A Swedish company with close ties to a hard-to-spell supercar maker has thrown a wrench into the automotive world, unveiling a production-ready piston engine that doesn’t use a camshaft.
Developed by FreeValve AB, which isn’t a Nordic Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band, the new engine technology ditches a camshaft for other modes of valve actuation, gaining power and efficiency in the process. Unlike some other touted internal combustion engine advancements, this technology already has a customer. (Read More…)
I tend live my life by a rather loose set of rules and codes, but there are a few maxims to which I always adhere. The first and foremost of them? When Alex Roy invites you to something, you go. No questions asked. Put on your best scarf and show up. Something interesting is bound to happen.
Germany’s Nurburgring Nordschleife will be reopened next year for manufacturers’ bragging rights after officials announced Tuesday that the track’s speed limits — added after a crash during a race killed a spectator in March — will be lifted, PistonHeads is reporting.
Nurburgring management implemented speed limits in three portions of the track after a Nissan GT-R GT3 crashed and killed a spectator during a race held in March. The limits effectively ended the manufacturer arms race for the fastest production time around the circuit.
Koenigsegg wasn’t able to buy Saab, so they made an “all-new” supercar instead. But can you tell the difference between the new Agera and the old CCX? Headlights aside, it’s a tough assignment. And in the world of million-dollar supercars, the term “all-new” implies just a little bit more.
Bård Eker has given an open-hearted interview to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, referred here at e24.no telling his version on the failed Saab-deal. Eker was one of the investors in the Koenigsegg Group’s bid for Saab, through his company, Eker Group – 49% owner of Koenigsegg Automotive. Here is his hindsight on the deal:
“General Motors made it very hard to buy Saab”, he says. “Saab wasn’t structured as a subordinate, it was completely swallowed into the massive GM body. And while you can remove a lung from a body, you can’t remove all the veins. And GM had not done the required separating job prior to starting negotiations with interested buyers. That was a contributing cause why things took longer time for us too”.
Bård Eker, the Norwegian partner in Koenigsegg Automotive, and Koenigsegg Group, appeared as one of the guests on Friday night’s regular Swedish/Norwegian talk show “Skavland” this weekend (the following, translated conversation starts at 27:09). Mr Skavland, first talking a bit about Eker’s feelings about the broken deal, and how he felt visiting Trollhättan talking to Saab employees after the deal broke, he then asked Eker: “Is there a tiny chance you’ll try again? Saab isn’t sold yet…!” Eker smiles and answers “…we’ll see. Maybe!” laughing, shrugging his shoulders, audience cheering. Skavland: “how would you wanna do it?” Eker: “I don’t know…Seriously – we haven’t given it much thought. We’ll see…perhaps there’s a new opportunity. Maybe someone’ll give us a phonecall” Skavland: “So it’s not definitive that you’re out of the game?” Eker – laughing, glancing at his watch – “..err..how long is this show?” Skavland says: “So, you’ll still want a Saab?”, Eker: “yeah, sure” Skavland: “Alright….?” and shifts to another subject. All the while Eker has a cunning smile on his face.
A few days ago I captured some news from Swedish Aftonbladet.se that Beijing Auto (BAIC) is buying Saab’s now to be replaced 9-5 technology. Even though the Koenigsegg-Saab deal fell apart, and BAIC were a part of the investor group, the Chinese has not given up the idea to build Saabs in China. At the time I couldn’t find any other reports on this, and wondered wether Aftonbladet had done some creative journalism, but yesterday, Nyteknik.se reported the same news, citing their own sources. They’ve even confronted Saab’s spokesperson Gunilla Gustavs, but of course she can not, will not comment on that.
GM decided to grant Saab 30 days worth of life support to await new potential buyers. If no buyer is found within 30 days, then Saab is a goner. That’s the message all Saab workers and enthusiasts were given yesterday, to a certain relief. GM and Saab have confirmed there are potential buyers out there, but who are they? Who’s in, who’s out?
It’s the day after the Saab-bomb exploded in Sweden, and the media are pouring all over it. Of course, all kinds of “car experts” and “auto analysts” are having their say. Saab workers are expectedly sad and disappointed. And everybody’s blaming everybody and anybody. The unions blame the government, the government blames Koenigsegg, Koenigsegg Group are blaming time and bureaucracy, and the public is generally pretty pissed off with GM. And it all seemed to have come as julekvelden på kjerringa. But what on earth happened? Who pulled the plug? Who said enough is enough? And why now, all of a sudden? The EIB loan was allegedly just around the corner. Will anyone else buy Saab? What about the Swedish government? GM? Does anybody even care? Well, the 500 or so who bought a new Saab in October care – what about their warranties?
Of course, that day could come as soon as next week, when GM’s board holds its monthly meeting. And unless a serious bid shows up post-haste, Saab will most likely be euthanized at that point. In the meantime, GM’s management is happy to keep the Swedish government hanging on. “I talked to GM last night and my impression is that they have not given up hope,” Joran Hagglund, state secretary at Sweden’s Industry Ministry tells Automotive News [sub]. But after the months of wrangling to get the Koenigsegg deal where it was when it fell apart, Sweden’s government acknowledges that “for every day that passes the challenge gets bigger and bigger.” While we await word on Saab’s uncertain future, and worry about how the boys at Saabsunited are holding up, we’ve dispatched our man in Sweden to sort through the hand-wringing and recrimination in the Swedish press and report some key findings. Frankly though, this is feeling like the end of the line for Saab.
China’s BAIC said ”it will cautiously evaluate the situation regarding the sale of General Motors Co.’s Saab Automobile unit after Swedish sportscar maker Koenigsegg Group AB backed out of a deal to buy Saab,” the Wall Street Journal reports. (Read More…)