Orange County’s reputation as a luxury vehicle hub got further validation last month, when French ultra-luxe carmaker Bugatti opened a new showroom in Irvine.
The dealership, run by Newport Beach Automotive Group (NBAG), joins Beverly Hills and La Jolla as SoCal spots for Bugatti, whose most affordable sportscars run around $2 million, and whose pricier models frequently top $5 million.
“Being one of the largest hypercar markets in the world, Orange County has a lot of potential to bring new customers to our iconic brand,” Bugatti COO of the Americas Cedric Davy said at the time of Irvine spot’s opening.
Bugatti now counts 12 Bugatti showrooms in North America.
“Doing a show opening in North America is very rare,” Davy said.
North America recently overtook Europe as the best-selling market for Bugatti, according to auto industry reports. Last year, the 112-year-old company reported a record year with 150 sales. About 60% of the sales were to first-time buyers.
2nd Largest Dealer
The new 1,500-square-foot Bugatti showroom joins the hub of dealerships in the Irvine Auto Center complex in the city’s Spectrum area.
The Irvine Auto Center is where most of NBAG’s dealerships are located, despite its Newport Beach name. The new dealership is adjacent to the company’s Lamborghini showroom.
“With our very small [production] volume, it’s not really about multiplying the dealership. It’s really about finding the right partners,” Davy said.
NBAG has worked with Bugatti since 2019. Two years after it began working with the brand, it became the second largest Bugatti dealer despite not having a stand-alone showroom.
The new site, near the intersection of the Santa Ana (5) and San Diego (405) freeways, represents a $2 million investment, Dealer Principal Pietro Frigerio told the Business Journal.
Bugatti officials said that in the new showroom, customers can “explore the latest models, purchase Bugatti-branded apparel and accessories, and build their dream car in the configuration lounge. Customers can also have their vehicles serviced on-site by factory-certified Bugatti technicians.”
Other brands sold and serviced by NBAG include Koenigsegg, Lamborghini and McLaren. The group’s Lamborghini showroom, which is adjacent to Bugatti’s, completed construction in February 2020.
NBAG generated a record $280 million in sales last year, up 40% from the year prior. The group expects to top $300 million in sales this year, a figure that includes the sale of 10 or so Bugatti vehicles.
New Brand Identity
Bugatti Newport Beach is the first showroom to adopt its new brand identity, which is focused on customer experience, Davy says.
“Every brand is changing its identity a little bit. I think it was time for us,” he told the Business Journal.
The new showroom allows customers to see different customizations of the brand’s vehicles on a wall-sized configuration screen.
“On this big screen, the car really comes to life,” Davy said.
The two cars on display at the showroom are the Chiron Pur Sport and the Chiron Super Sport.
The Pur Sport, a $3.6 million car built for cornering with 1,500 horsepower, drew in a significant number of new customers to the brand. About 70% of the Pur Sport’s North American customers were new to Bugatti, according to Davy.
“Bugatti was always focused on top speed. With the Pur Sport, we were really entering a new territory for the brand. We conquered a lot of customers that we never touched before because they were not that interested in just going fast,” he said.
The Super Sport, however, marks a return to Bugatti’s obsession with speed. It’s the brand’s most powerful sports car, with 1,600 horsepower and the ability to launch itself from 0 to 200 mph in 14.8 seconds. It’s the last version of the luxury car brand’s Chiron lineup.
Bugatti will eventually pivot to producing hybrid and then fully electric vehicles, Davy said.
“The future for sure is going to be hybrid in the first stage and then obviously full electric down the road,” he said.
A timeline for Bugatti’s EV switch hasn’t been disclosed.
The automaker produces about 80 vehicles a year on average.
Because of the brand’s limited availability, Bugatti customers aren’t just “buying a 1500, 1600 horsepower vehicle. They’re [also joining] a very exclusive club,” Frigerio says.