A day in the life of Bugatti boss Stephan Winkelmann during lockdown

By Motoring Staff Time of article published Apr 14, 2020

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Molsheim, France - Car production in most countries has ground to a halt as the Covid-19 pandemic grips the world, and Bugatti is no exception. However, like many other carmakers, those non-production employees who can get some work done from home are doing so, including the development of future models.

For Bugatti’s President Stephan Winkelmann, it is full steam ahead, and the hypercar maker has given us a glimpse into his lockdown life to show that the company is “not standing still” even during the pandemic.

Winkelmann has been at the helm of Bugatti since 2018, and previously headed up Lamborghini.

“Even though I am now working from home like many other employees, no day is ever the same during this difficult time,” Winkelmann said. 

“However, thanks to digital processes and communication channels, we are still able to work and keep on developing our extraordinary hyper sports cars."

Here is a brief excerpt from his daily diary:

7:00am

Get up

Light breakfast

Obtain an overview of the day’s news; read national and international press.

“I use a range of different media to find out about what is currently going on in the world, in politics and in business. After all, I need a good overview to be able to assess the markets and general situation correctly and use this information to guide my actions.”

8:30am

Catch up with e-mails

Start of my first Skype meeting with the Comité de Direction, the extended Executive Board.

“At the moment, we talk to Bugatti’s senior management team every morning so that everyone is up-to-date with the current situation in the company and how we are all doing health-wise, also including our business partners. This also involves discussing the latest global developments and how we as a company should react. If we think we need to take action, we discuss the possible solutions in this larger group. It is a joint effort and thrives on active discourse between everyone involved.”

10:00 am

Further conference calls with various departments such as Development, Sales, Design and Marketing.

“Even though none of our hyper sports cars are able to leave our Molsheim site at the moment, we are continuing to work actively where possible. Apart from production, this relates primarily to development and design. Employees keep me informed of the current status, development success, or problems. This also includes the current status of our global business partners. How are they dealing with the situation and how are they continuing to support our customers? We discuss the next steps together so that our work is not impeded by a lack of decisions. 

"Our motto is always the same: the only way we can continue to build the best cars in the world is by talking to one another. The challenges facing the Sales and Marketing departments are particularly tough and we are only able to solve these together.”

12:00 midday

Lunch

Watch the news on TV

Catch up with e-mails

“As well as online magazines in the morning, I catch up with the news at lunchtime by watching TV. As Bugatti is a globally operating brand, both the company and myself have an interest in the news from every region and continent. It is really important to keep up. Due to the time differences between the various regions, lunchtime is a good time to get an idea of what is going on in the world.”

2:00 pm

Further phone conferences with the Comité de Produit, the product committee, regarding the development of current and future products.

Catch up with e-mails

“Bugatti never stands still. Not at the weekends, not over the Christmas holidays, and definitely not on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are no limits to the creativity of our staff; new ideas for new technical solutions or products appear all the time. Consolidating them all is always a particular challenge. 

“During our Comité de Produit conference calls, we discuss the latest developments and sketch out future projects. For me, these are some of the most exciting meetings as they give you a glimpse of all the power and creativity in our company. Things can get a little heated sometimes. However, in my experience, it is precisely this kind of friction that leads to the best results.”

7:00 pm

Endurance sports

“Since I currently cannot train at the gym or in the pool, I go running for an hour in the early evening and break up my run with a few exercises. This improves my endurance and health, I enjoy it and it gives me time to review the day without my smartphone or computer. This period of meditation also recharges my batteries.”

9:00 pm

Private phone calls

“Every evening at the moment I phone my mother, who lives in southern Germany. This has become a lovely ritual and helps her in particular to get through this difficult time. After that, I usually phone a few friends who are spread all over the world and find out how they are doing.”

10:00 pm

Read

“For me, the only benefit of the lockdown is that I have more time to read in the evenings. I normally read two books in parallel, one fiction and one non-fiction. However, I am reading two non-fiction books at the moment – a biography of Charles de Gaulle and a book about the French paratrooper units during the Indochina war. There is also a book about the ‘Bugatti Queen’ on my shelf, which tells the story of the French female racing driver Hellé Nice, who drove a Bugatti Type 35 C. This book is next on my list.”

IOL Motoring


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