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EDITORIAL  FULL ARTICLE 
Bugatti, there is a bright future waiting out there
Peter Schmidt | Editor

Published: Wed, 05th August 2015 12:01:19 GMT
 

Bugatti Geneva 2012 VW preview night

Open quote signAs a man of few words, and infamous for not suffering fools gladly, VW Groupís now departed Ferdinand PiŽch is judged unlikely to enter the global autoindustryís hall of fame. 

His character and unquestioned top-notch qualities on the engineering front are evidently not matched on the social engineering side of things. 

It means that notably lesser autoindustry bigwigs will in future be showered with such frivolous honours. 

In todayís world where it seems words speak louder than deeds there is insufficient recognition for great brains like PiŽchsí.

Genuine original thought, practical rather than academic, is PiŽchís forte. 

And as Einstein illustrated only too tellingly, his world changing general theory of relativity fits comfortably on the back of an envelope. 

Cast your mind back a couple of decades or so, and low and behold, PiŽchís seemingly idiosyncratic strategic moves were right on the money. 

To his credit, there are too many to mention. 

But this long list of ingenious winners includes Audiís previously smiled over transformation into a true Mercedes rival, Quattro drive, Porscheís ingenious first-steps to take control of the then hugely undervalued and underrated Volkswagen Group, and the cunning decision to swallow Bentley. 

Another largely forgotten step was the acquisition of the legendary Bugatti name. 

To keep the name alive in the media - last year just 45 units were built - seemed incomprehensible to some. 

So whatís the use of a name? 

If itís Prada, Gucci, Cartier or Rolex, the name has great value. 

So in todayís status-driven world of luxury goods, the right name associated with desirable quality products still finds plenty of willing buyers. 

Even the faintest whiff of mass-market associations will handicap any aspirations in this highly profitable segment, where pedigree is by its very nature status-driven.

 Bugatti fits the bill.

In a world of mushrooming multi-millionaires, leading luxury brands rule the catwalk, and China is the key. 

Last year Mercedes found just over 35,000 Chinese buyers for its flagship S-Class. 

Thatís nearly a third of Mercedesí S-class production and growing.

A master class of premium sector game play, transforming a previous no hoper into a likely winner, Mercedes brought back to life its previously luckless Maybach badge.

This time as a top-notch derivative for its already status-reeking S-Class luxury barge. 

Since its market debut this February, Chinese sales of the profit-laden Maybach derivative are running at more than 500 a month, AID has learned. 

Thatís about 20 per cent of range sales. Now, that sparked an idea.

Audiís all-new A8, an S-Class competitor due late next year, and however technically advanced, is just another Audi. 

In China, todayís biggest market for top notch luxury cars like the Mercedes S-Class and BMWís 7-Series, a large chunk of the cars sporting Audiís four ring emblem are job cars for hundreds of thousand of Chinaís senior civil servants. 

So in image terms - very precious to Chinaís rich and wealthy - the four ring emblem clearly cries out for some extra glamour. 

The Bugatti treatment could be for Audi what Maybach does for the S-Class. 

Costing little money, thatís conceivably a Bugatti grill and in particular, true to the brandís rich heritage, the all-round sporty treatment. 

The motor could be the famed W12 which also serves in many Bentleys.

Followed up with a selected range of exclusive Audi-based models, that could conceivably boost Bugattiís annual global sales into five figures. 

Far fetched? 

Isnít that more or less what happened to Bentley, which remains on track, thanks in part to its forthcoming luxury SUV, to conceivably sell 15,000 plus cars per year in just a couple of years from now. 

Coming from practically nowhere, thatís a hyper-jump. 

With Bugatti, did PiŽch consider any such long-term plans? 

From a man of very few words, we might never know
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