There have been some turbulent times at Bugatti in the second half of 2020. In addition to wearing a For Sale sign over at Volkswagen’s headquarters, the company is discovering that The Current Year just might not be the best time to create a new and super-exclusive hypercar. So it isn’t.
Speaking to Bloomberg TV yesterday, Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann dashed the hopes of wealthy oligarchs and rap stars across the globe. “We had talks about a second model lineup. This was now blocked due to the Coronavirus crisis; we’re not talking about what’s coming next.”
The second model in question would’ve been a road-going offering to sit beside the pinnacle Chiron, which took the place of the departed Veyron for the 2016 model year. Any time Bugatti plans a new model it’s sort of a big deal. Unlike most automobile companies, Bugatti has operated differently since its inception: New models are few and far between. Since 1950 the company has produced a total of seven different vehicles. The French maker is at near max capacity at the moment and builds the aforementioned Chiron and the very limited edition (40 cars) Divo. Unlike the luxury Chiron, the Divo is made to whip it good around a track and is focused on lightness and handling.
In addition to the pandemic which seems to stretch out in the distance forever, other financial factors are certainly weighing against developing a new Bugatti. As we reported in September, there’s word that EV supercar firm Rimac Automobili is in talks to purchase the brand from Volkswagen. And VW itself has been on a money-losing streak, both in its failure to grasp North American market share and in spending big development bucks on the new ID line of EVs.
Bugatti sucks up a lot of development dollars, and its luxury hypercar mission means it’s necessarily limited in its product offerings. It can’t really offer an entry-level hybrid, a family sedan, or a crossover. Volkswagen already has numerous brands in its portfolio which are more versatile than Bugatti, have a greater return on investment, can share platforms, and don’t require 16-cylinder power. Lamborghini, Bentley, and Porsche cover most of the bases, and the former even has a halo image (albeit less golden) than Bugatti.
It’ll likely be a holding pattern for Bugatti for the near future until a sale occurs and Rimac can start branding its intensely fast vehicles with that illustrious EB badge.
this article first appeared on TTAC