AMS speak with Christian von Koenigsegg

The guys from Auto Motor and Sport recently sat down with Christian von Koenigsegg to talk about the Saab deal, what went wrong and what Koenigsegg are doing now.
I think it’s OK for me to say now that I shared a number of emails back and forth with CvK over several months after they pulled out of the Saab deal and I’m really pleased that a little of their story is coming out now. These guys did a monumental amount of work to put Saab in a good position and in my estimation, they weren’t taken seriously enough by a number of key players in the Saab sale drama.
Well done to AMS on the interview and my gratitude to Martin S for this fantastic translation.

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He layed the foundation
Fredrik Huldt had a talk with Christian von Koenigsegg about the Saab deal, what went wrong and why he is still the man who saved Saab.
After six months of intense negotiations with GM, the European Investment Bank EIB, the Swedish Government and the Chinese motor company BAIC, Christian von Koenigsegg was forced to give up his efforts to save Saab Automobile from bankrupcy on November 24th last year.
With the worse thriller in Swedish industrial history now seemingly concluded with Dutch Spyker Cars as the owner of Saab, we were, of course, curious as to what Christian had to say about it.
Ams: How does it feel retrospectivly?
Cvk: I’m happy all the energy and work we put into it came to something. Much of what we did layed the foundations for the Spyker deal.
Christian von KoenigseggAms: Do you believe in Saab today?
CvK: There are still very good chances. But the situation is much worse now. Had we been allowed to take over before the end of the year the factory wouldn’t have stopped and been closed down. We had a plan for 60,000 cars this year and this was a plan that was in the danger zone already in October. But the BAIC deal we facilitated had the effect that Saab got 1,4 billion (SEK). Suddenly there were funds. Old parts that they were basically going to throw away that we dug out of the boxes, an engine here, some old chassis stuff there… Maybe there are some Chinese who will want to buy, we thought. And we were right. We can say that we left 1,4 billion after us. That’s how I see it.
Ams: What do you think of Victor Muller as the captain of this damaged old boat?
CvK: In a way I think he’s a good captain. He’s very energetic and convincing. He’s a real PR-person and Spyker has always been a good PR-company. Their production facility is smaller than ours. They are listed in the stock market despite of that. They have produced a few more cars then we have, but to a third of the price. So turnover-wise they have always been below us. Saab has, of course, very good technical competence and a managment who wants to show that they can do the right thing. So maybe it’s great with this PR-aspect.
Ams: Koenigseggs so-called PR-coup and the rumours that you were underfinanced?
CvK: We were accused of a PR-coup but we are the opposite of a PR-carcompany. We focus ALL our time and enegry on technology. Working with free valves, patenting compressor- or catalyst systems, building our own engines, our own electrical systems. Everything is specially built. That’s where we put our money instead of buying parts that are pretty good but not so exciting.
Koenigsegg itself does not have huge financial muscle but B

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