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Old 04-04-2006, 02:50 AM   #1
Jaguar D-Type
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Veyron output increased, Bugatti hopes to grow brand

By HENNING KROGH | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

4/03/2006

GENEVA -- Bugatti is increasing output at its plant in Molsheim, France, to cut the waiting time for its Veyron sports car.

"We want to take our annual capacity to 70 units, up from the 50 that were originally planned," said Bugatti President Thomas Bscher, in an interview at the Geneva auto show. "We are hoping that will sharply cut waiting periods, which are now at 14 to 15 months. That's much too long."

Sales of the Veyron, which costs 1 million euros plus taxes, or about $1.2 million at current exchange rates, have been better than expected. The carmaker has more than 70 definite orders, Bscher said.

U.S. customers are especially pressing for the earliest possible delivery schedules. The largest portion of the 14 Veyrons that have been completed will be shipped immediately to the United States.

Bscher sees the greatest sales potential for the remaining production in North America. Both the greater New York area and Southern California, including Beverly Hills, "are immensely important for Bugatti," he said.

Bscher expects to sell 15 Veyrons a year in Germany.

With its 16-cylinder engine and its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Veyron is a complicated vehicle. Bugatti has teamed up with 20 Bentley centers around the world where Bugatti owners may take their cars for servicing. Like Bugatti, Bentley is part of the Volkswagen Group.

In urgent cases, Bugatti's technicians will jump on a plane to get to a customer who needs service, Bscher said.

He also said there is a good chance the brand will grow. "Another model could quickly follow the phaseout of the Veyron," Bscher said.

The so-called "baby" Bugatti would be cheaper than the Veyron and would be built in higher volumes. Bscher said the car would have to make money and not compete with Bentley.
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