Saab and Salomon Host International X-Adventure Raid Series

     'Saab 9-2Xtras' team to compete in Bend, Oregon race June 11-13 
  NORCROSS, Ga., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Endurance athletes from 14 nations
are competing in the 2004 X-Adventure Raid Series, presented by Saab and
Salomon.  Each of the four stages, held on a different continent, can be
called "The equivalent of Mt. Everest in two days."  Top teams will battle for
the prestigious World Cup, and a chance to qualify for this year's week-long
Raid World Championship. 
Swedish automaker Saab continues its partnership with action sports
equipment company Salomon in sponsoring this series of uniquely challenging
outdoor adventure racing competitions in some of the most beautiful locations
around the world.  The X-Adventure Raid Series is the only international
adventure race series of four identically regulated races, each offering a
world-class field of mixed teams the opportunity to earn points towards an
overall ranking and qualify for the annual Raid World Championship, to be held
Nov. 28-Dec. 5 in Patagonia, Argentina. 
The second qualification race in the competition will be held June 11-13
in Bend, OR, only a few hours from Salomon's US headquarters in Portland.
Among the approximately 50 teams will be the Saab 9-2Xtras, captained by
Patrik Riese, director of Customer Relationship Management at Saab Cars USA in
Norcross, and an accomplished marathon runner.  Other team members are Somer
Bokatzian, Saab marketing coordinator, Kurt Schirm, Saab dealer principal from
International Motors in Falls Church, VA, and Phil Schwartz, a Saab owner from
Elkridge, MD. 
Inspired by Saab executives Knut Simonsson and Michael Mauer, who raved
about their participation in the 2002 Swedish stage, Riese wanted to
experience first-hand the exciting and demanding sport sponsored by the
company.  "We've named our team the 9-2Xtras after our newest model, the Saab
9-2X," Riese explained, "because this car is perfect for the outdoor
adventurer.  It embodies high-performance with full-time all-wheel-drive,
precision handling, outstanding driver control and a high level of utility and
versatility with its five-door body style." 
More than 50 teams will compete in the series of four X-Adventure races,
each two-day competition covering 100-145 miles of varied mountainous terrain
by foot, mountain biking, inline skating, canoeing, rappelling, and other
outdoor sports disciplines while strictly respecting the natural environment.
Albeit physically extremely challenging, the X-Adventure Raid (Rare
Adventures, Intense Discoveries) Series is a unique experience, requiring both
teamwork and team spirit, in a variety of weather conditions, often on the
same day.  A race typically covers mountainous terrain that includes ascending
an accumulated total of 13,000 to 30,000 ft. 
While some of the competitors are full-time, sponsored athletes, others
are dedicated amateurs.  But the rules are the same for everyone.  Each team
has four members, at least one of whom must be a woman.  Three members of each
team compete in each stage and must not become separated, and the woman team
member must compete in at least eight of the 11 stages.  Severe time penalties
are imposed for breaking this or any other of the strict rules. 
  The 2004 season began in May amidst the rugged Atlas Mountains in Morocco.
Series Two is set for June 11-13 in the heart of the Cascade Mountains,
Oregon, home to some of North America's most active volcanoes.  In one of the
longest contests of the season, the competitors will face 142 miles of trail
running, mountain biking, canoeing, inline skating and rock climbing/rope
works.  The race starts in Mount Bachelor, the youngest volcano in the
Cascades range and one of the premier snow sports areas in Oregon.  The finish
line is in Bend, along the western border of Central Oregon's high desert
plateau and is bounded to the east by the mighty Ponderosa pines of the 1.6
million-acre Deschutes National Forest, one of the most popular forests in the
Pacific Northwest. 


      2004 Saab-Salomon X-Adventure Raid Series Calendar
    May 7-9           Atlas Mountains, Morocco
    June 11-13        Bend, Oregon, USA
    July 9-11         Les Arcs-Courmayeur, France/Italy
    September 3-5     Kalbarri, Australia
      Raid World Championship:
    Nov. 28-Dec. 5    Patagonia, Argentina


  For Saab, the partnership represents a further shift away from
conventional, mass marketing to a more focused, experience-oriented
communication strategy.  For Salomon, a world market leader in action sports
equipment, footwear and clothing, the association further extends its brand
appeal, allowing it to accelerate the development of unique, new sport
competitions. 
Commenting on the global partnership, Knut Simonsson, Saab Automobile's
brand director, said, "There is a natural synergy between the Saab and Salomon
brands.  We both have high quality, innovative products and appeal to
individualistic customers who like to make their own decisions in life,
including their choice of sport." 
"The structure of our partnership allows us to develop what we call
'experience marketing.'  Brand exposure at international and national level
are followed up by local interactive events, involving Saab dealers, our
sponsored teams and opportunities to learn more about Saab cars or Salomon
products." 
Saab Cars USA, Inc. is the importer of Saab 9-2X, 9-3 and 9-5 automobiles
for Saab Automobile AB, Sweden.  For more information on Saab cars, visit
http://www.saabusa.com .  For more information on the Saab Salomon X-Adventure
Raid series, visit http://www.theraid.org .
  

SOURCE  Saab Cars USA, Inc. 
-0-                             06/09/2004 P 
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/CONTACT:  Kevin Smith, +1-770-279-6360, Colin Price, +1-770-279-6362, or
Dan Prescott, +1-619-749-8900, all of Saab, or +1-800-GET-SAAB/ 


    /Web site:  http://media.saab.com
                http://media.gm.com
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                http://www.saabusa.com
                http://www.theraid.org /


(GM) 
CO:  Saab Cars USA, Inc.; Salomon
ST:  Georgia, Oregon
IN:  AUT SPT
SU:
-0- Jun/09/2004 13:03 GMT
 
 
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