Bugatti explains its extremely complex painting process, which takes as long as other luxury manufacturers to produce four to five complete cars
(Motorsport-Total.com/Motor1) – Manual labor has largely disappeared from automobile production. Well, sometimes even a high-volume manufacturer like BMW gets out of its way, as with the new 3.0 CSL (we’ve linked the article on the production of the strictly limited M-car for you below). But actually only a few super-luxury manufacturers take their time.
Bugatti is one of them. The French are often cited as a prime example of true craftsmanship. And of course they also like to talk often about how complex their methods are when they manufacture the Chiron (now buy used Bugatti Chiron cars) and its derivatives. Now we are granted an insight into the more than complex painting process of the hypercar.
To reiterate the big number in the headline – yes, it really takes around 600 hours to paint every car that is built at the Molsheim plant. And it is applied entirely by hand.
To put the numbers in perspective, according to Bugatti, a traditional luxury automaker (not a mainstream automaker) builds four to five cars from A to Z. With a new Bugatti, each individual part is individually painted and not pre-assembled on the car, so that each surface can be given the best possible finish.
Before the first layer of paint, clear coat or primer can be applied, a lot of preparatory work has to be done. In-house specialists inspect every part and examine it for the tiniest bumps. Again without machines. A good eye and instinct are required.
A first coat of primer is then applied as a base, which is then sanded to a smooth and even finish before a second coat of primer is applied.
This preparation alone takes more than 100 hours per car. However, the surfaces are still a long way from being paintable. Now follows a seemingly endless spiral that includes the application of clear coat and subsequent sanding. Bugatti calls the whole thing “a lovingly detailed work, never rushed, but always carefully executed and devotedly polished”. Only when all panels have perfect surfaces can the specialists move on to the next step. This is still not the final paint job.
The team is now analyzing each panel individually because different types of material are used for the body. Each of them has its own characteristics in terms of paintwork. If even the tiniest difference in color tone is detected between two parts, it will be repainted.
And once the car has been painted according to the specifications – eight coats of paint are applied – there are still around four days of polishing work to follow. Bugatti says they have the most complex polishing process in the entire auto industry. All in all, painting a new Bugatti takes between 600 and 700 hours.
Christophe Piochon, President of Bugatti Automobiles, says: “Ettore Bugatti was a man who believed in the beauty of automotive engineering. For Ettore, who came from a family of artists, automobiles were like his canvas long before they were considered works of art. Bugatti cultivates this ethos still today and it shows in the claim that every aspect of design and production is accomplished with a dedication to aesthetic perfection, an approach that of course also applies to our paintwork.”