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Saab suffers US and Swedish sales slump

Saab Automobile sales plummeted in the United States during the month of October, while sales of Volvo showed signs of improvement.

According to figures presented on Tuesday by US-based owners General Motors (GM), only 513 customers drove Saabs off the lots of dealerships in the United States in October, a 74 percent drop compared with the 1,975 Saabs sold in October of last year.

The sales slump for Saab comes amid an overall sales improvement for GM, which sold 177,603 cars last month compared to 170,585 last year – an increase of 4 percent.

Meanwhile Ford, which owns Volvo Cars, reported on Tuesday that US sales for the 4,437 vehicles sold by the Swedish automaker in October amounted to an increase of 19.4 percent compared with figures from the same month in 2008.

Ford reported overall US sales for October of 136,920 vehicles, a 3.1 percent improvement compared to October of last year and a 21 percent increase from the previous month.

Saab sales in Sweden also suffered in October, according to BIL Sweden, an association representing the auto industry in Sweden.

Only 588 new Saabs were registered in Sweden last month, a drop of 70.3 percent compared with October 2008.

Swedish sales of Volvos were also down slightly, from 4,482 vehicles in October 2008 to 4,355 vehicles last month, a drop of 2.8 percent.

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Who’s behind Lund’s spate of car burnings?

The university town of Lund has seen a spate of car burnings over the last ten days, and police are stumped as to the possible motive.

Who's behind Lund's spate of car burnings?
A burned out car in Lund. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Patrik Isacsson, the local police chief, said that his city was home to few of the angry, marginalized youths associated with past spates of car burnings in troubled districts like Husby and Rinkeby in Stockholm. 
 
“We have none of that sort of social unrest,” he told the Sydsvenskan newspaper. “The police have not antagonized any young guys who might want to then take revenge.” 
 
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Lund has seen eight cars set on fire in the past ten days, with the most recent, an attack on a parked taxi on Norrängavägen in the east of the city, taking place early on Monday morning. 
 
Cars have been set alight across the city, often in locations close to the city centre. 
 
Isacsson said that the police were struggling to get a lead as none of the owners of the burned cars appeared to have any relation with one another. 
 
“We just don't know,” he admitted. 
 
“We are looking at youths in gangs, we're looking at pyromaniacs, we're checking out the people who like to stand and watch when they're burning, and we're looking at people who are mentally unwell and who want to get their frustration out through lighting fires.”
 
It was also possible that the burnings were part of an insurance fraud, Isacsson said, although he admitted this looked unlikely given the apparent lack of connection between the victims. 
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