Last sale caps Veyron supercar era
Volkswagen AG sold the 450th and final Bugatti Veyron, marking the end of one of the most exclusive supercars ever built.
The last Veyron is an open-top Grand Sport Vitesse variant, which boasts 1,200 horsepower. The car, called La Finale, will be on display next week at the Geneva Motor Show. The 450 Veyrons were sold for an average price of about 2.3 million euros ($2.6 million) each, Molsheim, France-based Bugatti said.
After buying the Bugatti brand in 1998, Volkswagen revived the carmaker, which was originally founded by designer Ettore Bugatti. The goal was to develop a vehicle both powerful enough to drive faster than 250 miles per hour as well as stylish and comfortable enough for a trip to the opera. The Veyron debuted in 2005 and is part of Volkswagen’s effort to show it can compete on all levels of the auto industry.
“An unprecedented chapter in automotive history has reached its climax,” Bugatti President Wolfgang Duerheimer said in a statement. “Even 10 years after its market launch, the Veyron remains unique in many respects.”
The final Veyron was purchased by an unidentified customer from the Middle East. About half the cars were sold in Europe, and about a quarter were delivered in the U.S., according to Bugatti.
VW, the world’s second-largest automaker, is working on a new Bugatti supercar and is testing at least three different concepts for a successor to the Veyron, including one with an engine as much as 25 percent stronger than the 1,200-horsepower motor of the Grand Sport Vitesse, people familiar with the plans said in October. VW design chief Walter de Silva has said the new Bugatti could be unveiled at the end of this year or early 2016, and will be “art.”
Like the Veyron, its successor will vie for the world’s most affluent car-buyers with the likes of Italy’s Pagani Automobili SpA, McLaren Automotive Ltd.’s street cars or Koenigsegg Automotive AB’s Agera model. The Swedish supercar specialist will present the Agera RS and a new “megacar” dubbed Regera in Geneva next week.
The Veyron set industry records not just for speed, but also for losing money, according to estimates from Max Warburton, a Singapore-based analyst for Sanford Bernstein Ltd. Including development costs, VW may lose $5.2 million per vehicle on the Veyron, Warburton said.
“The spending they have done on every little part of the car is totally crazy, but it’s also of course setting the agenda of the supercar, the hyper-car league,” Christian Brandt, chief designer at Danish supercar maker Zenvo Automotive A/S, said in an interview.
VW, which sold 10.14 million cars last year, can absorb Bugatti’s costs thanks to the money it makes with brands such as Audi, Porsche and Skoda. While VW doesn’t release financial details for Bugatti, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company has said the costs are moderate compared to what rivals spend on activities such as Formula 1 racing.
“You need prestige projects like this to showcase technological excellence,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “Yes, it costs money, but it won’t cause VW any turbulence.”