The Truth About Cars » Koenigsegg http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:47:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Koenigsegg http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com What’s Wrong With This Picture: Imagine What The All-New Saabs Could Have Been Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-imagine-what-the-all-new-saabs-could-have-been-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-imagine-what-the-all-new-saabs-could-have-been-edition/#comments Mon, 01 Mar 2010 14:56:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=346973

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.

Koenigsegg Agera (courtesy:autocar.co.uk) koenigsegg-ccx Koenigseggagera1 Koenigsegg_CCX_49 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Bård Eker: Greed Killed The Saab Deal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/bard-eker-greed-killed-the-saab-deal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/bard-eker-greed-killed-the-saab-deal/#comments Sun, 20 Dec 2009 17:52:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=339736 General Motors or the Chinese... depending on which you all like least (courtesy:pub.tv2.no)

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”.

It also seemed Koenigsegg struggled to get GM to agree on a price for parts and components to Saab cars:

“Our mistake was to be open and frank about our business plan. In the beginning, no-one believed in it, but as time went and the plan made sense, the guys started to get greedy. GM wanted more money for their parts, and the Chinese wanted more for their money. That was the drop; greediness became so dominant we coudn’t take it any more.” Eker says to Aftenposten.

“My worries go to the 8,000 employees in western Sweden who faces unemployment. For their sake, I hope something good comes out of this,” he continues. The interview ends on a note of regret:

“The only winners here are the Chinese. I believe they got what they always wanted, and we were the regulators that prevented them from exploiting Saab, but they would have gotten their way anyway, without hurting Saab. Now it doesn’t matter anymore, for there is no Saab left to acquire.”

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Saab Sale: Does Koenigsegg Have a Card Up Its Sleeve? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/saab-sale-does-koenigsegg-have-a-card-up-its-sleeve/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/saab-sale-does-koenigsegg-have-a-card-up-its-sleeve/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:48:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=338386 Saab's bard? (courtesy:grunder.no)

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.

Now, what does this mean? Was the entire plug-pulling just another negotiations poker-play from KG? A way of getting the Swedish Government more involved? They’ve been quite ambivalent up until KG broke the deal, now they’ve sent representatives to meet with GM and plead for their precious Saab. Even though, as some in comments earlier mentioned, the “Scandinavian way” is not to save the business, but rather save the employees – no government likes watching a small community loosing their corner stone business. Or maybe Eker just loved the attention and the opportunity to make himself interesting. Which I doubt. I think they’re up to something.

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BAIC Buys Saab 9-5 Tooling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/baic-buys-saab-9-5-tooling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/baic-buys-saab-9-5-tooling/#comments Fri, 04 Dec 2009 19:25:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=338123

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.

According to the Swedish newssites, BAIC’s technicians never left Trollhättan after the deal broke down. BAIC’s plans are to buy the manufacturing equipment for the current 9-5 (which have just been dismanteled in the Trollhättan factory) and also aquire the equipment for the cast-iron Södertälje engines sitting in the 9-5 and old 9-3, and then to build 9-5s in Beijing. Allegedly, BAIC have agreed to pay SEK 1 billion, of the three billion they had put in the Konigsegg Group pot, for this deal. Aftonbladet.se states Saabsunited and aftonbladet’s own sources within Saab as sources for this information.
The 9-5s will be built in BAIC’s factory in Beijing, and sold as Beijing or Great Wall – not as Saabs. BAIC has also expressed interest in using the remaining SEK 2 Billion to invest in future Saab models, and are open to partnership with other interested buyers of Saab, like Spyker, or Renco Group, which reportedly are interested in stepping into the broken deal (under the right circumstances, of course).

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Last-Gasp Saab Bids: Along Came A Spyker? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/last-gasp-saab-bids-along-came-a-spyker/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/last-gasp-saab-bids-along-came-a-spyker/#comments Wed, 02 Dec 2009 15:17:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=337598 Someone's gotta...

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?
There are supposed to be at least 4 interested buyers; BAIC has confirmed they are interested in Saab – but what exactly they are interested in at Saab are unclear. Is it 100% ownership? A partnership with other buyers? Bits and pieces of Saab’s technology? TTAC’s Bertel Schmitt figures they’d take the new 9-5, but not old tooling or production assets.
Merbanco has confirmed interest too. In a dialogue with Saabsunited.com, their CEO Christoffer Johnston expressed interest, given the right conditions. But in a statement to Reuters, Mr. Johnston says Merbanco are ruled out as a bidder for Saab. “We were disappointed to learn we were not invited to move forward in our efforts for Saab,” Johnston writes in an email to Reuters.
Renco is also reportedly one of the interested parties, but the mysterious new bidder on the block is…Spyker! The Dutch supercar manufacturer, owned mainly by Lithuanian bank Snoras, and Russian Conversbank, has roots going back to 1898, when the two brothers Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker made their first car using a Benz engine. Production ceased in 1925, only to resurrect in 2000. Focusing on the super exclusive, super fast, supercar segment, they kind of remind you of Koenigsegg, right? Their spokesman, Mike Stainton told Swedish businesspaper e24 “We’re interested in Saab, and are just now talking to General Motors”.  And even though they’ve lost money for the last 5 years (more Koenigsegg parallels?), with a registered motto from 1914 saying: “Nulla tenaci invia est via” (for the endurant, no way is impossible), who knows what they might try.
On the other hand, given GM’s sad history of not pulling off even the simplest sale (ho-Hummer…) 30 days or nothing sounds like … nothing.
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Saab, Unsaved http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/saab-unsaved/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/saab-unsaved/#comments Thu, 26 Nov 2009 14:48:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=337070 Twilight in Asgard... er, Trollhattan

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?

But seriously, Saab has a strong following, and there are 8000 jobs on the line, that’ll make a pretty heavy impact on the rather tiny Trollhâttan area if Saab goes bust.

One thing’s for sure – this deal was pretty shaky from day one. Koenigsegg Group was very secretive about their plans, they wouldn’t even tell who the group consisted of, and their finances never really looked secured. And that’s what really lies behind Koenigsegg Group’s official statement: the timeline. Uncertainty about the state Saab would be in when the deal was ready. Both Christian von Koenigsegg and partner Bård Eker keep repeating that time had run out. They had set an absolute limit for November 30 to close the deal. As they could not see any closure date, and the way – and rate – Saab kept bleeding, they probably, simply discovered they didn’t, or wouldn’t, have the finances to turn Saab around.
Unofficially – one speculation in Expressen.se, titled The Truth About the Break, says a source within GM told the newspaper the new 9-5, which shares platform with Opel’s new Insignia, has several expensive, technical problems. In Germany, Opel has had a lot of trouble with the model’s quality (if this has substance, that should be a warning to Buick!) Including those faults, Saab has developed their 9-5 in a hurry, cutting corners in the process. All this according to a GM insider. So Koenigsegg didn’t see any future savior in this model (which it has to be). They were afraid the warranty costs could be too substantial, and the model could be a giant fiasco to Saab instead a salvation.

Some though – more and more during the day – thinks this has all been a PR-stunt by Koenigsegg, perhaps combined with a plan from GM to get their hands on the EIB loan. CvK himself, faced with these allegations, claims that would be a bad and expensive marketing . But hey – now the whole world knows who they are, right?

According to Swedish Radio Ekot disagreements between KG and BAIC on whom to provide which finances into the deal was the reason things fell through.

The Government is being blamed too, for dragging their feet, and failing to provide support – be it loans, or cash for clunker programs – to the Swedish auto industry. And as for the question whether they are going to make Government Motors out of Saab, the answer is a clear no. The government isn’t intended to run a motor company. The Swedish prime minister has also raised the question – a legitimate one, he says – as to which assumptions Koenigsegg Group really had going into this deal. They have committed time, resources and peoples’ hopes that there would be a solution, he states.

So, what happened to the initial 27 interested buyers? Are any of them likely to step up and try cutting a great deal on Saab? Saabsunited likes to think Merbanco could still be interested. They were one of the few potential buyers left in the picture when KG was appointed “winners”, and SU’s favorite buyers.
And how about KG’s inhouse partners BAIC? Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Group joined the party fairly late, and seemed to be the ones who would provide most of the money (if they had agreed). They might be the ones to step into, and close the deal in solo? Not very likely. While being a car company with (Chinese scale) traditions, formed in 1958, they’ve never really manufactured their own cars. They’ve specialized in cooperating with foreign brands – Hyundai and Daimler for instance, and Saab would fit their plans. But to make an offer, and on their own run a business that is so heavily in loss, is something the Chinese company has no experience in, analyst Zhang Xin from Goutai Junan Securities told Reuters. Parts of Saab, yes, but not all.
And are GM willing to keep Saab alive long enough for another buyer to come forward? Or even consider keeping the ailing brand, together with Opel? Is there room for both within GM? There might be an answer to that Dec 1.

Maybe Bård Eker summed it up nicely in a tv-interview: “It was like a plane-crash, you know? When 58 things goes wrong simultaneously.”

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Saab To Die Another Day http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/saab-to-die-another-day/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/saab-to-die-another-day/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2009 15:25:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=336975 (courtesy:martinklasch.blogspot.com)

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.

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BAIC „Cautious“ About Saab http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/baic-%e2%80%9ecautious%e2%80%9c-about-saab/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/baic-%e2%80%9ecautious%e2%80%9c-about-saab/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2009 11:48:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=336966 Cautious evaluation. Picture courtesy asset-cache.net

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.

BAIC wanted to take a minority stake in Koenigsegg, to help the boutique carmaker buy Saab. There were suspicions that Koenigsegg was not more than a straw man that made a Chinese takeover of Saab more palatable, but those suspicions have now evaporated.

International development “has always been an important strategic goal for Beijing Auto,” BAIC said in a statement. “In light of Koenigsegg’s withdrawal, we will cautiously re-evaluate the situation and make appropriate plans.”

In Chinese, that sounds like a “no.” Or at best like a “come back with a better offer.”

Business Week, always a bit removed from reality, calls the abandoned deal “a setback for China’s auto industry’s global ambitions.” Oh Lord.

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Saab-Koenigsegg Deal Falls Through http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/saab-koenigsegg-deal-falls-through/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/saab-koenigsegg-deal-falls-through/#comments Tue, 24 Nov 2009 16:26:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=336843 And ne'er the twain shall meet (courtesy:seriouswheels)

A press release [via sys-con.com] confirms that Koenigsegg has withdrawn from negotiations with General Motors over the sale of Saab. Fritz Henderson shares his disappointment:

We’re obviously very disappointed with the decision to pull out of the Saab purchase. Many have worked tirelessly over the past several months to create a sustainable plan for the future of Saab by selling the brand and its manufacturing interests to Koenigsegg Group AB. Given the sudden change in direction, we will take the next several days to assess the situation and will advise on the next steps next week.

Why did Koenigsegg pull out? A brief statement by Koenisgegg is all we have to go on at the moment. “The time factor has always been critical for our strategy to breathe new life into the company,” the firm tells Reuters. Which leaves… BAIC? Absent any other obvious interest in the Saab brand though, GM now finds itself with two messy restructurings in Europe.

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GM Lost $5k On Every Saab Sold In The Last 8 Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/gm-lost-5k-on-every-saab-sold-in-the-last-8-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/gm-lost-5k-on-every-saab-sold-in-the-last-8-years/#comments Tue, 17 Nov 2009 14:36:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=335861 (courtesy:saabhistory.com)

Swedish business site di.se has done some numbercrunching, and figured out that GM has lost SEK 35,000,- (eq aprox $ 5,100, at the current exchange rate) on each Saab sold the last 8 years. As many of TTAC’s readers have pointed out in various comments, GM never made money on Saab. Truth is; they lost a total of SEK 39 billion (3.9 billion Euros) during their ownership, according to di.se’s analysis . The last 8 years has been heavy; a loss of SEK 32,2 billion, or 35.000,- kronor on each Saab sold. That’s $ 5.100,- on each car. This year alone GM has had to take an SEK 6.2 billion cost on the ailing carmaker, SEK 5.2 of those are amortization of debts.  This is why it’s crucial for Koenigsegg Group that the EU commission rules that Swedish government’s guarantees on Koenigsegg’s loan from the EIB are not subsidies. But since Saab has been on life support for so long, it would be almost impossible to defend Saab as a healthy company, and without the Swedish government’s guarantee, the financial plan from Koenigsegg Group will fail. Maybe they can argue that when it comes to Saab, there are no subsidies, just business as usual.

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Saab Deal Going The Way Of Opel? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/saab-deal-going-the-way-of-opel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/saab-deal-going-the-way-of-opel/#comments Mon, 16 Nov 2009 14:44:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=335638 saab_retro_photo

Saab has not had an easy path to salvation. The Koenigsegg Group has had to provide finances, agree to a price and conditions with GM, get loan from European Investment Bank (EIB),and  coax the Swedish Government into guaranteeing loans. Now there’s one more hurdle left, and it’s the same challenge that scuppered the Opel to Magna deal: The EU.
Reports of recent weeks in the Scandinavian media have told us that the EU is thinking the Saab deal over. And when mighty EU thinks, things take time… So, what are they thinking about? They have to decide whether Swedish Govt’s guarantees to SAAB’s loan in the European Investment Bank should be considered subsidies or not. EU countries are not allowed to subsidize unprofitable companies – and the EU has some questions on SAAB’s and Koenigsegg Groups financial plan, and Saab’s results prior to the reconstruction. So the whole thing might stretch into next year until – or if at all – the deal is closed. Incidentally, questions about the anti-competitive nature of the German government’s support of the Opel to Magna deal killed that sale already. But does GM want Saab back as badly?

Now, this wasn’t really unexpected (except perhaps for Christian von Koenigsegg, who wanted the deal finished in time to present it at the IAA in Frankfurt in September) because it’s part of the process of doing business in Europe. But Saab is being squeezed from other sides too. Swedish Radio is reporting today that Saab has to return 11 million Euros to the Government, money that guaranteed salaries for the employees at Saab in connection with Saab’s restructuring application in February. And at the same time, a spokesman from GM, in connection with their letter to the US Saab-dealers last week makes it clear that if the Koenigsegg-Saab deal goes wrong (as Opel has) Saab is history, gone, dead (as in Pontiac, Saturn or Oldsmobile dead).

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81 Saab Dealers Slashed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/81-saab-dealers-slashed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/81-saab-dealers-slashed/#comments Fri, 13 Nov 2009 14:24:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=335255 Born from Jets, killed with fire (courtesy:saabhistory.com)

Automotive News [sub] has more bad news for Saab dealers and customers. Saab’s prospective new owners have put the hit out on 81 of Saab’s current 218 US dealerships. If all goes according to plan, a measly 137 US Saab dealers will remain. Saab’s thin and uneven sales and service network has been an issue for the brand forever, and this isn’t going to make it any better. “The target date to close the sale of Saab is Nov. 30, but it could take until year end, says Mike Colleran, COO of Saab Cars North America in Detroit.” Don’t count on it.

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