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Tail wags dog: anyone want a Koenigsegg car? - Off in the distance
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The Bellinghman
Date: 2009-06-16 11:27
Subject: Tail wags dog: anyone want a Koenigsegg car?
Security: Public
Because it may be about to be getting easier: GM agrees Saab sale to Koenigsegg.

(Koenigsegg currently make 18 cars a year. Saab make 90,000. That's a factor difference of 5,000.)

I can see this deal quite possibly falling through.
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Sarcasticia Nitpickerson
User: tisiphone
Date: 2009-06-16 10:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, a Koenigsegg does cost about ten to twenty-five times what a Saab costs (depends on the model of course), so that evens things out a little bit.

(Also worth noting: the Saab business unit has never been integrated into GM operations so, er, they still know what they're doing. Which should make a transition to someone else quite a lot easier.)

Edited at 2009-06-16 10:30 am (UTC)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-06-16 11:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The lack of integration is a good point: it's not like Vauxhall/Opel, so teasing it out should be a lot easier.

Still, it's going to be odd in Europe. There used to be two big US car makers producing over here, with Chrysler a distant oddity. Now it'll be the one, with GM a distant oddity.

(Meanwhile, Nissan have actually been recruiting staff again up in Geordieland: apparently, it's not just bellinghwoman who's gone and bought one of their new cars. To think, once she was a Vauxhall loyalist: when we met, we drove his-and-hers Vauxhall Cavaliers.)
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Sarcasticia Nitpickerson
User: tisiphone
Date: 2009-06-16 11:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's a bit odd for us, too - we're not even sure how many car makers we have anymore! And brands, forget about it.
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User: silly_swordsman
Date: 2009-06-16 10:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have a feeling that they'll ramp down the production of SAABs significantly. I'm guessing they'll try to regain the 'alternative cool' image they used to have in some quarters, and launch SAABs as high-end sports coupes.

I mean, it's all been downhill since the 900 Aero convertible, so why not?
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Nik Whitehead
User: sharikkamur
Date: 2009-06-16 10:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes, the old 900s were the last ones to really look like SAABs. Now they just look like every other high-end coupe.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-06-16 11:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Our former MD had a red 900 Carlsson, a very pretty beast, which went like the clappers.

The only accident I'm aware he ever had was in that thing: he was turning into the carpark, a newly qualified young driver was coming out while looking in the wrong direction. He halted, she didn't. Her mini had a dented front wing, the Saab had a slight scuff mark on the bumper.
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Barry: 00 Bikkits
User: hobnobs
Date: 2009-06-16 19:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:00 Bikkits
My uncle once had a Saab (90 or 99 I think) that was hit by a Volvo... The Saab fared the better of the two. :)

Edited at 2009-06-16 07:00 pm (UTC)
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Just a random swede
User: vatine
Date: 2009-06-16 11:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Some of the 9000-series look very SAABy, though.
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The Magician
User: the_magician
Date: 2009-06-16 10:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think the key line is
The Swedish government has been keen to avoid bailing out its carmakers as long as they are owned by US parent companies

Since the Big K is a Swedish company, this now allows the Swedish government to pile a load of cash into keeping SAAB going while in theory a private company actually owns the marque ... sort of like what people wanted to happen with Vauxhall ...
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-06-16 10:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That is indeed the key line.

to happen with Vauxhall

Remembering of course that Vauxhalls are rebadged Opels, and that the majority of that company's production is outside the UK.
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The Magician
User: the_magician
Date: 2009-06-16 15:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I know who Vauxhall are, I was pointing out that with the sell off of Opal, there were people saying the UK government should have been more involved and perhaps done something like LDV where the parent company (DAF) went bankrupt and the UK division set up as an independent company to produce a particular line of vehicles. With LDV going back to the receivers last week, and Ford looking to close Southampton (maybe), spinning off the Vauxhall van section in Luton might well be/have been an option.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-06-16 15:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, I see your point. I thought you were on about Vauxhall in general, in which case a specific case for an independent entity outside the European Opel operation didn't make sense to me.

I'm not aware of how much a Vauxhall van division outside Opel makes sense, but it may be a more separate entity than the car division is.
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Autopope
User: autopope
Date: 2009-06-16 11:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It actually looks to me like a stealthily deniable reverse takeover, effectively turning SAAB into a creditworthy local car producer again by playing a shell-game with a much smaller company.

Koenigsegg is creditworthy, and SAAB is a huge bundle of tangible and IP assets for them to acquire, which in turn makes it easier for the government to funnel funds and VC into the takeover.
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User: silly_swordsman
Date: 2009-06-16 12:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Rather than give money to the USA-owned car makers, the Swedish government listened to the calls of "Think of all the expertise that will be lost" and earmarked a significant sum for car-related public R&D. Sometimes I think the Swedish government has a sense of humour.

But SAAB does have a lot of interesting IP and technology, and, more importantly, a culture of experimentation and trying unconventional things.

I still think that their non-standard design decision to have the ignition key by the hand brake where it can be seen and easily found, rather than behind the steering wheel, is miles better than the standard.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-06-16 12:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
miles better than the standard

My god, you are going native! Whatever happened to those good Swedish kilometres?

On the other hand, you do have a point: a fair bit of cockpit design is the way it is because of happenstantial precedent, rather than because it's objectively best. But once it's that way, it tends to stay, because most people get annoyed with it being changed.

My personal pet peeve is the indicator stalk: it should, in my opinion, be on the opposite side to the gearstick. I used to hate it when I wanted to use the same hand to simultaneously flip the indicator and change gear on a roundabout.

(In my MG, the stalk is still on the wrong side, even if it doesn't matter because it's an automatic.)
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Just a random swede
User: vatine
Date: 2009-06-16 13:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There's a "mil" in Sweden, too, even if it's 10 km instead of a measul 1.609 km.
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Erik V. Olson
User: erikvolson
Date: 2009-06-16 13:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's correct over here, which is the more likely reason it's wrong over there -- many more cars built for driver-on-left, cost too much to flip the controls for the (relative) fewer driver-on-right cars.

UK only car firms, of course, would have no such constraint.
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Sarcasticia Nitpickerson
User: tisiphone
Date: 2009-06-16 12:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I bought a Saab (an older 900) several months ago, and I still find myself taking a swipe at the steering column looking for the keys now and then. Other than that though, I really love the cockpit design. Although apparently it's annoying for other people - the speedometer and other instruments aren't visible from the passenger side, which means they have a harder time backseat driving. I have no sympathy.
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Colette
User: bellinghwoman
Date: 2009-06-16 13:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
But SAAB does have a lot of interesting IP and technology

I wonder if they have any left over from when they were Saab-Univac...

(Yes, I worked on a Saab-Univac 'mainframe' when I was at RSV)
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Just a random swede
User: vatine
Date: 2009-06-16 13:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Most of what was Data-SAAB (the entity that merged with Univac, briefly) is probably IBM by now (via Facit, then Diab, then Bull, then finally into IBM).
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User: silly_swordsman
Date: 2009-06-16 13:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
when they were Saab-Univac...

*g* Probably not - that was spun out into "Datasaab". I think that Lysator - the Linköping University computer society - still have a D21 up and running. vatine ought to know, that's his old stomping grounds.

(Maybe it's overexposure to Asimov, but I find it hard to take seriously any computer [manufacturer] without "vac" in their name...)
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Just a random swede
User: vatine
Date: 2009-06-16 14:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I believe the D21 has been in storage for, um, 20+ years. It's been brought up to boot a few times, but as it isn't really happy to be networked, power-hungry and all sorts, it's not a commonly-booted box.

I'm not sure if the SAAB FPU used as "prior art" in a patent case in the US, sometime in the mid-90s, was from the Lysator D21, another (physical) FPU or just design plans, though (the patent covered "asynchronous floating-point units" and as the D21 is unclocked and relies on completion signals from previous stages, it was definite prior art, being (IIRC) a 60s design).
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martyn44
User: martyn44
Date: 2009-06-16 10:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm looking forward to Clarkson & Co. Is it a SAAB - look down long nose - or is it a Koenigseqq - have orgasm on the spot?
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-06-16 10:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Should be amusing, indeed.
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