When it comes to fast cars, it may be a woman’s world after all, at least according to French automaker Bugatti.
Despite making up a small percentage of its customer base, women ultimately have the “final say” when it comes to the buying process, says Kostas Psarris, Regional Director, Middle East & Asia at Bugatti Automobiles.
“If you look strictly at the data, and whose name is on the [car] ownership, we don’t see many women owning the [Bugatti] car. There are female owners around the world, but they are a very small minority… If you look at the average female owners for other brands, they are definitely lower,” Psarris tells Frankly.
“However, they [women] are a huge part of the [buying] process… we see it when we’re talking about the owning of the car and the configuration. There are actually many cases when they [women] are the stronger voice on that journey. We see our male customers actually like their partners and wives to engage and to have the final say and very strong input in the configuration of the car,” he says.
Psarris adds that women are particularly involved in the car’s colour combinations.
“It’s great for us, because our goal is not just to sell the car, it’s to sell a car… that has to look good after many years. It has to look timeless. We do care a lot about the final combination of colours and the configuration… and the female eye definitely plays a big role in that… If you look strictly at the ownership names, it’s usually [men], but [women] are the decision makers, absolutely,” he says.
Colour me Bugatti
The brand has, on several occasions, painted the exterior of its cars to match the exact shade of the nail polish worn by a buyer’s wife at the time of purchase.
“It happened probably half a dozen times that we painted the exterior of the [Bugatti] car after the wife’s fingernails. She would have put on a special [nail polish] color on that day to come in, and the husband would say [paint the car] like her fingernails,” says Achim Anscheidt, Design Director at Bugatti Automobiles.
But the wildest request the director has received is a customer wanting to attach a trailer hitch for his Bugatti Veyron. “It was probably to pull a boat,” Anscheidt says, “which we didn’t or couldn’t do.”
He adds that he wants Bugatti’s designs to appeal to both men and women.
“It’s relatively easy to make a car [look] masculine and more brutal. On the other hand, you don’t want to make a car look just lovely or charming or naïve looking. It should always look more towards the… commanding side.
“And that appeals to both men and women. The trick is to [design] something… that everybody has an automotive attraction to… I think we always hit the sweet spot,” Anscheidt says.
The exotic combustion engine remains
The executives spoke to Frankly at an exclusive viewing of the Bugatti W16 Mistral in Dubai. The model will be the last gas-only car to feature the famous 16-cylinder engine.
While future Bugatti models are set to be plug-in hybrids, they will retain the internal combustion engine, according to Anscheidt.
“We’re going to keep the internal combustion engine with a very powerful battery electric drive, which will both be very exotic compared to other manufacturers,” he says.
“We have plans [to go fully electric] in the far future,” Anscheidt adds.
Bugatti will only build 99 models of the W16 Mistral, each priced at around €5 million, and all of which have already been sold. Deliveries of the brand’s fastest ever roadster will begin in 2024.