The Mol­sheim Dream Fac­tory

Peek­ing into the Bu­gatti Ch­i­ron pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity

Golf Asia (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

Tucked within a his­tor­i­cal re­gion in north­east­ern France on the Rhine River plain is the Mol­sheim fa­cil­ity, home to Bu­gatti since it was founded in

1909. This year, Bu­gatti is mak­ing au­to­mo­bile fan­tasies come to life with its lat­est Ch­i­ron models – fully cus­tomised ac­cord­ing to the cus­tomer’s pref­er­ence. Per­son­al­is­ing has al­ways been a top pri­or­ity for the brand and it is what makes them stand out from other lux­ury su­per cars in the mar­ket.

The ba­sic ex­te­rior range in­cludes 23 top­coat colours and eight car­bon vari­ants, while the in­te­rior sup­ports 31 leather op­tions or eight al­cantra leather colours, to­gether with 30 types of stitch­ings, 18 car­pets and 11 belts to choose from. Thou­sands of other colours are avail­able should the client choose some­thing more elab­o­rate, for ex­am­ple, to match their favourite hand­bag or the la­bel on a pre­ferred brand of min­eral wa­ter. In ad­di­tion, other de­sign op­tions such as lo­gos or ini­tials can be added at the bot­tom of the rear spoiler or em­broi­dered onto the

head­rest and leather in­lays on the cen­tral con­sole – pro­vid­ing it meets Bu­gatti’s high qual­ity re­quire­ments. This “La Mai­son Pur Sang” cus­tomis­ing pro­gramme en­sures that the brand is able to cater to ev­ery wish and de­mand pos­si­ble.

The ve­hi­cles are only pro­duced af­ter all cus­tomi­sa­tion is con­firmed and takes ap­prox­i­mately six months be­fore the pro­duc­tion slots are be­ing al­lo­cated to the car. Once the parts ar­rive in Mol­sheim, it is time for assem­bly, be­gin­ning with the bodyshell be­ing at­tached to the mono­coque and chas­sis sub­struc­ture to en­sure that it fits per­fectly. Once done, that will then trans­fer to a paint shop where it takes about three weeks to ap­ply the var­i­ous coats of paint. Bu­gatti is world renowned for its vis­i­ble car­bon fi­bre and diver­sity of colours, which com­prises six lay­ers. For the top coat, it is an ad­di­tional eight lay­ers de­pend­ing on the type of fin­ish – uni, metal­lic or pearles­cent. This ex­tremely time-con­sum­ing process is all hand­crafted, from paint­ing to sand­ing and even­tu­ally pol­ish­ing, layer af­ter layer.

Christophe Pio­chon, a mem­ber of the Bu­gatti Board of Man­age­ment is re­spon­si­ble for Pro­duc­tion and Lo­gis­tics, and watches over pro­duc­tion, mak­ing sure that all pro­cesses run smoothly and that 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.

The pro­duc­tion build­ing is named “Ate­lier” by Bu­gatti, and cov­ers a floor area of 1,000sqm in all. It was in­au­gu­rated in 2005 and has an oval con­fig­u­ra­tion, based on the French brand’s logo, the Bu­gatti “Mac­aron”. It was de­signed by the fa­mous ar­chi­tect Pro­fes­sor Gunter Henn from Mu­nich and has been pro­duc­ing no­table au­to­mo­biles for the past decade, in­clud­ing the Vey­ron 16.4 and its de­riv­a­tives. For the Ch­i­ron, many mod­i­fi­ca­tions were made in the Ate­lier. Ex­te­rior com­po­nents are pre-as­sem­bled in the tech­nol­ogy cen­tre within the plant be­fore sub­jected to ini­tial in­spec­tions. A sig­nif­i­cant change of the Ate­lier is the floor­ing, made from epoxy as it is con­duc­tive and en­sures the dis­si­pa­tion of any elec­tro­static charges. The re­flect­ing glossy white also cre­ates an at­mos­phere com­pa­ra­ble with the cat­walk of a fash­ion house. “We are build­ing a su­per sports car. That is quite clear,” says Christophe Pio­chon. “But it is the way we do it, hand-craft­ing an in­di­vid­ual prod­uct for each cus­tomer in this very spe­cial at­mos­phere, that makes us unique. This is ‘Haute Cou­ture de l’Au­to­mo­bile‘“.

There are no con­veyor belts or ro­bots found in the Ate­lier. Peo­ple, sim­i­larly to the work­shop of a For­mula One team, tend all the work­sta­tions. Al­to­gether, there are 12 main sta­tions and cus­tomers can even spend a day work­ing on their own sports car should they be in­ter­ested. Af­ter the Ch­i­ron is painted, most cus­tomers would have al­ready paid a visit to Mol­sheim to test drive a demon­stra­tion ve­hi­cle, sign the con­tract of agree­ment and wit­ness the con­fig­u­ra­tion of their per­sonal Ch­i­ron. The car even­tu­ally leaves the pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity two months af­ter, dur­ing this time, 20 em­ploy­ees would have as­sem­bled a to­tal of 1,80 in­di­vid­ual parts to cre­ate the world’s most pow­er­ful, lux­u­ri­ous and ex­clu­sive su­per car. 17 lo­gis­tic em­ploy­ees and 15 qual­ity as­sur­ance col­leagues also sup­port the process.

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