Bugatti delays decision on second model line due to coronavirus

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Bugatti will delay a decision on launching a second model line as it seeks to preserve cash during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking with Automotive News (subscription required) in an interview published Tuesday, Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann said customers, even those wealthy enough to purchase the Chiron, are holding back on splurging on high-end models during the pandemic.

“For the time being we need to put this issue (of a second model line) aside,” he said. “Given the prevailing economic conditions, our utmost priority is on liquidity.”

It’s not just Bugatti. The entire Volkswagen Group is prioritizing cash preservation for at least the rest of the year, according to Automotive News.

In his interview, Winkelmann said Bugatti posted record revenues and double-digit operating margins in 2019 and was ready to add a second model line. He’ll still need approval from VW Group senior management, though.

He hinted in 2019 that the second model line will likely feature battery-electric power. He also told Motor Authority that year that he imagines it as a high-riding, 2+2 grand tourer, though not 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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