Till now, France-based Bugatti is a single-model brand and despite showcasing concept ideas like the four-door Galibier concept in 2009, nothing has really moved forward in product expansion. The Chiron which replaced the Veyron this year is expected to have a shelf life of at least eight years and should all go well as planned, then a replacement could be produced 2024 or 2025. But that’s not all.
While styling is expected to evolve, the successor debate now looks at several core issues. First the name, secondly the body style and lastly the powertrain set-up it will get.
That sounds quite possible as the idea of a four-door Bugatti hasn’t been completely abandoned as yet. “The four-door car is not dead,” outgoing Bugatti President Wolfgang Durheimer told media at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Bugatti hasn’t decided on the exact powertrain for its next model and is said to be considering all options available given the performance characteristics befitting the brand. Analysts strongly believe that this is the right opportunity for the brand to revive Atlantic nameplate and even go to suggest that Bugatti might consider it as a 2+2 coupe with a lower price tag.
Very much like Lamborghini which has avoided the electrification route due to weight issues till now, but is actively looking at weight saving new material applications and new battery technologies with help of MIT scientists, Bugatti has indicated that it was also considered electrifying the Chiron’s powertrain in future.
Meanwhile, the top management at VW Group [which owns Bugatti, Lamborghini, Audi, and Porsche], has given the French brand a clear cut directive to create a cheaper sports car, one that can share engineering with other brands which have significantly moved forward with advanced hybrid or electrification.
The revived Atlantic could be engineered on co-developed or shared platforms with the upcoming Lamborghini Nuova E-spada [which is itself being developed on Porsche Panamera plug-in hybrid underpinning]. This aspect hints that the Atlantic could also benefit from electrification applications.
Meanwhile, a change in guard at top executive level has been officially announced for Bugatti. Ex-Lamborghini boss, Stephan Winkelmann is to be the President of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S with effect from 1 January 2018 as successor to Wolfgang Dürheimer who has taken voluntary retirement. It will be interesting to see what Winkelmann, a proven expert in sports cars and the luxury sector can bring to the table for Bugatti.
Winkelmann comes from Audi Sport GmbH, where he has been managing director since the spring of 2016. Before that, he was President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini for over a decade. In these positions, Winkelmann successfully developed the brand to become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of super sports cars. Before joining the Volkswagen Group in 2005 Winkelmann, who holds a degree in politics, worked for Fiat in various positions, most recently as CEO of Fiat Auto Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Winkelmann’s job will be to fast track Bugatti as a brand into the future with sustainable product offerings.