Blog: Bugatti Veyron: thumbs up or down?
Dave Leggett | 11 October 2005
I’ve just been talking on the telephone to a journalist at the Sunday Times about the Bugatti Veyron. It was quite a long chat, as he was after a fair bit of background. I did describe it as a stunning supercar (cool to look at, 8-litre 16-cylinder W-configured engine, 1987bhp, 0-100kph in 2.5 secs, Dave Beckham wants one and it’s quicker than Jay Kay’s Enzo if he wants to play one-upmanship: yes, ladies and gents, the car rocks - even if it doubles up as high-end automotive jewellry).
But I also gently pointed out that the Veyron is seen by many in the industry as an over-indulgent legacy from the Ferdinand Piech era. It has been very, very expensive to develop (there was plenty of re-engineering work after its racetrack debut debacle), comes with a long payback cycle and maybe Volkswagen Group has other priorities, I said, or something like that.
Does Volkswagen even need Bugatti? A case could at least be made for Phaeton (if ultimately difficult and many at Audi were rightly incensed that Phaeton came into being) on the grounds that the investment had wider applications within the VW Group and Bentley benifitted from that, for starters.
Anyway, we then progressed naturally, to the issue of where Bugatti sits in the VW scheme of things and that led me on to the culture of secrecy (or lack of transparency) that generally pervades VW Group, scandals involving Brazilian prostitutes, Wolfsburg as a job-creation project and some wider questions of German corporate governance and German economic reform. Along the way I pointed out that Karl Ludvigsen described the Veyron as an example of ‘motoring masturbation’ and I’ve a feeling that phrase definitely caught his attention. Should be interesting to read the article on Sunday.
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....
Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...