Video: Inside the Koenigsegg dream factory and driving an Agera R

If you’re seeing this on Facebook and you only click one of my posts now and then, this is the one for you. Set aside 30 minutes for this video and you’ll see car design and manufacturing on a whole new level.

I first met Christian von Koenigsegg at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009. Back then, he was the face and name fronting a group that intended to buy Saab Automobile from General Motors. That deal fell through due to decision makers involved dragging their feet and the Koenigsegg Group becoming frustrated as they watched Saab’s value swirling down a sinkhole of bureaucracy.

In 2010 I visited Koenigsegg whilst on vacation in Sweden and I received a day-long tour much like the one you’ll see compressed into this 30-minute video. It’s a stunning insight into the vehicle design and manufacturing process and if you get the chance to see it up close and personal, even a boofhead like me can gain an understanding of the science behind the engineering. They take meticulous precision to a whole new level in the pursuit of automotive perfection. Proof? Just listen to the explanation behind the door hinges.

Race cars are built to go at astounding speeds for maybe up to eight hours at a time before being torn down and rebuilt. Koenigsegg cars are built to go at astounding speeds for months at a time between services. They really do amazing, mind-blowing things. I’d love to see regulations change to allow them to compete in endurance races like LeMans. I reckon they’d go very nicely indeed.

I’m so glad someone with the right camera equipment (and the confidence to do it) had a chance to record a tour like this. Well done to the Drive guys.

I hope you get two things out watching this: 1) an appreciation for how complex this industry is, especially at the hypercar level, and 2) a sense of just how down to earth and dedicated CvK is to his profession. He’s an incredible guy.

Grab a cuppa and a biscuit, sit back and enjoy the ride.

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And for those who want a bit more, here’s my own ride with Christian in a CCX, back in 2010. There’s a shortened version, too, but the longer one’s got more conversation as we drive from the factory down to the airstrip. At just 7 minutes, it shouldn’t tax your schedule too much.

Zero to 200 and then back to zero – with no hands 🙂

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Here’s one for the Saab people to think about…..

Take Christian’s brains, his dedication to finding and executing the right solutions and combine all that with a dedicated designer in Bard Eker and the funding they had behind them from other members of the Koenigsegg Group.

Apply all of that to a timely sale of Saab back in 2009.

The Swedish Government and GM have a lot to answer for. Yes, the Koenigsegg Group did make some errors along the way, but they were there and they were ready. It’s a sign of their seriousness in this deal that they felt compelled to pull out when their target deadlines were continually being pushed out.

What might have been.

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12 Comments

  1. It’s interesting to imagine how Koenigsegg would have fared with Saab, but if you look at what followed it probably made a wise decision in pulling out of the deal. As some have speculated, GM probably only wanted to sell Saab to a candidate that was quite unlikely to succeed, so somewhere down the track Saab would still be closed and GM wouldn’t be directly blamed for it. I guess it achieved it’s goal and that is why it wants to do nothing to assist in a Saab revival?

    As to GM’s precious IP, I have to agree with the statements (UK) Car magazine said about it’s long term NG9-5 test car. It effectively said that the IP that GM is so protective of, is the very same technology that hinders the car in it’s competitiveness against the likes of BMW, Audi etc.. Personally I think that GM really has Saab to thank that it’s somewhat mediocre IP is even as good as it is.

    1. A part of me really believes the theory of GM selling Saab to an entity bound to fail, but… I’m still pretty skeptical. Honestly, I don’t think GM cared one way or the other. I don’t think they were afraid of Saab becoming a competitor because Saab was too small. (I am amazed at how much GM owns and STILL manages to do so poorly, but that’s another topic.) I also question whether GM had the foresight of the money issues and the whole thing with Vladimir Antonov not being able to supply cash when Spyker/Saab/SWAN needed it.

      Regardless, it’s too bad Koenigsegg couldn’t buy Saab way back when, and it’s unfortunate what happened eventually with Spyker. Both seemed like an ideal fit.

  2. Absolutely incredible. I cannot even fathom how great a marriage this company would/could have been with SAAB—-engineering bliss!

  3. Well that was the most enjoyable 30 train trip home I’ve had in a long time.

    I’m also buying an extra lotto ticket tonight 🙂

    Thanks Swade.

  4. Great video showing a fantastic operation.
    It makes a refreshing change to see an owner of a swedish car company speaking so knowledgeably and in such an understated way – I have great respect for Christian.

  5. “Zero to 200 and then back to zero – with no hands :-)”

    I wonder how the British car jounalists feel about the steering of a CCX? They usually seem to hate cars that go streight!
    Term “spongy” ring any bells? Like in the case of the NG 9-5.
    On the otherhand just read a review where the “crisp” BMW, in this case an AWD X1 was slammed for being all over the place in real-life driving.
    The wording was something like; “-As a big minus it is virtually impossible to make the X1 go straight on a surface less than perfect”.

    I wonder what’s more important in a roadcar. The handling on motorways or all the bling and image.
    Koenigsegg would have been the perfect owner of SAAB back then and even now.

  6. Zero to 200 and back to zero…..and love Swade’s laugh! Pure care geek joy!

    I know I would have been laughing too. What a car!

  7. Like Christian i was also hugely impacted by this movie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUuQwPOfQ1M when i was a kid but that did not end up with much more than a self dramatized “essay” about it when i was in 4th or 5th grade. What he has accomplished is beyond insanity and at the same time he manages to be a very likable guy. That’s 1200 horsepowers.

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