What a week it’s been for Koenigsegg and Saab

it’s been a tumultuous week for the Koenigsegg Group, or so it seems when you read the papers and the reports here on SU. I get the feeling that they possibly noticed the turbulence earlier in the week and from then on it’s been business as usual.
What’s happened in the papers and what’s happened on the ground at Saab are two somewhat different things, however. So I thought it might be worthwhile to have a look at the two in order to inject some perspective.
The reports:
The week started with a panic-stricken report about fractures within the Koenigsegg Group, with Bard Eker being quoted out of context about a midweek deadline for decisions that turned out to be nothing. Christian von Koenigsegg came out and spoke about the issue and the hard work that’s going into this deal.
You might question their PR experience and agenda, but don’t question the hard work that’s going on behind the scenes.
Next there was another negative story about the EIB loans, with Dagens Industri reporting that Saab may not get the full amount of the EIB loans that they seek. Once again, this seemed to be a case of the media getting carried away and E24 later reported that confidence is high that Saab should indeed be eligible for the full loan that they seek.
Finally, there was a curious story about Augie Fabela’s company, Solsken, who are reportedly raising further funds for investment into Saab by trying to attract short term investors. Solsken is a 42% shareholder in the Koenigsegg Group, who are (or will be) Saab’s new owners and who are required by the government to remain in ownership for at least the next seven years.
That’s the backroom business side of things. So what about the cars?
Firstly, the company is still basking in the glow of a lot of positive reviews for the Saab 9-5’s showing at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Here on Saabs United we tended to get into the nitty gritties and critical examination of the car, but it’s fair to say it’s been very well received by the vast majority of the world’s motoring press.
Second, there was a slow but steady rise in vehicle sales for Saab, especially in their home market. Sales rises will be slow in the coming months as production is very slow and there will be lingering uncertainty until the Koenigsegg deal is closed, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Saab 9-5 tooling started arriving in Trollhattan just before the Frankfurt Show started. The transport and setup of that equipment continues. In addition to that, there’s news overnight that the 9-3 Convertible tooling will come in from Austria in the next few weeks and should be ready for production in January.
More good news that involves actual cars came in the form of the ElectricEngine Saab 9-3 convertible electric car. Saab plan to provide ElectricEngine with 100 vehicles for testing and validation in 2010. This vehicle’s success will mainly be a benefit for ElectricEngine, but for Saab to be so involved in the project is a marketing bonus for them, as well.
Finally, there was the news that seems to be developing as we speak, with Beijing Automotive looking to acquire the tooling for the outgoing Saab 9-5 for production, most likely under their own name, for the Chinese market. I’d bet fairly heavily on the proposition that they won’t stop there, too, with the possible establishment of a new label in China selling the outgoing Saab range (heck, the old 9-3 owes Saab nothing now, why not start things up with that, too?)
So there you have it. In the backroom there’s a lot of things happening that we plain just don’t know about. That means there’s lots of room for speculation and that’s exactly what the newspapers seem to be doing at will. There’s some facts there, but there’s also a lot of interpretation.
When it actually comes to cars, things are moving along. And cars are Saab’s business and they’re what we’re all here for. I might just go and have a drive in mine now.
The last word can appropriately go to Jan-Ake Jonsson:
How is the mood at Saab right now?
– Incredibly excited. It may sound strange, but it’s due to 4 000 people waiting for one thing: that we shall get started as a separate company in a new structure.

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