When Koenigsegg wants to sell a new vehicle in the United States they have to fulfill essentially the same requirements that Honda does when they want to sell the Fit, despite the fact that Koenigsegg will sell only a fraction of the same cars. This process of making a car legal is called “homologation” and it’s as complex as it sounds.
People are always surprised when they hear that the crash test requirements in Spain are different from the crash test requirements in Canada, but the reality is that when Volkswagen wants to sell essentially the identical Golf GTI in both countries they have to change the cars or build them to meet two different sets of standards. The two biggest areas, historically, have to do with passive safety (what happens after you crash) and emissions. Much of this derives from the Europeans and the Americans having different belief systems about what is “safe” and “clean,” Historically, the Europeans assume everyone wears a seatbelt and care more about global CO2 emissions than they do about local particulate emissions. The United States, on the other hand, doesn’t assume people will wear a seatbelt and has tried to avoid the smog that was so prevalent in the 1970s by focusing emissions standards less on CO2 and more on smog-creating particles.
For a large manufacturer this is an expensive and time-consuming process, but it’s also the cost of doing business. When you’re making 400,000 copies of your car a year it’s fine to make adjustments necessary for the major markets. For a company like Koenigsegg the homologation process is more difficult, as their homologation manager David Tugas points out in this video.
“Regular manufacturers they have big homologation departments with 50-100 people… I’m here alone with all my co-workers.”
The differences between the Europeans and the United States is something I’ve thought about a lot, but I will admit I was unaware that in the Gulf countries you’re required to make sure your radiator can withstand a certain amount of sand penetration although it makes perfect sense.
If you enjoyed this video, in this series we’ve also had Christian von Koenigsegg walk us through the new Koenigsegg Jesko, explain what happens when you have to crash test a Koenigsegg, and describe how to start a car company.