I know you US folks had a long weekend last weekend and so some may have missed this summary of a great interview with Christian von Koenigsegg. Here it is again
Auto Motor and Sport magazine in Sweden have conducted an in-depth and somewhat rare interview with the man behind Koenigsegg Automobile, and one of the figureheads of the Koenigsegg Group – Mr Christian von Koenigsegg himself.
The interview is in the latest print version of the magazine and I understand it won’t be available online for a little while. Fortunately, I’m able to bring you some of the highlights from the piece, with thanks to the letters C, V and K and the number 9.
This is me working from an electronic translation. Any errors are mine and suggestions are welcome to fix inaccuracies.
The Koenigsegg-Saab story started with a blaze of hope and glory, but shortly thereafter the transaction was bogged down by media scepticism. This wasn’t helped by the silence of the Koenigsegg Group members, who have hesitated to address any doubts in the press.
With that backdrop, it’s really encouraing to hear from CvK, who radiates a lot of hope for the future for Saab and the developments that might take place under the ownership of the Koenigsegg Group.
There’s a lot more in the print edition and I’m sure the context will be easier to understand, too, so go out and grab yours now.
The whole idea of acquiring Saab started with Mark Bishop, who has family connections to Trollhattan. He started the process and then got in touch with Koenigsegg about participating. Bishop later left the group for personal reasons.
Koenigsegg Group want to build a successful Swedish car company out of Saab. He believes that just because Saab have not succeeded 100% in the past doesn’t mean that they can’t succeed in the future. The plant is now fully modernised and the cost structures are around 30% lower in Sweden than in Germany.
Has a black CCXR. Enough said – SW.
Nothing is an obstacle for him.
Stands for tradition and is a good balance in this group.
What will CvK do?
…may be able to help in terms of feedback….using Koenigsegg’s expertise in high-end vehicles to help Saab get cars that are optimised in terms of design, weight and technology
Swedish technology, innovative, safe, environmentally friendly, sporty……not as striking as BMW – A little more low key
Tie-ins with Koenigsegg
They will be kept apart mostly. Saab is Saab and Koenigsegg is Koenigsegg. We have make sure of the synergies before integrating anything. But it’s possible there may be a top edition with a “by Koenigsegg” tie-in in the future.
We’re keeping a close eye on green technology and believe that Saab can emerge as a good niche player in that field……. In the future we’d like to have a specific electric car, a 9-3 and 9-5 and a smaller car under the 9-3. A Sonett type vehicle would require everything to be going very well, but if the opportunity arose….
Saab’s own business plan called for production of 125,000 cars to break even. We have been over that and have formed a solution which would see break-even at around 100,000 vehicle sales per annum. The aim is to have innovative solutions and products that people will want to pay for, and not having to have large discounts to sell vehicles.
Pricing should be around Audi levels; some above and some below.
The 9-5 may see some Koenigsegg influence after a year or so. The next generation 9-3 is underway and we will have a much bigger influence on that.
Unless the importation rules change, we may look at producing Saabs for China, in China. It is the fastest growing market in the world.
The Cargine system is very exciting and based on pneumatics, metal components are pressure lubricated by engine oil. The valve is operated by air. Cargine has a couple of patents that reduce energy consumption by around 90 percent against the conventional pneumatic systems. That is the key to it all. Conservative estimates say fuel consumption can come down around 20 to 30 percent. It should be operational in around 5 years.
Estimates say that a Saab 9-3 Aero in the future could have Cargine technology and put out around 300hp from it’s four cylinder engine and emit only 130g per kg of CO2.
The government and ownership
The media has spun this story in a way that looks bad for Saab. We wanted to get a message across that said we would like GM, Saab and the government to work together on solving this quickly, but all that the media wrote was that we need 3billion and put in just 700 million ourselves. It’s not true.
The additional capital was not a shortfall, it was/is needed to get the technology we want developed faster.
If we couldn’t have solved this, we would have thrown in the towel. There is a lot riding on this for all of us, including the success of our own businesses.
It’s important to make sure people understand that we are not venture capitalists. We are long term owners; we look at the Quandt family and BMW as a model. Augie, Bard and I have no exit strategy here. We are in for the long haul.
We do not have wild dreams, but we want to build Saab step by step. Saab will not have an F1 team, though maybe a return to rally roots could happen in a few years.