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Bugatti Studying Veyron Replacement


 

After a slow launch, the ultra-luxury carmaker, Bugatti, is quickly ramping up production. Of course, that still means rolling out just 70 of its $1.4 million V-16-powered Veyrons next year, compared with 50 in 2006, said Thomas Bscher, president of the Volkswagen AG subsidiary. At that rate, the company will quickly wrap up production of the Veyron, having stated a goal of building no more than 300 copies overall. The question is what will come next, said the executive, adding that he hopes to have a decision made by mid-2007.

 

“There will be another car,” despite rumors and reports that Bugatti might be a one-trick pony, insisted Bscher. In the near-term, Bugatti is likely to produce a small number of high-priced supercars, variants based on the Veyron, but longer-term, the Volkswagen subsidiary may turn in a very different direction. One possibility, said Bscher, would be to go into a much lower-priced market segment. That could increase potential sales significantly, but Bugatti can’t go too low, or it might wind up competing with the roughly $150,000 GT, built by VW sibling division, Bentley. On the other hand, potential sales become extremely limited – and in the process, so does profitability – if Bugatti’s next venture runs more than $300,000.

 

As it is, the Veyron has proven to be a mixed success, even in Bscher’s assessment. At the current price tag, “We’re just making a small, small profit,” he told TheCarConnection.com, during an interview at the Los Angeles Motor Show. And that’s just counting the cost of actually building the Veyron. If one added in development costs, acknowledged Bscher, “It would be a big loss.” While there is a benefit to the halo Bugatti provides the overall VW group, that just won’t be tolerable going forward, the Bugatti CEO stressed. So the company continues struggling to come up with a plan that will pass muster with the parent company.


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