Volkswagen needs to find a way to electrify these brands without losing money

Earlier this month we heard rumors that the Volkswagen Group wants to transfer the Bugatti brand to Croatian company Rimac Automibili. The transaction would turn Bugatti into an EV company, but it would also give Porsche access to Rimac’s high-performance electric drivetrain.

The same report claimed that Volkswagen is also considering selling Lamborghini and Ducati. Now, Volkswagen confirmed that at least three brands are under review and a decision about their future will be taken in a management board meeting in November. The group is currently discussing the future of Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Ducati.

Is there a future for small brands within the Volkswagen Group?

Uh-Oh! Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Ducati Future Lies Under Doubt
- image 793546

The Volkswagen Group, which owns car companies like Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Audi, is currently looking at whether is has the resources to integrate its smaller brands into its electrified future.

The giant is shifting to mass-producing electric cars under mainstream brands like Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda, Audi, and Porsche, but Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Bentley are barely hitting the hybrid realm.

The issue here is that developing electric platforms for smaller brands might be too expensive at a time when the Volkswagen Group is already spending billions of dollars to electrify its mainstream brands.

On top of that, it also needs to free up cash to develop autonomous and connected vehicle technology, as well as new forms of mobility services in order to keep up with the competition.

While Bentley could get away with sharing underpinnings with Porsche models, Bugatti and Lamborghini need bespoke platforms for electric models, which is a problem given that these two brands are barely moving 4,500 units per year.
Uh-Oh! Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Ducati Future Lies Under Doubt
- image 935584

“We are constantly looking at our brand portfolio, this is particularly true during the phase of fundamental change in our industry. In view of the market disruption, we must focus and ask ourselves what the transformation means for the individual parts of the group,” Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess told Reuters.

“Brands must be measured against new requirements. By electrification, by reach, by digitalisation and connectivity of the vehicle. There is a new room for maneuver and every brand must find its new place,” he added.

Although Diess declined to comment on the future of Lamborghini and Bugatti under the Volkswagen umbrella, it’s safe to say that the group no longer wants to financially support these brands as long as they produce gas-guzzling cars. While Bugatti may indeed move under Rimac ownership, Lamborghini’s fate remains unknown. Given that there are no signs of the Huracan and the Aventador being replaced by gas-powered successors, the company may switch to hybrid and all-electric vehicles soon. But it remains to be seen whether it will happen under Volkswagen Group ownership.

Uh-Oh! Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Ducati Future Lies Under Doubt Exterior
- image 938100

Ducati is also under review. The Italian motorcycle company sold just over 53,000 units in 2019 and is currently producing eight different nameplates. The current engine lineup includes four units available in a total of nine specifications. The Volkswagen Group purchased Ducati through Lamborghini back in 2012.

The problem with electrifying Bugatti and Lamborghini

Uh-Oh! Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Ducati Future Lies Under Doubt High Resolution Exterior
- image 707997
Besides needing to spend large sums of money to create bespoke electric drivetrains for Bugatti and Lamborghini, Volkswagen may also have problems selling them.

While technology has evolved to the point where big carmakers can develop electric supercars with as much as 2,000 horsepower, they might not be as appealing as their noisy, high-octane predecessors. Gas-guzzling supercars are still in high demand, as Ferrari, McLaren, and even Lamborghini are setting new sales records each year, but this will change once the big V-8, V-12, and W-16 engines are gone.

Granted, future Lamborghinis may be altered to adopt high-performance electric drivetrains from Porsche, but things would be a lot more complicated with Bugatti.

The brand is still struggling to make a profit with the Chiron, so a bespoke platform would either make them much more expensive than they already are or force Volkswagen to sell them at a loss. Which isn’t an option right now.

Uh-Oh! Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Ducati Future Lies Under Doubt High Resolution Exterior
- image 667470

One thing is certain though, Bugatti and Lamborghini won’t be shut down. They will continue making cars and potentially move into the electric market, but it remains to be seen under which ownership.

Source: Reuters

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

Related Articles

Hope For A Second Bugatti Model Is All But Lost

Bugatti Could Soon Be Sold Off to Rimac

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: