The carbon-fiber extravaganza known as the Koenigsegg Agera RS made its debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, one of two Koenigseggs set to bow this week.
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.
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.