Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bugatti Ups Veyron Output to Reduce Wait Times

Bugatti Veyron Production

What’s a Bugatti? If you’re not much into cars, you can be forgiven for not knowing about the legendary Bugatti name. If you’re a car enthusiast, mind you, an original Bugatti Royale, for instance, might be on the top of your all-time wish list.

One good reason to put a “Bug” high on the list is simple, really; to attain the ownership of a classic example or even the new Veyron you’d have to be a multimillionaire. Of course, normally people don’t become wealthy merely by dreaming of cars, though it’s plausible that Bugatti’s latest has inspired many to riches over the half-decade of its pre-launch stage.

Yes, the Veyron has the distinction of not only being the most expensive new car on the planet with the highest horsepower rating in stock trim, but also holding record to enduring through the longest and most tumultuous gestation period of any modern-day vehicle. Even recently, just before news came out that the supercar is being built and would be released to eager customers later this year, some industry insiders still questioned whether or not it would ever see the light of day.

On its side is the fact that it’s not backed by Malcolm Bricklin or Gerald Wiegert, although the two entrepreneurs did manage to eventually build a small run of cars apiece. Rather, Bugatti falls under the VW AG umbrella, and therefore doesn’t suffer from an immediate cash problem.

The latest news is that Bugatti is increasing output at its Molsheim, France production facility in order to reduce waiting times for the Veyron.

“We want to take our annual capacity to 70 units, up from the 50 that were originally planned,” commented Bugatti President Thomas Bscher, during an interview at the Geneva auto show. “We are hoping that will sharply cut waiting periods, which are now at 14 to 15 months. That’s much too long.”

Bugatti Veyron Production

Veyron sales, for a car that will cost its new owner 1 million euros, or just over $1.2 million USD ($1.4 million CAD) at current exchange rates, are stronger than initially expected. As of the end of March, Bscher confirmed Bugatti had in excess of seventy definite orders.

Not surprisingly, U.S. customers are pushing hard to get the earliest possible deliveries, and surprisingly Bugatti has responded with a promise to ship the largest portion of the first fourteen Veyrons across the Atlantic. And why isn’t Bscher placating European and Middle Eastern buyers first? The Bugatti boss sees North America as having the greatest sales potential, especially in greater New York and, of course, Southern California, two areas Bscher says “are immensely important for Bugatti.” Bscher only expects to sell fifteen Veyrons per year in Germany.

The new Bugatti features a spectacular 16-cylinder engine connecting through to a seven-speed dual-clutch paddle-shift actuated transmission, plus a carbon fibre composite chassis, making it one of the more expensive vehicles to build, and therefore own.

And yes, if you have achieved financial security and are willing to wait in line, you can purchase a new Veyron at one of twenty Bentley centres globally; Bentley is also owned by Volkswagen Group.

These facilities will also be Bugatti service points, but as Bscher pointed out, Bugatti technicians will also fly to any location throughout the world to service the Veyron.

Interestingly, Bscher commented that there is a good change Bugatti will grow the brand to include an additional model. Unlike the marque’s previous management, which wanted to add a high-priced sedan to complement its supercar, Bugatti would go down-market and produce a higher volume model to compete with top-line Ferraris and its own Lamborghini nameplate - yes, VW also owns Lamborghini through its Audi division. And just in case you’re not up on the latest news, Porsche owns about twenty percent of VW AG, further complicating its premium brand offerings.

Before talking about a “Baby Bug”, mind you, it would be good to see a Veyron on the road, proof-positive that dreams of a less expensive Bugatti are worth fostering.

Bugatti Veyron Production

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