FRANKFURT/PARIS -- Bugatti could join rival ultraluxury brands Rolls-Royce and Bentley in producing an SUV to broaden its range, Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann said in an interview at the Paris auto show.
Up for discussion are a range of chassis and engine variants, as well as an SUV that fits with the nameplate's billionaire target audience, Winkelmann said.
VW Group's ultraluxury brand currently makes different versions of the Chiron, and this week premiered the sold-out $5.9 million Divo supercar in Europe.
"The brand is ready for more," said Winkelmann, whose Divo has a a 1,500-hp engine. "The W-16 engine is at the core of the brand today, but it won't remain the heart forever."
Demand for exclusive cars has been largely decoupled from an auto industry battling tightening emission regulation and growing trade barriers.
Vehicles such as the Divo, Ferrari's Monza supercar and Aston Martin's Valkyrie tend to compete more with purchases of luxury apartments or yachts than affordable means of transportation. With few financial constraints, buyers look for assets that might become valuable collectors' items.
In the Divo's case, road-legal but built for the track with a top speed capped at 380 kph (236 mph), production is limited to 40 cars, enhancing the product's appeal just like the 1.6 million-euro ($1.85 million) Monza, whose 499-unit run is already allocated to Ferrari's most loyal customers.
An expansion at Bugatti, often mocked as a prime example of VW Group's excessive engineering budgets during the manufacturer's previous management, must be economically viable to go ahead, Winkelmann said.
"We need to come up with a convincing pitch to our shareholders that justifies the related investment," said the manager, who previously ran VW Group Italian subsidiary Lamborghini. A hybrid engine "could be part of the future -- you have consider social acceptance in terms of emissions."