You don’t expect anything less from a company that prides itself in its exclusivity

Just as the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren are ramping up their one-off and special projects divisions, Bugatti is taking a different approach with its coach-building enterprise. The French automaker is keen on building more exclusive, coach-built models. That sits at the heart of its identity as a purveyor of luxury and super performance machines. Just don’t expect Bugatti to acquiesce to customer requests similar to what Ferrari, Lamborghini, Pagani, and a host of other exotic brands do. If Bugatti builds these models, it’s going to do it on its own terms, not someone else’s. Take this approach how you see it — is it smart or cocky in Bugatti’s part? — but you can’t argue that the automaker’s “‘for them’, not ‘by them’” approach has given rise to some of the fanciest and most expensive cars you’ll ever see. And when that’s the case, why bother fixing it?

Why Won’t Bugatti Build Cars at Customer Request?

Bugatti Won't Honor Customer Requests for Special Cars - Arrogance or Intelligence? Exterior
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There’s a reason Bugatti is one of the most exclusive automakers in the world. Part of that reason is the image and status that the automaker wants to protect. It’s not Ferrari, nor is it Lamborghini or McLaren. With respect to those automakers, Bugatti belongs in a different class altogether, usually reserved for only a handful of automakers. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why Bugatti isn’t compromising its status by giving customers a reason to go to its facility with suitcases of cash and request to make a super exclusive model to fit their needs and wants.

That works for Ferrari and Lamborghini, at least to a certain extent. But it doesn’t work for Bugatti because it has a reputation to protect.

That’s fine.

Of course, that’s not the only reason. From a capacity point of view, Bugatti can build these customer-requested one-offs if it needed to. But Bugatti, which is owned by Volkswagen, operates on a different plane than even Lamborghini, one of its sister companies and a purveyor of one-off exotics as well. Whereas the latter can rely on shared technology from the likes of Audi and Porsche, Bugatti is largely left to its own devices, right down to all the technical and mechanical pieces and equipment it uses to build its hypercars. Even if the automaker is backed by Volkswagen, those resources are finite, or at least a lot more than what Lamborghini has access to. If Bugatti’s customers can request a one-off model just because they want to, the automaker will be spending time and resources accommodating these requests.

Bugatti Won't Honor Customer Requests for Special Cars - Arrogance or Intelligence?
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Consider this: Bugatti unveiled the Divo in 2018, but deliveries won’t start until 2020.

The one-off Bugatti La Voiture Noire won’t meet its owner until 2021 and the 10-piece Centodieci won’t hit production until 2022 at the earliest.

Building these models don’t happen overnight, and Bugatti is better served to allocate its time and resources on models that it wants to build, not the ones it has to because someone with enough money to commission a one-off can pay for it.

To be clear, it’s not like Bugatti is incapable of accepting these requests. It can, and in a perfect world, it probably should. But just because it can, it doesn’t mean that it should. Pierre Rommelfanger, Bugatti’s head of one-off models and special projects talked about Bugatti’s position in a conversation with Autocar. According to Rommelfanger, Bugatti’s structure as a company makes customer-requested coach building far easier said than done. “Of course, as a designer, I could get my head easily around saying yes to [customer requests],” he said. “As an overall company structure, I think that could be something difficult for Bugatti just to make that work. Just putting one prototype-ish car together and then giving it to the people would be way too irresponsible.”

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In the end, none of this matters, at least if you look at how successful Bugatti has been in rolling out one-off models and super-exclusive exotics on its terms. The 40-unit Bugatti Divo is currently sold out, and there’s even a long waitlist of interested buyers who are ready to buy the car in the event one of the original 40 owners cancels an order for any reason.

You can even go back to the Veyron to see the way Bugatti approaches one-off and super-exclusive models. The automaker built several one-off models in the course of the Veyron’s 10-year life, but most of these one-offs, including the Bleu Centenaire, were created to celebrate special occasions. It’s the same way with the Chiron La Voiture Noire.

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It’d be irresponsible, though, to say that Bugatti has never accepted a customer commission in the past. It has. Perhaps those commissions were accepted because of a lighter production schedule. Maybe there are other reasons, too. But again, just because Bugatti has built specific customer-commission models, that doesn’t mean it’s actively accepting these offers from other customers. The automaker will continue building one-off models, in part because the aspect of coachbuilding is ingrained in Bugatti’s heritage and DNA. It will also be a part of the automaker’s future. But just because you have the money to spend, that doesn’t mean Bugatti’s going to build you a Spongebob-themed Chiron.

It’ll do it if it wants to, not if it has to.

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Bugatti Chiron Performance Specs
Bugatti Centodieci Bugatti Chiron Bugatti Divo Bugatti La Voiture Noire
Engine 8.0-liter W-16 8.0-liter W-16 8.0-liter W-16 8.0-liter W-16
Horsepower 1,600 @ 7,000 RPM 1,479 Horsepower 1,479 Horsepower 1,479 Horsepower
Torque 1180 lb-ft (est) 1180 lb-ft 1180 lb-ft 1180 lb-ft
Transmission Seven-Speed DCT Seven-Speed DCT Seven-Speed DCT Seven-Speed DCT
0-62 MPH 2.4 Seconds 2.5 Seconds 2.3 Seconds 2.4 Seconds
0-124 MPH 6.1 Seconds 6.4 Seconds 6.5 Seconds 6.4 Seconds
0-186 mph 13.1 Seconds 13.6 Seconds 13.4 Seconds (est) 13.6 Seconds
Top Speed 236 MPH 261 MPH 236 MPH 260 MPH
Weight 4356 pounds 4,400 pounds 4,323 pounds 4,300 pounds

Further Reading

Bugatti Won't Honor Customer Requests for Special Cars - Arrogance or Intelligence? Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Bugatti Centodieci.

The Buggati Chiron Sport Weighs Less, Gets Carbon Fiber Wipers and a New Exhaust Layout; Costs an Extra $1 Million Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron Sport.

2019 Bugatti Divo Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Bugatti Divo.

Bugatti Won't Honor Customer Requests for Special Cars - Arrogance or Intelligence? Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Bugatti La Voiture Noire.

Source: Autocar

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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