Sascha Doering faces a unique challenge as COO of Bugatti of the Americas: growing the automaker’s coveted brand, while maintaining its prized exclusivity.
Bugatti manufactures some of the world’s most exclusive hyper sports cars, including the 16-cylinder Chiron, which can accelerate from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in 2.2 seconds and sells for more than US$3 million.
Demand for Bugatti’s hyper sports cars is sky-high, with its vehicles sold out three years into the future. Yet it only makes between 80–90 each year, making every one a collector’s item and a valuable investment.
“It’s always a balance between strengthening and growing the brand and growing our communities, but at the same time managing supply and demand. We have created an enormous demand,” Doering tells The CEO Magazine.
“We’ve created a segment that if we now look at the value progression of those vehicles, has become an asset class. They are not depreciating. The values are extremely stable and oftentimes appreciating.
“It’s very important that we maintain a close focus on keeping the product rare.”
Bugatti traces its origins to 1909 when its Founder and namesake, Italian designer Ettore Bugatti, inaugurated a factory in the former German town of Molsheim, Alsace, which is now part of France.
He designed and built the most successful race cars and luxurious vehicles of his era, with Bugatti dominating motorsport early in the last century while establishing a reputation for speed, luxury and excess.
Bugatti cars not only excelled technologically but won acclaim for their esthetic qualities and sleek designs, which reflected its founder’s renown as an inventor and designer. He reputedly said, “Nothing is too beautiful and nothing is too expensive.”
This maxim has guided the company for more than a century, and continues under the stewardship of Mate Rimac, CEO of Bugatti Rimac Group. Rimac is also the Founder of Croatian electric vehicle (EV) company Rimac Automobili, which merged with Bugatti in 2021.
“Every single Bugatti takes about two months to produce and it’s with a level of detail that is beyond anything that I’ve ever seen before,” Doering says. “It’s about design, it’s about performance and it’s about luxury and experiences.”
A native of Germany, Doering hails from a family of craftspeople who designed and created intricate eyewear. From an early age, he says, he learned to appreciate the details.
“I was working on millimeters, sometimes tenths of a millimeter variances. So craftsmanship is kind of in me.”
Doering moved to California in the early 2000s to earn an MBA at Pepperdine University. He stayed in the United States afterward, having been entranced by the luxury Malibu lifestyle.
His fascination and passion for what he experienced in Malibu allowed him to develop a firsthand understanding of the communities that are built around certain lifestyles, and led him to another passion: automobiles.
He recalls indulgent Sunday mornings at Trancas Cars & Coffee, a monthly auto show for enthusiasts, where he fell in love with the rich history and craftsmanship of exclusive vehicles.
This sowed the seeds for an impressive career in the industry, with Doering working for Audi, followed by senior roles at Lamborghini – where he helped rebuild the Americas division – along with luxury EV hyper sports car maker Automobili Pininfarina. Doering then joined Bugatti of the Americas in 2023.
“It’s kind of coming full circle to join Bugatti,” he says. “I do have a very strong appreciation for craftsmanship and that’s what Bugatti has done throughout its history.”
Doering appreciates everything the engineering and craftsmanship put into Bugatti hyper sports cars. But he shows a special passion for the brand itself and the premium position it represents.
“It is the pinnacle, it’s the best, it’s the rarest and it sits right at the top of the automotive industry,” he explains. “What motivates me and what challenges me is to build a business around that vision of the company.”
Building the Bugatti brand, however, means building a community in the Americas market.
“Our job together as a team is creating a community around that, which is true to the product but also creates the experiences around it,” he confirms. “Because ultimately, our valued clients know each other and they want to get together.”
Doering strives to create exclusive experiences that bring together Bugatti enthusiasts.
The Bugatti Grand Tour America 2023 was one such experience, with 18 Bugatti owners driving their hyper sports cars through some of the most scenic landscapes and most challenging roads of the American West. Starting in Park City, Utah, they wound their way through the Rocky Mountains to Aspen, Colorado.
Bugatti created another incomparable experience at Cape Canaveral, where owners got to test their hyper sports cars at speeds of more than 400 kilometers per hour on NASA’s space shuttle landing strip.
“It’s a landing strip that’s very historic, it’s an experience that money can’t buy, and this is what we do,” he reveals. “We have to live up to being the pinnacle brand in automotive, which means that we have to create pinnacle experiences for our clients.”
All successful businesses build close relationships with their external partners. Bugatti is no different, with Doering explaining that it comes down to having the same vision.
“It’s finding partners who understand that you can only build strong relationships if you have the same set of values that drive your vision,” he explains. One key partner is The Little Car Company, the agent licensed to build replica vintage, road-going Bugattis as EVs.
He adds that such partners share the same absolute focus on the smallest level of details.
“Our mindset is if you call anyone in our team in the middle of the night and ask them about vehicle X, they’ll probably be able to tell you the last four digits of the vehicle identification number,” he says. “That’s the level of dedication we need to think of when building these strong relationships.”
Bugatti has 14 sales partners in the Americas, which Doering works with tirelessly to help them create communities in their local markets. “We are building a business together with our partners,” he points out.
One of his partners summed up the secret to Bugatti’s success, telling him, “We are not in the business of selling cars. We are in the business of creating and maturing relationships.”