Many Saudi women will still need the approval of a man to buy a car or take on new responsibilities. AFP / REEM BAESHEN
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An Arabic Twitter hashtag asking women what car they want to drive already had more than 22,000 responses Thursday.A few shared images of cars encrusted with sparkly crystals.Women who need to get around already have cars driven by chauffeurs.That didn't keep Ford and Volkswagen from trying to make the most of the moment. They quickly released ads on Twitter congratulating Saudi women on the right to drive. Allowing women the right to drive is seen as a major milestone for women's rights in Saudi Arabia, but also for the Saudi economy.The Saudi government says there are 1.37 million drivers in the country, with the majority from South Asian countries working as drivers for Saudi women.There are also many Saudi families who do not have the money to buy new cars.The Saudi market peaked at 685,000 new vehicles sold in 2015, falling to under 600,000 in 2016, and is forecast to finish this year at 530,000 .Although Saudi Arabia has a reputation for liking luxury goods, mainstream brands dominate the car market with a 93 percent share of sales, according to LMC.Hyundai was the top passenger car brand with a 28.6 percent share of the market, followed closely by Toyota at 28.4 percent and Kia at 8.3 percent, the company said.
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