FRANKFURT -- Bugatti is delaying whether to proceed with a second, slightly more affordable model than its 2.5 million-euro ($2.9 million) Chiron hypercar as it prepares for two potentially difficult years.
The Volkswagen Group brand will prioritize cash conservation because of the coronavirus pandemic for at least the rest of 2020.
Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann said the brand's image and name recognition factor meant it was "mature enough" in principle to launch another model.
But he said a decision whether to approve such a costly project has been postponed because even very wealthy customers may not be prepared to spend exorbitantly on a hypercar during the global recession brought on by the COVID-19 lockdowns.
"For the time being we need to put this issue aside. Given the prevailing economic conditions, our utmost priority is on liquidity," Winkelmann told Automotive News Europe.
Winkelmann had said in November that the potential second model line would be an electric-powered grand tourer or crossover that could seat up to four people that would cost between 500,000 and 1 million euros.
The car would be a more practical vehicle with a higher ground clearance and two seats in the rear large enough at least to accommodate children. But it would not be an SUV.
"We will not jump on the SUV trend - we want to do something different," a company source said. "But the car would not be a sedan, either," a company source said.
If VW Group approves the second model line, it would require a considerable investment to increase staff and capacity.
Bugatti, which builds cars in Molsheim, France, would increase annual production to as many as 900 cars per year from fewer than 100 currently.
In 2019, the brand posted record production, revenue, sales volumes and a double-digit operating margin, Winkelmann said without providing details. Neither Bugatti nor VW Group makes public the brand's results.