment on the likely cost of the recall, but according to the paper Göteborgs-Posten it is likely to be at least 600 million kronor.
The decision follows a report from the American traffic safety agency NHTSA, which said that the cars were breaking down and overheating, and could even catch fire.
As a result, Saab’s US owner General Motors was instructed to recall the cars for inspection and to fix the ignition problem.
“The ignition module could, especially as the car is started, become electrically overcharged,” said Örjan Åslund, Saab’s press officer.
“There is a component inside it which melts and the car doesn’t start.”
The models being recalled are the old version of the Saab 9-3 and the 9-5, from 2000, 2001 and 2002. The cars affected are petrol-fuelled.
Åslund told news agency TT that all customers will be contacted in the autumn and asked to bring their cars to a dealer.
“It probably won’t happen before the beginning of the spring. We will do an inspection, change [the component] – luckily it’s positioned just above the motor and held with a couple of screws so it will be quick to fix,” said Åslund.
According to Saab, there have been no fires caused by the problem.
“There could be a little smoke due to the plastic overheating. But no real flames. Nor have there been any accidents or people injured,” said Åslund.
A total of 287,987 cars are to be recalled around the world, of which around 68,000 are in Sweden.