The Bugatti name may stretch back over a century, but in its modern form — that is, since the Volkswagen Group took ownership and brought it back out of obscurity — it has only been around since 1998. In the span of those 16 years, Bugatti has only made one product: the Veyron. That sixteen-cylinder, thousand-horsepower, million-dollar supercar may have had many variations over the years — including the Grand Sport roadster, the more powerful Vitesse and Super Sport models, and more special editions than we could count — but it's still essentially the same car that hit the market in 2005 after some six years of development.
The Alsatian automaker originally undertook to build 300 examples of the Veyron coupe, to which it later added 150 roadsters. All of those fixed-roof examples have since been sold, and Bugatti recently announced that it has sold an additional 100 Grand Sport and Vitesse convertibles. That leaves only 50 out of the total of 450 Veyrons to be built and sold, after which Bugatti will need another product lest it disappear back into obscurity. But just what will that product be?
The company developed the Galibier sedan concept as a possible successor to the Veyron, repurposing the W16 engine with two superchargers in the place of the four turbos and turning it around to be placed at the front of a four-door luxury performance sedan. But after showing it to select clients around the world (and not once to the press), the company determined that it's not what its customers want in a Bugatti. The prevailing wisdom, fed by hints dropped by key Bugatti personnel, is that the most prestigious of automakers will develop a new earth-shattering and immensely exclusive supercar to succeed and follow in the footsteps of the Veyron once its production cycle has concluded.
Bugatti isn't saying for sure at this point. First it wants to sell every last one of the 50 Veyrons it still has to build before it begins discussing what it will do next. To that end, Bugatti is in the midst of producing a range of special-edition Veyron roadsters in tribute to legendary drivers from the company's peak in the inter-war era when it dominated early grand prix racing.
The first was unveiled at Pebble Beach last year in a two-tone black and teal color scheme in honor of Jean-Pierre Wimille. The second was all black, named after Jean Bugatti and presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Meo Costantini was the honoree for the third edition in chrome and bright blue at the Dubai Motor Show. The fourth is due to be presented in honor of pioneering female racer Elisabeth Junek at the Geneva Motor Show. The fifth is tipped to pay tribute to Jean's brother Rembrandt Bugatti, with a sixth model to close out the series.
The company has also named a new Chief Operating Officer for the Americas in order to replace the departing John Hill and help sell the remaining $85 million worth of metal Bugatti still has to sell. Maurizio Parlato has previously served at Ferrari, Maserati and Lotus as head of North American operations, a region which accounts for one in every four Veyrons sold.