Bugatti’s second model line put on hold

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Bugatti has put on hold plans to launch a second model line as it awaits a decision on future investment from its Volkswagen Group parent.

“We had talks about a second model lineup,” Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann told Bloomberg in an interview published Monday. “This was now blocked due to the coronavirus crisis; we’re not talking about what’s coming next.”

Senior VW Group executives are scheduled to meet in November to discuss, among other things, the fate of niche brands Bugatti, Ducati and Lamborghini, Reuters reported last week citing sources familiar with the matter.

Potentially up for discussion are plans for a sale of Bugatti to Rimac, a spinoff of Lamborghini, or new technology partnerships. A central issue is how to handle the cost of electrifying the niche brands.

On the matter of a sale of Bugatti to Rimac, Winkelmann declined to comment in his interview with Bloomberg.

Despite the slowdown caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, Bugatti is on track to report its best year on record. This is after the company posted record revenues and double-digit operating margins in 2019.

Winkelmann hinted in 2019 that any second model line from Bugatti will likely feature battery-electric power. Speaking to Motor Authority, he said he imagines the vehicle as a high-riding, 2+2 grand tourer, though not neccessarily an SUV.

Where to build it could be an issue. Bugatti’s plant in Molsheim, France, is already at capacity with the Chiron. It means Bugatti will need to also invest in expanding the site or adding a new plant. An alternative could be outsourcing production to an independent manufacturer like Magna Steyr, though this may not jibe well with customers paying six or seven figures for the car.

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Saurabh Shukla

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