When you think of automotive manufacturing, robots building cars are probably what springs to mind.
And generally that’s the case, as automakers push to reduce their production costs.
But there’s a few brands out there still doing things by hand, Bugatti being one of them.
Of course, being as exotic and exclusive demands a premium.
That explains why the Chiron comes with an eight-figure price tag and why maintenance is so expensive.
But when you see the craftsmanship that goes into their supercars, you can understand why.
The French automaker is prone to bragging about the complex methods it uses when building the Chiron and its derivatives.
In a press release from earlier this year, Bugatti detailed the paint processes it uses – and they’re beyond comprehension.
Believe it or not, but it actually takes hundreds of hours for each Bugatti car assembled at its Molsheim factory to be painted, which is done entirely by hand.
To put that into perspective, that’s the same amount of time a traditional luxury car manufacturer – not a mainstream one – would take to build four or five cars from beginning to end.
If that’s how long it takes for a regular Bugatti to be painted, it doesn’t even bear thinking about how long it took to create the Bugatti Golden Era.
Unlike mass-production automakers, Bugatti actually paints each component individually and not installed on the car itself.
The reason being – so that every surface can receive the best possible finish.
But even before the first layer of paint, clear coat, or primer is applied, specialists thoroughly inspect for minuscule pits.
No machines or robots are involved here – just the natural eye checking for imperfections and the sensitive touch of the specialists’ hands.
Next up, two layers of primer are applied with a detailed sand in between.
These preparations take 100 hours alone and even at this point, the surfaces aren’t ready to be painted.
What happens next is a seemingly endless spiral of more clear coating and sanding, clear coating again, and then sanding begins again.
Bugatti describes it as “a labor of love, never rushed but always carefully applied and devotedly polished.”
Only when all the car’s panels have perfect surfaces can the specialists move to the next stage – but it’s not the final painting.
Before that can happen, the team analyzes each panel individually.
They have to do this as Bugatti Automobiles uses several different material types across the body, each with its own painting characteristics.
Should there be the slightest difference in shades between two details recognized, a repaint is needed.
When the full car is sprayed to perfection, four more days are needed to polish the car to within an inch of its life, which Bugatti says is the most complex polishing process in the entire industry.
We don’t doubt it for one minute.
All in all, from beginning to end, painting a new Bugatti takes between 600 and 700 hours.