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.

Not SAAB related

Two weeks ago the Geneva international motor Show started. Not being there felt a little bit disappointing, on the one side, because it means another year without New SAAB branded cars, and on the other side because it is fun to be there during the press days and you get the info first hand.

Nevertheless lots of new things have been introduced in Geneva, but for me only two were really of interest.

Koengisegg_Regera_front_moretwist First was the Koenigsegg Regera. It is always fascinating to see a new car coming from Koenigsegg every year, and on the booth in front of Koenigsegg you have seen the very same car for the last 6 years albeit in different colours. (You can guess which car brand am I talking about).

The Regera is an interesting way of using the capabilities of a hybrid car, but with all the respect to CvK, the Regera is a hybrid car. What I didn’t like about the Regera was the way the press was talking about the car. I mean it is no rocket science what Koenigsegg has done.

Why do cars need a gear-box? No, it is not to be able to drive fast, more than that is to be able to start moving. At low revs an IC-Engine has almost no torque at all, and to get a car to start moving needs more torque than to keep it moving.

Read moreNot SAAB related

What happened in the meantime.

SaabsUnited was down for maintenance for one week. And during this week lots of things have happened. Here are some snippets from the last week.

Last Tuesday the Geneva Motor Show opened its doors to the press. This time two things were missing at the motor show, on the one side NEVS had no both on the show, which makes sense as they have nothing to show at this moment, and on the other side SU had no reporters in Geneva too give you a first hand impression of the news from the auto industry.

But thanks to the internet we have been well aware of what was going on in that nice city in western Switzerland.

In September of last year Koenigsegg reached two milestones in their company life. In 2002 Koennigsegg delivered the first car to a customer, ten years later they started the production of their 100th production car.

From their press release

2002 – After eight painstaking years of constant development, the small striving Koenigsegg team delivered the first production cars to anticipating customers.

10 years later, in September 2012, the first carbon prepreg pieces were cut on the routing machine for Koenigesgg’s 100th production car. The car was duly named “Hundra” (Swedish for 100) – a unique one-off Agera S being built for an excited car collector.

Fast forward to March 2013 – The Hundra is finished in time for the 2013 Geneva Auto Salon. A beautiful clear carbon right hand drive Agera S with celebratory, artisan hand laid and swirled, 24 carat gold leaf inlays, creating an intriguing mix of traditional and hi-tech craftsmanship.


Taking into account that this car cost only half as much as the fugly Lamborghini Veneno, and that the Veneno will be one third as exclusive as the Hundra, I would rather pay for Swedish engineering excellence than for an Audi on steroids.

Read moreWhat happened in the meantime.

Those who wanted to buy Saab, still buy Saabs

When Saab were up for sale, there were a number of seriously interested parties.

The Koenigsegg Group used the Koenigsegg name, but were a group of individuals with various backgrounds in business.

Merbanco were a group based in Wyoming, USA, with extensive industrial and business turnaround experience. One of the guys involved with Merbanco, CJ, has been a regular in comments at SU.

Renco, a private company owned by Ira Rennert had interests in smelting, mining (which wasn’t too popular) as well as heavy machinery manufacturing.

The Genii name was used for a group put together by Lars Carlstrom, an entrepreneur in Stockholm. The group was named for Genii Capital, the investment group providing the core backing for the purchase. Of course, the group got a lot of media attention when F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone jimped on board. Genii was actually the third group that Lars Carlstrom put together in a bid to acquire Saab.

Beijing Automotive were also very interested and amongst the first round of potential buyers. Whilst they weren’t selected as one of the final bidders, they did proceed to buy some of Saab’s older technology.


It’s been interesting to see that several people from the groups named above have gone on to purchase new Saabs even thought their interest in acquiring the company as a whole didn’t bear fruit.

Read moreThose who wanted to buy Saab, still buy Saabs

An exceptional day

Last night I was staying in Malmo and I mentioned here on site that I was going to do something very exciting today. Much speculation ensued, however none of it was on the money.

Truth be told, I did a few nice things in Malmo this morning. I woke up. I went for a walk with my wife and then caught up with Dave R from England, who was on his way to Trolllhattan for the festival. That was it for Malmo, however.

The excitement happened a little further north.

If I show this picture, locals in Sweden might guess where I’ve been…..

OK, so the locals should know.

For the rest of you, have a look at the picture after the jump……

Read moreAn exceptional day

Friday Snippets – ‘Nobody told me there’d be days like these’ Edition

British Saab dealers had their launches yesterday, I believe.

I haven’t heard anything from attendees yet, but I’m sure all went well.

Photo by Robin M.


It’s a mad day.

Can you believe the cult of celebrity, even in basketball where a man’s image is starting to overshadow the importance of his jump shot or his ability to actually win games, has grown to the stage where a national sports channel will devote an hour to one guy announcing where he’ll play for the next few seasons?

People with an interest in b-b-b-basketball should read Bill Simmons’ column on The LeBrachelor before the announcement comes through.

And can you believe I’m even writing about this here?


Can you believe that a guy in the motoring industry – one whose company has just floated on the stock exchange – would feel the pressure of public scrutiny so much that he’d decide to address rumours about his personal relationships in the public arena? And then instead of doing it in a big national newspaper, he’d choose Jalopnik?

No smear on Jalopnik there, but I’d just assume that if you want it to be read by the people who are supposedly dogging you, then you’d pick the NYT or something.

Tesla’s Elon Musk: About my divorce.


Can you believe how much time and money Toyota are spending to tell people how good they really think they are right now?

Autoblog was their servant during the unintended acceleration debacle and it seems they are Toyota’s servants once again.


For those of you, who like me, still think of the potential Koenigsegg era with some fondness. The Koenigsegg Agera.

Not that I’m unhappy with how things turned out, of course.


For those of you, who like me, have never lived in the midst of a snowy winter…….

This is what cars look like at that time of year. I found it quite curious. Maybe you will too.

That’s JJ’s Pepper Green SportCombi. Thanks JJ.


And speaking of how things turned out, here’s a Spyker being featured in a FedEx ad in this month’s Hemmings.

Word to the doubters who might think this ad is a little fanciful: We know that FedEx deliver Spykers because we saw one being delivered to Just Saab in the back of a FedEx truck 🙂


Less than 24 hours to go……..

Friday Night Snippets: Eurovision edition!

I love the last weekend in May. It’s Eurovision time!

Unfortunately, Sweden were dumped at the semi-final stage, so I’ll have to find someone else to cheer for this year. My all-time faves are at the bottom of this post.


There’s a good article for all you wannabe motoring writers over at Edmunds Inside Line today. It’s simply titled “How To Become an Automotive Journalist” and whilst there’s a number of talents one can have that’ll help you get there, the basic skill that you must have, not surprisingly, is the ability to write.

Staff members of magazines and Web sites need to aggressively pursue stories where no one else is looking. They need to meet deadlines, even if it means working through the night. They need to want to write stories about cars not just because they’re getting paid to do it, but because they love to do it and strive to do it well.

I’m still practicing, but it’s an encouraging read.


Speaking of great writing, and a great story…..

Here’s the best automotive reading you’ll probably do all weekend. Gunnar Heinrich from Automobiles Deluxe interviews David Crafoord, the designer of the original Koenigsegg CC.


Will we see any signs saying Save Mercury at a series of Mercury Support Convoys?

I don’t think so.


My favourite Eurovision performances over the last 10 years:

We are the winners, from 2008


Hard Rock Hallelujah, from around 2006, I think.


And my all-time favourite, Wadde Hadde Dudde Da. I can’t believe this was 10 years ago!


Thursday Snippets – Love The Beast edition

I didn’t know Car and Driver were going to do this, so it’s a slight case of fortunate timing.
If you happened to read my reflective piece from last night about the joy of driving and that caused you to do a little reminiscing of your own, then you might want to put pen to paper (i.e. fingers to keys) and enter a competition over at C&D.
All you have to do is write about your first car:

What we want to know from you is a little about your first car: What it was, whether or not you loved it and why. If you’ve lost track of it over the years, would you like to find it again? Feel free to share any memories–good or bad–specific to your first ride.

The prizes will be given at random so everyone’s got a good chance of winning. In case it’s not going to be as random as they say, it’d probably help if your story’s a good one.
The prize pack includes a copy of the film, Love The Beast. This is an essential movie for any gearhead. It tells the story of Eric Bana’s love affair with the Ford Falcon he bought when he was a teenager and crashed twenty-something years later, not too far from where I’m sitting right now, during a leg of the Targa Tasmania tarmac rally. It explores the reasons why blokes get so obsessive about things they love and the bonds that are created through that shared interest. It’s also got some killer driving footage from Tasmania, too.
Click here to enter the competition. And even if you don’t, see if you can get hold of that movie. It really is worthwhile.
If you’ve got time, here’s some great automotive writing from one of my long-time favourites, PJ O’Rourke. He tackles the Jeep Wrangler.
Those of you who are affected by the whole Conan/Leno late night TV thing, please leave your prejudices at the door. Your comments on this post about that issue, should you make them, will be deleted because I don’t care.
What I do care about, however, is the Koenigsegg Trevita that Leno had in his garage. The following video will take you on a look around that car, with the tour guide being none other than Christian von Koenigsegg himself.

The car is absolutely amazing and CvK is heck of a dude.
Viggen owners out there might want to take note of these……
If I mentioned a group of red cars on a track, driving in various formations, around the cones and on two wheels, etc, you’d probably think immediately of the Saab Performance Team.
I know Saab have been doing those moves for over 20 years.
I’m not sure how long Cadillac have been doing it for.
hat tip to Andy Rupert.
I don’t have any sort of Satnav device as I live in a small city and don’t really need it.
But the idea of Darth Vader telling me my route to work has me thinking a TomTom might be a good idea.

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