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Wed 6 Feb 2008 02:42 AM

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Saudi women flock to car show

Potential new customers eye luxury models following reports that driving ban could be about to end.

A luxury car exhibition in Jeddah has attracted unprecedented numbers of women, following press reports that Saudi Arabia’s long-standing ban on female drivers could be lifted.

Women were reported to have flocked to the show, enquiring about the latest models.

“They came here encouraged by the anticipation of the issuance of a decision allowing women to drive”, one woman told Saudi daily Al Watan in a report picked up by Gulf News.

According to the report, luxury cars worth more than 4 billion riyals are sold in the kingdom annually.

The UK’s Daily Telegraph reported in January a decision had been taken to end Saudi Arabia’s ban on female drivers as part of King Abdullah’s reform strategy.

A new petition was handed to the King earlier that month, urging him to end the restriction, and stating the “hope that 2008 will be the year in which Saudi women obtain their natural right to drive a car”.

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