Reports suggest that brand boss Bscher has resigned over differences with VW board
12 March 2007

Bugatti may be about to lose charismatic boss Thomas Bscher.Reports published in the German financial press suggest that the Bugatti brand head, who was hired in 2003 to stabilise the floundering Veyron project, tendered his resignation at the end of last week. If they're true, the 54-year-old German would be the last in a growing line of senior VAG executives to clash – and clash expensively – with VW boss Martin Winterkorn.Details pertaining to Bscher’s resignation have not yet been communicated by VW. However, he was reported to have been at odds with Winterkorn over the future direction of the famed French marque, under Volkswagen control since 1998.Having brought the spectacular EB16.4 Veyron to production after a troubled gestation and secured at least two years of full production capacity – some 100 cars in total – Bscher had been angling for Volkswagen to make available a development budget for a second Bugatti model. However, there's an increasing prominence on the VW board of voices sympathetic to Porsche's interests; they are reported to view further investment in the Bugatti brand as misplaced, and it appears they have now done enough to permanently defeat the brand's biggest proponent.Bscher seemed the perfect hand for the Bugatti tiller four years ago, having extensive experience in the field of management, boasting a glittering motorsport career and having played a pivotal role in the development of McLaren F1 – a race car in which he placed fourth at the Le Mans 24 hours in 1996.The reports suggest that his role at Bugatti will be filled in the short term by Bentley boss Franz-Josef Paefgen, who will take over control at Bugatti while continuing as head of the Bentley brand. The move could signal a more profound shift in organisation of the Volkswagen Group’s upmarket brands, with the same man in charge of two of them - but that's assuming they are to be believed.VW is currently declining to comment on the situation; as soon as they do, we'll bring you an update.

Greg Kable

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