Sixty-two years of innovation comes to an end

General Motors has promised that it will support Saab customers as it confirmed that it would end the brand after over 60 years of innovation.

Saab vehicles implemented some of the most commonly-seen technology in today's motoring world. Most notably, turbochargers - now commonplace in premium cars - were pioneered in production vehicles by Saab in 1977. In 1971, Saab became the first car brand to include heated seats, also commonplace in today's high-end vehicles. Side impact bars were introduced by the firm in another world first a year later.

The news will prove devastating to thousands of loyal Saab fans around the world, despite GM's promise to look after its customers. Results of a study released this summer by Ruhr University's Dr. Rüdiger Hossiep suggest that Saab owners form a stronger attachment to their car than all other owners and brands, after studying 1.2 million users of a German car forum. Saab owners have been at the top of his "involvement index" for three years, identifying themselves 40 times more closely with their cars than the average Nissan driver.

However, last week General Motors announced that Saab technology had been passed to automaker Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd (BAIC), meaning that consumers may still see features pioneered by Saab on the market in the future. Beijing Automotive is understood to be currently integrating the technology with a view to starting production of a Saab-based brand of cars as early as 2011.

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