Bugatti's highlight of 2020 was the phenomenal 300mph+ Chiron speed run but now it's time for the next challenge, including the possibility of a second model in its line-up. We sit down with CEO Stephan Winkelmann and pick his brain on the future of the firm and wider industry.
You recently achieved broke the 300mph barrier in a Chiron Super Sport 300+. What’s next?
Being the spearhead of performance, it’s difficult to cover all types of performance with one car. The base Chiron is already an incredible car. If you want to create the best-performing car yet, you have to decide whether to go for longitudinal acceleration and top speed - this is what we’ve done with the 300+ - or you focus on downforce, handling and weight reduction and that’s lateral acceleration. But the two of them put together at this level of performance is impossible. So we did one and now we are working on something different - you guess what!
Should we expect more variants or special editions of the Chiron?
Derivatives are a must. The car gives us the opportunity to do so and if we didn’t, customers would not appreciate what you can get out of this car. Special editions? No, we did them at the beginning and now I think the team have enough to do to achieve what we promised. Divo deliveries will start this year.
How do you make more money at a firm like Bugatti?
We are constantly in dialogue with our suppliers, cutting costs, processes. Plus, we have to do things which get more out of a single car. We’re doing the [Chiron] Sport, the Super Sport, the Divo, the Centodieci, La Voiture Noire. This is helping. It is not an easy task because investment is really high for low volumes so you’re always at a high risk with everything you do.
The industry is incredibly fast-paced right now, but does Bugatti operate in a separate bubble?
Our day-to-day struggles are completely different to a premium car brand. But the challenges of the future are touching us, such as digitalisation or electrification, if we look into a wider model range. It would be a given for a hypothetical second model.
What are your thoughts on self-driving cars?
I don’t see it as touching Bugatti for now. I always try to be honest and say we don’t have to be the first but when we do something, we have to be the best. I’m for assisted driving because it makes life easier and less boring. No-one is buying a Bugatti because it’s an autonomous car.
What are the most important elements of digitalisation for you?
For Chiron, it’s the basics, it’s about driving. It can’t be a mobile office. For me, it’s the weather forecast and the real-traffic situation. It has to be something that helps a driver get to a destination in the best and safest way possible.