Is an SUV All That’s Happening at Bugatti?
Sports cars and SUVs normally wouldn’t be used in the same sentence or same league. Until a few years ago, that is. Now, all of the sports car/supercar manufacturers with the exception of Bugatti and McLaren have or will soon have SUVs. But wait. Now Bugatti says they’re about to dive into the SUV pool.
No Budget No Decision
Automobile magazine interviewed Bugatti majordomo Stephan Winkelmann, who expounded on what the future might hold for the storied marque. He’s holding his cards tight with regard to the speculated crossover SUV. He says all of the design work is done but there is no budget and no decision. That seems like a round-about way of saying if green-lighted they’ll figure out the budget.
We know it would be all-electric, developed in conjunction with R&D company Edag Engineering in Wiesbaden, Germany. Production could be handled by Magna, or possibly the crossover would be assembled in their empty Campogalliano, Italy, factory.
The Rimac Connection
Possibly a more logical/practical route would be teaming up with Rimac Automobili. Porsche has invested in the Croatian company, as have Hyundai and Kia to the tune of $90 million. With Porsche’s investment, it makes sense to have Rimac help Bugatti since they already have shown they have the ability to develop an advanced electric supercar, with the impressive C Two, seen at the Geneva Auto Show. Plus Rimac’s stated goal is to become a Tier 1 supplier to the automobile industry.
Winkelmann indicated that the crossover/SUV was met positively by both the Volkswagen Group, which owns Bugatti, and by special clients who were given a look-see. Obviously, it has to meet with some sort of approval from the customers that have bought into the Bugatti mystique. They would be the most prime for considering another Bug to go along with their Chiron. The price tag would be around $1 million, give or take a few hundred thousand dollars.
He said that for any potentially new segments Bugatti would need to sell between 600-800 each year. That’s why Bugatti has shelved the super-luxury Galibier concept from 2011. He feels that in the current market there would be more interest in a crossover SUV as opposed to a big sedan.
More Chiron Variants?
As for developing the Chiron still further, there is the ongoing talk of a 500-kph (310 mph) hyper-Chiron. The main concerns are the return on investment, and if a manufacturer would be willing to produce tires. Then there is the possibility of replacing the current engine with a more developed version.
Finally, enthusiasts have always wondered why there is no open-top Chiron. The cost in development would be for a reengineered monocoque to add strength with the top gone.