Last week we opened up the comments section here at Koenigsegg and invited you to participate in an “Ask Me Anything” style forum with our founder and CEO, Christian von Koenigsegg.
I proposed asking Christian between 15 and 20 questions but we got more than 200 and I’ll be lucky if I can whittle it down to 50!!
Fuller answers to some deeper questions will come later this week, but we thought it’d be good to get back to you with some quick answers to common questions first.
Remember: Comments are open at the end of the story, if there’s anything you’d like to ask or contribute.
CARLOS MARTINEZ MARTINEZ
I’m Carlos and I live in Valencia (Spain), I will start studying Industrial Design in September and I would like to know how can I work at Koenigsegg when I finish my degree and masters.
Christian: It’s been wonderful to see so many people comment about wanting to work at Koenigsegg. We have a ‘Work’ website attached to the main Koenigsegg website and all available jobs are listed on that website. It’s at http://work.koenigsegg.com/. If there is nothing that suits your skills right now, there is also a section where you can submit your CV for us to look at. We may need someone with your skills in the future.
Note: We’ll have more on this topic when get to fuller answers later in the week, including what experience is desirable right now, what skills we expect to be in demand in the future and what attributes we look for in candidates – ed.
Hi Mr. Koenigsegg! I’m a huge fan of Koenigsegg supercars. My question is, when will you guys test the real top speed of your cars?
CvK: We would like to do such a test, but I have to say it’s not a super-high priority for us. It’s nice to be able to say you’ve got the fastest driven road car in the world and we believe that the One:1 could take the current record but for us, it’s a matter of priorities. There are several factors here:
#1 – This is not an easy thing for us to do and it’s not without risk (see below) so……. How important is it, really? Is it important enough to our customers to make us want to do it? Our customers are generally far more interested in, driving excitement, usability and overall performance than outright top speed that is impossible to reach unless one has access to a closed of 10 km straight!. They know that the car is brutally fast and they know that it will do what we say it can do. So the question becomes – is testing the extreme outer limit of the car a necessity, or just good for marketing?
#2 – You have to have the right venue to do it. VW’s Ehra-Lessien test track would be ideal, but they are not likely to allow a Bugatti competitor to use it. So far we have not found any airfield in the world long enough, the longest we found was around 5 km and this is about half the distance needed.
#3 – We are still a small company and we have to choose with what we spend our time and resources on. As we have not found an available track that is good or long enough yet we have prioritized our resources towards track, handling and everyday capability of our cars, which we feel is more important for our cars and customers.
Here’s a question for you – What is more important: an absolute top speed that customers are never likely to reach, or acceleration speed, which a customer will use every time they go to the track?
We recently ran the One:1 from 0-300-0kph in just 17.95 seconds, which is an incredible time. It’s a 0-300kph time far quicker than any other car. We believe the One:1 can go on to reach in excess of the current 435kph record, but we think a ‘usable’ record is much more important. A lot of stars would have to be in alignment for us to attempt this. You never say never. It may come about that we can do this test safely and effectively and we’ll happily make an attempt. But a lot of things have to fall into place for a test like this to be done.
You’ve set a few official/unofficial lap records at Spa and Suzuka with the One:1, but what about all the other circuits of the world? What is your plan to cover them all?
This is more like something we’d enjoy doing, both for ourselves and for our customers. We don’t see a need to set lap records on all circuits around the globe. But for sure we plan to continue to show the performance of our cars on many tracks to come.
We have resources to cover a number of attempts at prominent tracks but we have to choose carefully. An added complication that we face right now is that our factory development One:1 will be taken by its new owner soon, so we do not have long to make another attempt. Watch this space.
My question to you is will you ever get to set a lap time at the Nurburgring and are you going to make an entry-level super car?
CvK: The Nurburgring situation has not changed. They still have speed limits in place in sections of the track and that makes it impossible for manufacturers to fully test that capability of their vehicles on the track. We hope the situation changes in the future and we will do everything we can to get there if/when it does.
You can read Koenigsegg’s initial response to the Nurburgring speed limits here – ed.
Will you ever produce a normal road car for consumers to use? Like Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz etc?
CvK: Not likely in the near future. However, many of the technologies that we are developing for our cars will start to be seen also on more normal cars; such as down-sizing technology for combustion engines (we presently have the world’s most downsized homologated engine in production), electronic control systems and control algorithms, carbon fiber wheel technologies, Freevalve technology and so on. We work in an area where we can stretch the boundaries of what’s technologically possible. Presently that’s far more interesting to me than making mass-market cars.
Do you remember a couple of years ago you met a 20-ish young Norwegian man on a plane from Copenhagen to Munich? We ended up talking nearly the entire flight with me sitting in the centre aisle of the plane. I asked if you could sign my boarding pass – and you did: “Från Christian Till Christian”. What I strongly regret to this day is not asking for your email address. Just hearing ‘No’, would be settling.
CvK: Nice to hear from you, Christian! I remember the flight. We had a good conversation. My email address is used directly for my work-related communication, it is not a general Koenigsegg “inbox”. Still, it does already tend to be filled to the brim on a daily basis, resulting in a lot of “catching up”. I do get a lot of requests for contact but there is only so much time available and I have too much work to do. Sorry for that!
Koenigsegg Automotive AB was closing in on a deal to buy Saab Automobile AB in 2009, but in the end it didn’t come through. Although there was much written in the (Swedish) press about it at the time, it was almost all negativity regarding the financial details and hardly anything about what the actual idea behind the deal was. It would be interesting to know what convinced you at that time that such a deal would be worthwhile.
CvK: I’m aware that a few questions ago I said that we are not into building mass-market cars and it’s true for Koenigsegg Automotive AB. The Saab opportunity was different and involved a specific set of circumstances:
1. It was clear that SAAB needed innovation and entrepreneurial help to survive.
2. SAAB had fantastic and underutilized car development facilities that could be used to revitalize the brand relatively quickly and efficiently if we could infuse the Koenigsegg way of working with these facilities instead of the GM way.
3. We had many technologies from the Koenigsegg side that we could quickly and efficiently integrate into the then-present line up of SAAB cars to make them more desirable and exciting. Things such as suspension and handling, turbo patents, reduced back pressure systems, FreeValve engine systems (sister company to Koenigsegg), upgraded exterior design using our aero and design experience etc. Basically, it was a unique opportunity to enter that market with a good brand and a good factory at what would have been a very affordable price. I think we could have used some of our technology and design expertise to make some interesting cars.
The group was called the Koenigsegg Group because mine was a recognisable name. There were other much larger investors behind the group that saw the opportunity, which is where most of the financial resources would have come from to actually run the business. I am very happy with what Koenigsegg AB is doing now, but it would be interesting to know what life would have been like if the Saab deal had happened. Many said it was an impossible undertaking. Actually I fully agree. The fact is, I like impossible undertakings, like for example creating Koenigsegg Automotive from scratch or being instrumental in creating the worlds first fully functioning FreeValve system.
Is it possible to see any other Koenigseggs in video games that isn’t the original Agera?
CvK: It’s amazing how many people mention their connection to Koenigsegg coming via video games. We don’t approach video game companies about using our cars. They approach us to use them. We’re always happy for them to do so as long as it is a licenced use. As such, it is the video game companies that decide which versions of our cars to use. Still, I have seen the CC8S, the CCR, the CCGT, CCXR and many more of our models in video games over the years. What is interesting is that many video games makes our cars handle worse, accelerate slower or increase braking distance, just so that the “competition” does not look as “bad”. We have confronted them many times regarding this and the usual answer is: it is a game and not a simulator! Also some car manufacturers “sponsor” games to make sure their cars “perform” well in the games.
Are there plans to make new models that would fall within the group of earlier models before the Agera lineup, like the CCX and CCXR? The Agera models are my very favorite, but I do still wonder about those earlier models, and if they would be made again.
CvK: It’s unlikely. Our new-buying customers want the latest technology and because of our limited production capability, we have to build our latest vehicles only. This also has to do with homologation – emissions, consumption and safety standards – becoming tougher and tougher to comply with. The earlier cars would have to be redesigned to comply with coming regulations.
Why are Koenigseggs not allowed to officially post times of races, top speeds, or compete against other cars I.e. Car reviewers such as Chris Harris and such?
CvK: There are no rules or conditions about Koenigsegg cars not being tested by reviewers from magazines or internet reviews. The reason why you rarely ever see it is because we do not have many test cars for the press to drive. As mentioned earlier, we are a small company and we sell everything that we make (somewhere between 10 and 15 cars per year).
We have had the One:1 factory development car since last year. We’ve been fortunate enough to set a few records and do publicity with that car. Several journalists have driven it and written about it. But even that car is sold and will go to its new owner in a few months from now. So it’s not a matter of journalists not being allowed to test our cars, it’s a matter of us not having cars for them to test because every car we make is sold before it is built. Still we will do our best to increase the rate of outside testing and reviewing of our cars.
I know #017 a CCR crashed badly few years ago in 2013 and was the only existing yellow Koenigsegg at that time. Would we ever see a yellow Koenigsegg now? I feel like the ’13’ chassi superstition, Koenigsegg have now abandoned painting cars yellow cause of the unfortunate incident. Is my thinking correct or do I over analyze? :^)
CvK: You do over analyze, indeed. We paint the car according to the customer’s wishes. It just so happens that not many yellow cars have been ordered. But we do have an order coming up for a yellow paint finish so maybe you will see it on the street some time.
I have this [ innovative | hare-brained | earth-changing ] idea related to motor vehicles and / or their components. Are you interested in hearing about it and potentially commenting on it? (with due regard for privacy and non-disclosure)
CvK: We have good people working at Koenigsegg who are very good at coming up with innovative solutions to either solve problems or advance our technology. We do hear from people rather frequently, suggesting various solutions of their own. The trick is whether or not the concept has been tested and proven so that you/we know that it’s either innovative, earth-changing or hare-brained. There are big differences between those three. The reality, given the need to prioritize, we are mostly a test lab for our own ideas and therefore it’s very rare that we are a test lab for “outsiders” ideas. Still we really try to be open minded at all times.
Can you please explain why your cars doesn’t resemble the Il Tempo Gigante, even a little bit? How does that jive with what you said about it being your prime inspiration?
I wanted to, but I struggled to get the aerodynamics to work 🙂
Seriously, though…… the Pinchcliffe Grand Prix story was my first inspiration and of course, I love the Il Tempo Gigante as part of that story. The inspiration was more that one man can “invent” a new type of car and there I feel I have really taken inspiration from Reodor and his Il Tempo Gigante.
Thankfully someone has taken up that mantle and built the Il Tempo Gigante. And thankfully, the Agera R didn’t lose to it in this exhibition lap a few years ago.
That’s all for today. We will have more from Christian later in the week, including your deeper questions about the beginnings of Koenigsegg, the technology we use and, of course, the future of high performance motoring.