NEW YORK -- The Swedish automaker Saab takes on oxygen bars, wrinkled suits, candy bars and nudity and comes out the winner every time in a new global advertising campaign.

The campaign unveiled for reporters on Monday comes as the carmaker is enjoying a sales resurgence that lifted U.S. sales last year to its highest level in 12 years and is up strongly for the first two months this year.Officials of Saab Cars USA, the Norcross, Ga.-based U.S. arm of Sweden's Saab Automobile AB, said they expect to boost ad spending this year by about 5 percent from the estimated $50 million spent in the United States in 1998.

The print ads trumpet a "Saab Vs. ...." matchup and then explain in the small print how the supposed foil is not a real rival at all.

"We hope readers will ask, 'What is this about?' when they see the ads in magazines or newspapers, said Kerry Feuerman, vice chairman of The Martin Agency which collaborated with Saab's European agency Lowe & Partners Worldwide, in creating the campaign.

In "Saab Vs. Oxygen Bars," the ad notes people have been visiting places where they can breathe pure oxygen when they could ride a Saab convertible into the countryside with the top down for the same effect.

"Saab Vs. Irish Linen" discusses how Saab seats are built with ventilation systems that keep a driver comfortable and alert and clothes relatively unwrinkled.

"Saab Vs. Candy Bars" tells how its cars have a glove compartment that keeps candy bars cool when driving on hot days while "Saab Vs. Nakedness" addresses how the car is built to protect the occupants from side collisions which leave most drivers feeling very exposed.

Feuerman said the 51-year-old carmaker, which is 50 percent owned by General Motors Corp., wanted to create an ad format that could last five years, stand out in the automotive category and appeal to the affluent and educated Saab customer.

He said 30 different commercials using the "Saab Vs. ..." format have been produced and 12 more are in the works. The ads are already running in Europe and should start next month in the United States.

Saab plans to spend its ad money more selectively this year, abandoning the broadcast networks in favor of about 10 cable networks watched most often by its best prospects. The cable networks include CNN, Arts & Entertainment, the History Channel and Discovery.

The campaign will also appear in a select group of newspapers and magazines, on outlets such as National Public Radio and on the Internet.

NPR was included in the mix in part because Saab dealers found that is the radio station that many Saab owners have their radios tuned to when they leave their car for maintenance or repairs, Saab sales and marketing manager John Orth said.

Saab sold 30,757 cars in the United States last year, its highest total since 1987.

It projects sales of more than 39,000 this year and is off to a good start with sales of 5,092 in the first two months of the year, nearly double its 2,648 total for the same period in 1998.

Its cars, which range from $25,500 to $44,000, compete with Audi, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Infiniti cars.