- Bugatti showing Veyron successor model to selected customers
- Interest among North American customers is "phenomenal"
Volkswagen AG’s Bugatti will survive for at least one more supercar generation in the wake of the emissions scandal.
Bugatti said it will introduce a new supercar soon after opening revamped showrooms in Manhattan and Miami late Thursday. Interest in the successor of the sold-out Veyron is “phenomenal” among North American customers, sales chief Stefan Brungs said in a statement on Friday. More outlets will follow in Munich, Monaco and Tokyo.
Bugatti’s new showroom concept is a “fundamental investment in the future of the brand,” Brungs said.
The widening scandal over rigged diesel engines and understated carbon dioxide emissions has drawn scrutiny over whether Volkswagen will stick to extravagant operations such as Bugatti as the parent company plans wide-ranging spending cuts to become leaner and more efficient. Cleanup will cost at least 8.7 billion euros ($9.3 billion), Volkswagen has said. Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller said last week the group will scrutinize its vast lineup of more than 300 vehicles and weed out the least profitable.
Profitability was never the opulent, highly-engineered Veyron’s strong suit. Though the two-seat sports car sold for an average of 2.3 million euros, the cost of developing and building it -- in everything from gold and titanium to porcelain -- meant Volkswagen may have lost about 4.6 million euros on each Veyron it sold, according to estimates from analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.
A spokeswoman for Molsheim, France-based Bugatti declined to comment on speculation over the company’s prospects, saying that like all brands in the group, it needs to watch its costs. Bugatti has already started showing the Veyron successor to selected customers and will unveil it to everyone else in the near future, she said.
Volkswagen bought rights to the brand founded by designer Ettore Bugatti in 1998, aiming to make a car powerful enough to drive faster than 400 kilometers (250 miles) per hour and civilized enough for a trip to the opera. In February it sold the 450th and final Veyron, an open-top Grand Sport Vitesse variant with 1,200 horsepower.
Though Volkswagen has hinted since then that a successor is coming -- the next iteration will be even faster, brand chief Wolfgang Duerheimer said at the Frankfurt auto show in September -- the Friday announcement is the first confirmation that Bugatti will survive the cuts.