"Bright and clinically pure" is the way Bugatti describes its breathtakingly beautiful atelier in Molsheim, France, where the $3 million Chiron hypercar as well as even more exotic creations are built completely by hand in a setting more often associated with a Bond villain's lair than an automotive factory.
You won't find any robots on an assembly line, or even a conveyor belt; just incredibly skilled technicians painstakingly putting together the most extreme street legal vehicles in the world. It takes months to build each masterpiece to the exact specifications of the designer and its new owner.
Bugatti celebrates its 110th anniversary this year, and then as now "quality and craftsmanship are the two strands of Bugatti´s DNA," the marque's President Stephan Winkelmann says. "Company founder Ettore Bugatti said that a technical product is only perfect when it's perfect from the aesthetic point of view. This also includes the workmanship.“
In 2018 Bugatti produced 76 Chirons, and is aiming to create 80 of them this year, in addition to the very first examples of the exponentially more exclusive 1,500 hp Divo, all 40 examples of which have already been spoken for at $5.8 million apiece by collectors who had to compete for an allocation.
It takes three weeks just to apply the various top layers on the bodywork of each new Bugatti; up to eight coats for the bespoke paint jobs and six layers for the "naked" carbon fiber elements. "Between every step the work is controlled precisely, every coat is applied, grinded and polished by hand;" and that's only the final step.
It takes 20 technicians to assemble the more than 1,800 components needed to complete a car, and only five cars can be worked on at any one time. "Machines merely assist with installing or complying precise values, like the prescribed tightening torque for titanium screws," Bugatti notes.
"Bugatti hyper sport cars are not comparable to any other automobile, not in power, speed, materials and quality," declares Christophe Piochon, Bugatti's Manager of Production and Logistics. "It starts with the choice of materials here in the Atelier. The way we produce our models by creating an individual hand-made product in this special atmosphere makes us unique. This is the haute couture of the automobile world."