VISITING THE KOENIGSEGG FACTORY (ÄNGELHOLM, SWEDEN)
A LEGEND WAS BORN !
The company Koenigsegg AB has just celebrated its 20th anniversary this summer, even if its first road car came out 12 years ago. It is still therefore a young company however, this Swedish company keeps creating a buzz with incredible products and a couple of records broken over the years. When we discovered the One:1, we got a chance to visit the factory in Ängelholm…
Text : Maxime JOLY - Photos : Étienne ROVILLÉ
A couple of exotic supercars and hypercars come out every year. Some small manufacturers take their chances with little luck while others have found success. This is the case of Pagani and Koenigsegg, but also of Donkervoort in the world of low-flyers. Let’s focus on Koenigsegg. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not the only famous Swedish genius… There is another name to remember: Christian von Koenigsegg.
At the age of 22, in 1994, that Christian created Koenigsegg AB. Two years later, he managed to produce a prototype called CC for Competition Coupe, using a Ford V8. The prototype was shown at the Festival de Cannes. Four more years were necessary to propose a second prototype at the Paris Auto Show in 2000. The biggest event that changed the company was a phone call that Christian received from a German asking him to buy his car. This is how the CC8S was born. The final version was presented in Geneva in 2002 and production started on September 11th of the same year…
Ängelholm is a city of about 20.000 inhabitants, located an hour North of Malmö. It is easy to reach because it is along the highway to Göteborg and also close to Helsingborg which is directly linked to Denmark by ferry. Therefore you have two choices to go to Koenigsegg’s because you can also cross the Øresundsbron between Copenhagen and Malmö. Because of a fire that happened in 2003, Koenigsegg AB had to change factory. They moved to the former factory of the Swedish Air Force and made the promise to place a Ghost (symbol of the Air Force) in each car produced there. This terrible event is also the cause of the low number of CC8S being produced (only six). There was a silver lining though, as now Koenigsegg can use the former runway to test their cars.
Everything in a Koenigsegg is hand-made. This goes from the tiniest interior detail to the engine (in-house designed and assembled at the factory but produced in England). There is a dedicated room for the carbon fiber monocoque production, another one for the assembly of all the parts of the chassis, one more for the engine and more for the transmission assembly and painting station. To give you an idea of the time spent on each car and why it costs so much, remember that each engine takes between three and four weeks to be completed. The interior takes a month of work while painting is another 1000 hours’ effort, without including the time for polishing!
Engineers work in this huge open space and you can see Christian going from one post to another in an amazing simplicity. I forgot to mention the two “secrets” rooms where a part of the 60 (and soon 80) employees work on the future of the company. This complete organization will change in order to be able to produce more cars and fully satisfy the demand from clients that keeps growing. But to understand how Koenigsegg works, you should first know his history…
Christian von Koenigsegg’s ambition has always been simple and can be rephrased in one sentence : making the world’s best sportscar. This is something that caused the Swedish man to be the source of many jokes at the beginning, but now he has had his revenge… His philosophy has always been to make a car as light as possible. However, the American homologation of the CCX (dubbed internally “first world car”) made it 100 kg heavier than the CCR. And today, the One:1 is Euro6 compliant ! The work on the weight-saving is possible thanks to the intensive use of carbon fibre particularly in the monocoque chassis. The amazing Dihedral Synchro Doors are also made from this material, so as to take as little space as possible. The other characteristic of a Koenigsegg is the total absence of plastic. Finally, if no convertible has ever come out from Ängelholm factory, it is because the company prefers targas. However, the One:1 is no targa.
Records are part of Koenigsegg’s history. The first one occurred at the Nürburgring in 2005 with a CCR. But it’s a couple of weeks later, when the CCR beat the McLaren F1 with a top speed of 388 km/h, that Koenigsegg made the history books! The CCX, again, made a record on Top Gear’s track, and the year after it broke there the speed record. With 313 km/h in 2006, the CCR also reached the most important top speed in the Nürburgring. CCX also broke many other records until 2009. It is in 2011 that new records were broken by the Agera R. It would be too long to list them all but there a couple of speed and brake records among them. Now time has come to beat the Nürburgring once again…
Every gas station in Sweden provides E85. This is why Koenigsegg offers it on its cars. The first one to use it was the CCXR in 2007, developing a power of 1018 HP! Today, the Agera R and One:1 do the same, reaching an unbelievable MegaWatt ! Another first for Koenigsegg is the camless engine. At the time of writing, it is ready, just waiting for a launch date to be announced…
Koenigsegg quickly got famous but it is the Agera that definitely made the company what it is now. In December 2010, it was elected Hypercar of the Year by Top Gear. Since then, it has been enhanced with Triplex suspensions and new gearbox. The Agera also played an important role in the Need for Speed movie.
INTERVIEW WITH KOENIGSEGG
During our visit, we had the opportunity to question Koenigsegg’s staff and Christian himself. Here is the interview :
> Read our interview with Koenigsegg
THE MEGACAR : KOENIGSEGG AGERA One:1
After leading the world of hypercars, Koenigsegg is now the first company to have developed a megacar. Our review of the One:1 :
> Read our review of the Koenigsegg Agera One:1
Koenigsegg is probably the most incredible and the most interesting company in the car industry. Leading technologies, all the while being faithful to the principles of small production, it represents everything you can expect of this kind of company: a well-built car, true exclusivity, and, most of all, respect for the client. Buyers are not just a number on a list. Christian von Koenigsegg found the perfect crew to help him. Friendliness and seriousness are what you can remember of Koenigsegg AB…
Many thanks to Christian von Koenigsegg and his team for their welcoming and their disponibility. Keep on making us dreaming !