“Neither our equipment nor our procedures can be compared with those of other car plants.”Christophe Piochon, Member of the Bugatti Board of Management, responsible for Production and Logistics
Bugatti Chiron production is gathering speed. Sort of. Actually, it takes an average of six months for 20 Bugatti employees to hand-build each of the world’s most powerful and fastest hypercar from more than 1,800 individual parts! Twelve cars are currently taking shape in the French luxury brand’s production facility, the so called “Atelier” at the company’s headquarters. Delivery of the first vehicles is expected to be in the first quarter of 2017. Up to 70 cars will be built each year.
Many modifications to the facility at Molsheim were made for the assembly of the Chiron to take account of its higher performance and the generally more complex nature of the new product and its production process. Molsheim, France, with a population of less than 10,000, has been the home of Bugatti since the company was founded in 1909.
Much work is required on each Chiron before it’s ready for delivery. The first step is vehicle configuration, which is a joint effort between Bugatti designer and customer. Each Bugatti is unique and is manufactured in accordance with the customer’s personal wishes. Personalising is a top priority for Bugatti. 23 topcoat colours and eight carbon variants form the basic range for the exterior. In the interior, customers can choose from leather in 31 different colours or Alcantara in eight colours, as well as 30 stitching, 18 carpet and 11 belt colours. In addition to this basic range, thousands of other colours are possible. There are also many other design options such as logos or initials on the bottom of the rear spoiler or embroidery on the headrest and leather inlays on the central console. With its customising program “La Maison Pur Sang“, Bugatti is in a position to meet a customer’s every wish. Only when the customer has signed off the configuration does production planning start.
Christophe Piochon, Member of the Bugatti Board of Management responsible for Production and Logistics, watches over production, making sure that all processes run smoothly and there are no hitches. “Here in Molsheim, we have a small factory with a small warehouse. Neither our equipment nor our procedures can be compared with those of other car plants,” says the 40-year-old mechanical engineer, who worked in quality assurance with the Volkswagen Group before joining Bugatti. “’Just-in-time’ has a very special dimension for Bugatti,” he adds.
Before the Chiron leaves the Atelier for the first time on its test drive, the electronic functions of the vehicle are tested and the track of the wheels is adjusted. By the way, Bugatti does not use the original wheels and underbody on the test drive to ensure that these parts are protected against wear and damage. During the test drive, the Chiron is driven 300 km through the Vosges to the airport in Colmar, where it completes test of functions requiring speeds in excess of 250 km/h on the runway. The return trip is covered at a more “relaxed” pace on the Autobahn to allow the vehicle to cool down. If the test driver gives the Chiron the thumbs up following the trip, the transmission oil is changed and the original wheels and underbody are installed in the Atelier. The car then completes a last test drive over 50 km before final dynamic approval is given.
Usually, the customer will already have visited Molsheim several times by then. Following a test drive in a demonstration vehicle, the signature of the contract and the configuration of their own personal Chiron, customers welcome the opportunity to witness the creation of their vehicle personally during production in the Atelier. Those, who really want to, can even spend a day working on their own sports car.
16-cylinder, W configuration; 4 turbochargers with 2-stage turbocharging
1,500 hp; 1,180 lb-ft of torque
Below 2.5 seconds
420 km/h (electronically limited)