RICK KRANZ

Saab gets love from enthusiasts in 42 countries

James Laman: “We are concerned, upset about the whole situation. It is something to show our support.”
Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.

Saab enthusiasts aren't giving up on the brand.

More than 100 rallies are planned in 42 countries this weekend to show support for their favorite automaker.

U.S. rallies will be staged at Saab dealerships, Ikea parking lots and even a Tampa deli, most of them on Saturday.

The rallying cry is a reaction to Saab Automobile's Dec. 19 filing for liquidation. A Swedish court is determining how the company's assets will be sold off.

The idea for a global flurry of rallies originated at a Saab club in the Netherlands, said James Laman, president of the Great Lakes Saab Club, near Grand Rapids, Mich. The message was circulated across the globe on FaceBook, Twitter and other social media.

Laman said "it is a worldwide show of support to hopefully get the right message to whoever the potential buyers are, perhaps send a little message to General Motors to continue the brand, and to reassure the employees both in the U.S. and in Sweden that the owners are behind them."

U.S. events are scheduled in 19 states, and a list can be found at www.saabsunited.com.

Laman said the Detroit-area event will be staged at 10 a.m. Saturday at Saab Cars North America's headquarters in Royal Oak, Mich.

"We are urging you to show your support for the brand. Saab may be in very deep and murky waters, [but] there is still an odd chance for it to survive. Let's show to anyone interested in helping Saab survive that there is a very large number of people who embrace the brand and want to keep it alive," according to message on the Saab enthusiasts' Web site www.outside-saab.com.

Laman is a lifelong Saab enthusiast -- he has owned 26. His collection today has a 1970 96, a 1989 900, a 1990 900 turbo, a 1992 900 and a 1995 9000.

Said Laman: "We are concerned, upset about the whole situation. It is something to show our support."

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