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Smart is biggest loss making car
New analysis reveals that the Smart Fortwo lost more money than the Bugatti Veyron!
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What is Europe's biggest loss making car? The single model that has forced its manufacturer to take the biggest financial bath? Conventional wisdom would point to the Bugatti Veyron; the technological tour-de-force and vanity project of Volkswagen boss, Ferdinand Pich. On a per-car basis the Veyron's loss of 3.86 million does make for an eye-watering accounts sheet, but Volkswagen insulated itself from catastrophic losses by limiting production of the Veyron (though with the amount of special editions you may not believe that).

By keeping production below 500 cars Volkswagen or Bugatti (whichever way you look at it) has 'only' lost an estimated 1.4 billion on the project according to the latest figures from Bernstein Research and its top man Max Warburton. Warburton is the man credited with untangling the web surrounding Porsche's plans to buy Volkswagen so he knows a thing or two about the automotive numbers game.

On his and Bernstein Research's list the Veyron ranks fifth, ahead of the Renault Vel Satis and Laguna, the Audi A2 and Jaguar X-Type. Topping the list however is the humble Smart Fortwo. Its per-car loss is relatively small at about 3,700, but with a production run of three quarters of a million cars total losses amounted to 2.8 billion for parent company Daimler.

The figures take into account all aspects of a car's production; from design, to tooling of a factory (and possibly building a new one in the case of more advanced models), to marketing and retailing so it is perhaps no surprise to see 'forward thinking' cars such as the Audi A2 (1.11 billion loss), Volkswagen Phaeton (1.66 billion) and Mercedes-Benz A-Class (1.43 billion) on the list. Considering how much of a mire the PSA Group is in at the moment it is perhaps surprising that it has just a single entrant with the Peugeot 1007 (1.59 billion) and likewise with Fiat, whose Stilo lost 1.76 billion over the course of its lifetime.

Paul Healy - 30 Sep 2013

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