There was mention of three out of four prominent members of the Koenigsegg group in the news today:
Bard Eker was making all the right noises in an article in The Guardian newspaper.
“Saab has to refine their quality level, their soul and spirit and we believe that this is something we can help with,” Eker told Reuters in a telephone interview. “The most interesting thing is that GM thinks the same,” added Eker…..
…..”So far we haven’t seen much in terms of environmentally friendly cars from the big (players),” he said. “That is something the smaller companies can more easily attend to because it is much quicker to turn around a smaller company.”
Asked if a “greener” Saab could be in the works, Eker said: “Obviously we have some ideas but it’s too early to talk about them … but environmental thinking is a very important thing in our view.”
It looks like maybe Kroum’s dream of a 500hp supercharged Koenigsaab 9-5 might have to wait a little.
I hope not, but maybe….
This is a great bit:
“They have a good management team and obviously that is something we will not interfere with,” he said.
Eker said the car industry faced “much more pain ahead” but that the opportunity to buy Saab was simply too good to pass up.
“The auto industry survivors will be much more dependent on bringing something new to the table in terms of technology and environmental thinking (after the crisis ends),” he said.
“Rising to such opportunities is one of our strengths.”
The rentention of Saab’s management team – who have kept Saab alive despite every GM attempt to make it irrelevant and homogenised – is a key to Saab’s ongoing growth. These people know what they’re dealing with.
Confirmation from a local San Diego newspaper that the Mark Bishop who holds 22% of The Koenigsegg Group is the Mark Bishop that we were speculating on a few days ago – the one I’ve dubbed “Flipper”.
A Rancho Santa Fe resident with a three-decade history of selling mortgage debt was identified yesterday as one of the new prospective owners of Saab Automobile.
In the deal announced yesterday, Mark Bishop, managing director of Liquiddium Capital Partners in Westlake Village, would own 22.2 percent of Saab, with the remainder held by Sweden’s tiny Koenigsegg Automotive and two other firms.
Bishop, 53, was traveling in Europe yesterday and could not be reached for comment.
Bishop has no known background in automotive companies. At Liquiddium, he’s in charge of finding funding and institutional investment for the firm’s real estate holdings.
Liquiddium’s strategy is to buy foreclosed-upon or underperforming real estate properties – including apartment complexes, retail stores and storage units – and then hold them for four to six years before reselling them.
Maybe I’m being too hard on Flipper? Maybe it’s the innate human desire to find someone to blame for things that go wrong?
I find his business (which has been more sub-prime oriented than is written here) and the outcome from it quite unpalatable but there’s nothing illegal about it. The fact that he got out of it before everything melted down shows some good timing.
I’ll try and mellow up a little.
And the name behind this whole Koenigsegg thing, Mr CvK himself, was also in the news.
Christian von Koenigsegg, founder of the sportscar maker that plans to buy Saab Automobile, said on Wednesday that Saab’s cash flow goals were “fairly reasonable” but hinged on economic conditions…..
…..”We are contemplating different scenarios according to what the market looks like and how that affects the business plan,” Christian von Koenigsegg told Reuters in an interview. Asked whether the new company could reach a positive cash flow as expected by Saab after 2010, he said: “That sounds fairly reasonable, but it all depends on the market conditions and if there is a turnaround in the economy.”
Koenigsegg said the business plan was undergoing stress tests and that he was cautious about the outlook for 2009 due to the downturn in the global economy.
“Our ambition is to turn the company around and keep it for the long term,” he said. “We are entrepreneurs. We are not venture capitalists.”
Again, he’s making all the right noises.
There are a lot of questions going around, especially in the Swedish media, about how this tiny company can afford to operate one that is thousands of times larger in terms of scale.
The PR gurus are very aware of this, which is why “financially strong” is being mentioned whenever you hear a Saab-connected person speak at the moment.