Christian von Koenigsegg On The Saab Sale In 2009

Christian von Koenigsegg is currently answering questions from fans on the Koenigsegg blog. It’s some kind of a throwback into those exciting times when various parties tried to free Saab fom GM. Not only because of the story but also because it’s a certain Steven Wade who now runs the blog at Koenigsegg. Below is the Saab related excerpt, the full AMA1 session can be found here.

Koenigsegg Automotive AB was closing in on a deal to buy Saab Automobile AB in 2009, but in the end it didn’t come through. Although there was much written in the (Swedish) press about it at the time, it was almost all negativity regarding the financial details and hardly anything about what the actual idea behind the deal was. It would be interesting to know what convinced you at that time that such a deal would be worthwhile.

CvK: I’m aware that a few questions ago I said that we are not into building mass-market cars and it’s true for Koenigsegg Automotive AB. The Saab opportunity was different and involved a specific set of circumstances:

1. It was clear that SAAB needed innovation and entrepreneurial help to survive.

2. SAAB had fantastic and underutilized car development facilities that could be used to revitalize the brand relatively quickly and efficiently if we could infuse the Koenigsegg way of working with these facilities instead of the GM way.

3. We had many technologies from the Koenigsegg side that we could quickly and efficiently integrate into the then-present line up of SAAB cars to make them more desirable and exciting. Things such as suspension and handling, turbo patents, reduced back pressure systems, FreeValve engine systems (sister company to Koenigsegg), upgraded exterior design using our aero and design experience etc. Basically, it was a unique opportunity to enter that market with a good brand and a good factory at what would have been a very affordable price. I think we could have used some of our technology and design expertise to make some interesting cars.

The group was called the Koenigsegg Group because mine was a recognisable name. There were other much larger investors behind the group that saw the opportunity, which is where most of the financial resources would have come from to actually run the business. I am very happy with what Koenigsegg AB is doing now, but it would be interesting to know what life would have been like if the Saab deal had happened. Many said it was an impossible undertaking. Actually I fully agree. The fact is, I like impossible undertakings, like for example creating Koenigsegg Automotive from scratch or being instrumental in creating the worlds first fully functioning FreeValve system.

Looking back at things from today I still feel the Koenigsegg Group would have been the most fitting and most logical owner for Saab. The desire to really bring things forward could have made Saab special again. But I don’t want to play the if and when game again. Things have gone different. Still, it’s nice to daydream a bit now and then.

11 thoughts on “Christian von Koenigsegg On The Saab Sale In 2009”

  1. Looking back, I would have changed anything regarding the 2009 sale in hopes that we’d be in better shape now. This would be the most obvious – let this go through and see where we would be at now.

    • At the time, all that was said publicly was that Koenigsegg Group had a timetable, but the deal kept getting delayed for various reasons to the point where Koenigsegg Group did not find it financially feasible to continue. If you search SU for past posts with “Koenigsegg” as the search term and look at articles from 2009, you can read more of what Steven Wade posted at that time.

      Here is one article that seems of particular interest. GP: BAIC/GM Conflict Sunk Koenigsegg Group

  2. Indeed, it is sad to wonder what could have been…

    If i remember this correctly (and the story may have been exaggerated in the press) CvK’s group was literally on the way to file the documents for Saab when they called it off, leading to all sorts of speculation of GM interference. True? Does anyone here with knowlege of the Swedish press accounts know the reasons why Koenigsegg did not place their bid?

  3. Well, if he ever feels that he would like the challenge of creating a line of mass-market cars in the future without compromising his own brand, then he knows that the Saab brand name is available and I am sure that Saab AB would consider a sale to him.

  4. If NEVS had any brains, they’d collaborate with Koenigsegg on a super-car project that may impress the board responsible for the Saab brand name. NEVS are leasing out Trollhatten facilities or something like that, aren’t they? Surely they could collaborate by at least mass producing some parts for Koenigsegg, and see what a working relationship would be like? Or putting their free-valve system into the 9-3 car they have the rights to?

    • In the present Asian situation under NEVS, it is the “wong” way 😀

      (it’s ok I can make that joke because I’m Asian 🙂 )

  5. What a missed opportunity. But we have to live with it. However would just the time has been the decision factor? CvK says he had investors behind him who were ready to invest. Koenigsegg from the other hand had a good idea what to do with this, for them, new business. So there must be a more fundamental reason why they stepped out.

    • Only did read now the link Maanders gave, see above.
      Interesting; the GP’s article on the BAIC/GM conflict could indeed be the factor that made Koenigsegg decide to not make the bid. If this proves correct we again need to blame the Chinese.

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