Volkswagen Group chairman Bernd Pischetsreider has reportedly fired Bugatti president Karl-Heinz Neumann because of delays in the launch of the 406 km/h Bugatti EB16.4 Veyron.

Volkswagen Group chairman Bernd Pischetsreider has reportedly fired Bugatti president Karl-Heinz Neumann because of delays in the launch of the 406 km/h Bugatti EB16.4 Veyron.


Problems with the reliability of the Veyron's eight-litre W16 engine and seven-speed gearbox are said to be behind the launch delay. But according to , Neumann has nevertheless received his walking papers from Pischetsreider.


Originally due to go into production earlier this year, the Veyron appears unlikely to reach customers until next August - 12 months behind schedule.


CARtoday.com reported in October last year that Bugatti scheduled the first deliveries of the EB16.4 Veyron for the end of 2003 or early in 2004. Only 300 examples of the eight-litre W16 supercar would be built and sold for about R8 million.


Volkswagen AG sources say moves are already afoot to replace Neumann, who has headed Bugatti since plans for the Veyron were first announced in 2000.


Volkswagen bought the Bugatti trademark in June 1998 for a reported R158 million. About a year later, a concept of the Veyron, destined to become the world’s fastest production car, was shown at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show.


When it made its next appearance, at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, the Veyron impressed observers with its uncompromising, race-ready looks. The bodyshell, featuring very short overhangs, was designed by VW.


The Veyron is based on the underpinnings of the Lamborghini Murciélago. And according to sources, it can accelerate from a standstill to 300 km/h in under 14 seconds.


German press reports suggest Bentley and VW Motorsport boss Franz-Josef Paefgen may be brought in to steer the new car's final development, although an official announcement is unlikely to be made until the Frankfurt motor show in early September.

Original article from Car