Thousands of drivers in Saab support road rally

Thousands of drivers in Saab support road rally
More than 2,000 Saab drivers filled a several kilometre stretch of road in the Swedish automaker's home town on Sunday in a demonstration of support for the beloved brand in the face of a decision by owner General Motors (GM) to wind it down.

“It’s hard to know exactly how many cars there were, but an estimate we’ve made puts the number at 2,500,” Claes Robertsson, the head of Saab Turbo Club of Sweden, a group of Saab admirers, told AFP.

Robertsson said both Saab employees and brand enthusiasts had attended the rally, in which drivers from Germany, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Britain also took part.

Swedish news agency TT said the demonstration started at the Saab museum in its southwestern Swedish hometown of Trollhättan and ended at the Saab factory.

According to local police, the four kilometer stretch was entirely filled by Saab cars, TT reported.

General Motors announced on December 18 that it would wind down the brand which has barely turned a profit during two decades under GM ownership, but several groups have since made last-ditch bids for it.

They include Dutch sportscar maker Spyker, a group comprised of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Luxembourg investment firm Genii Capital, and a Swedish group fronted by the former chief executive of German truck manufacturer MAN and a former politician.

Amid media reports that Spyker’s was the only bid still being considered, Genii-Ecclestone negotiator Lars Carlström told AFP Sunday his group was still in the running to acquire Saab from GM.

Saab, which employs 3,400 people in Sweden, is one of four major brands being sold by GM as part of a massive restructuring that began in 2005 and accelerated last year when the largest US automaker went bankrupt.

Analysts have warned that some 8,000 jobs could be lost with Saab’s closure.

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