BUY­ING A BUGATTI

Just how do you go about buy­ing a hypercar? We visit Bugatti’s Lon­don show­room to spec a Ch­i­ron of our own

Evo - - CONTENTS FEATURES - by STU­ART GAL­LAGHER

Bugatti claims the Ch­i­ron doesn’t need to be ‘sold’. Nev­er­the­less,

evo vis­its the mar­que’s Lon­don show­room to ‘ build’ our own car

YOU KNOW THE SCORE WITH BUY­ING THE lat­est must-have high-per­for­mance car. You ei­ther need to be a blood rel­a­tive of the com­pany CEO or be pre­pared to al­low the dealer’s sales di­rec­tor to drink your wine col­lec­tion and hang your art in his small­est room. Oh, and if his kid is looking for a prom date, he can take one of your off­spring – and you’ll have to pick up the bill for the chop­per so they can ar­rive in style, too. Then and only then will he in­struct the re­cep­tion­ist to al­low you be­yond the cof­fee ma­chine and the copies of Vogue to sit out­side his of­fice, feel­ing like a fifth-for­mer who has been spot­ted chal­leng­ing the ge­og­ra­phy teacher to a round of Jäger­bombs.

Even if you make it this far, chances are you’ll be told you still can’t have the car you’ve saved for, lusted over and promised your­self be­cause, de­spite all the hoops you’ve jumped through, you aren’t deemed a spe­cial cus­tomer. Not that any­one knows what the cri­te­ria is to be­come a spe­cial cus­tomer these days, but it’s prob­a­bly eas­ier to be­come a Freema­son than it is to be­come some­one con­sid­ered wor­thy enough to buy the same new car as a Youtube vlog­ger. They will, of course, sell you a used example at a pre­mium…

And how much harder must it be to ac­quire an example of one of the most ex­pen­sive, most pow­er­ful and fastest pro­duc­tion cars cur­rently on sale? There must surely be a sur­geon on hand to re­move the re­quired limbs sim­ply to gain ac­cess to the show­room…

Not quite. You do have to ring a door­bell at Bugatti’s May­fair show­room, but all it takes is a quick press and a mo­ment or two be­fore the re­cep­tion­ist opens the door and wel­comes you in. No ap­point­ment, no pre-ar­ranged qual­i­fy­ing in­ter­view. No or­gans left at the door or off­spring of­fered to the staff. Sim­ply ring the bell and be wel­comed into the sur­real world where £2mil­lion-plus hy­per­cars are sold. And don’t fret that you’ll be in the way, for the Bru­ton Street show­room wel­comes as many as 500 walk-ins ev­ery month.

‘It’s a cliché, but we don’t need to “sell” a Bugatti,’ says Anita Krizsan, Bugatti brand di­rec­tor in the UK. ‘When a cus­tomer walks in, they have al­ready bought the car in their mind. They have come to us to help them make it a re­al­ity.’ With 500 Chi­rons set to be built and the list price start­ing at £2.1mil­lion plus taxes, you’d ex­pect there to be a bit of sales job to do, but seem­ingly not.

‘Fifty per cent of the cus­tomers we’ve taken or­ders for in Europe are new cus­tomers to Bugatti,’ Krizsan con­tin­ues. ‘When the Vey­ron was launched, they weren’t in the mar­ket for that kind of car, for var­i­ous rea­sons. Now they can have a Ch­i­ron and, while they’re wait­ing for their car to be built and de­liv­ered, they will buy a used Vey­ron.’ As you do.

Then there are the cus­tomers, six of them so far, who have or­dered a Ch­i­ron to a rel­a­tively ‘stan­dard’ spec­i­fi­ca­tion that al­lows for quick de­liv­ery and have then re­turned to spend rather longer on the con­fig­u­ra­tor to or­der a car more closely aligned to their de­sired spec. And not for­get­ting the cus­tomer who took de­liv­ery of a

Ch­i­ron on a Fri­day and or­dered an­other first thing Mon­day morn­ing.

So what’s the process to or­der­ing a Ch­i­ron? What goes through the mind of a typ­i­cal cus­tomer? And what hap­pens when you let a car hack go through the steps?

‘It’s very dif­fer­ent for ev­ery cus­tomer,’ ex­plains Krizsan. ‘Some will take an hour to choose their spec­i­fi­ca­tion and it will be very per­sonal to them; oth­ers will take six months and the whole fam­ily will be in­volved.’ It took me all of 30 min­utes, but then I’m a sim­ple man lack­ing in imag­i­na­tion.

‘Some cus­tomers like to have their car very sim­i­lar or as close as pos­si­ble to the spec­i­fi­ca­tion the car was launched in. Oth­ers will want be­spoke colours and trim through­out, which we can do, though any unique ma­te­ri­als re­quested have to go to the fac­tory to be tested just like any other part fit­ted to the car. If you want us to paint the car in a colour that’s unique to you, we can, but it will add to the build time while the fac­tory finds a suit­able sup­plier and it passes all of our qual­ity con­trol tests.’

I sus­pect that most of you will have played with the con­fig­u­ra­tor on Bugatti’s web­site, scrolling through the colours on of­fer. If you’re a cus­tomer sit­ting on one of the leather chairs in the show­room, you get to do the same, but on a con­fig­u­ra­tor of­fer­ing much greater de­tail and one that you’ll have ac­cess to from any­where in the world once you’ve started the or­der process.

‘Many cus­tomers have a clear idea of how they would like their Ch­i­ron to look,’ says Art Katal­lozi, brand co-or­di­na­tor at Bugatti in Lon­don, ‘and I’m here to show them their ideas on the con­fig­u­ra­tor and help them re­alise their goals.

‘Some­times a cus­tomer may be in two minds about a body colour, or which con­trast­ing colour goes with their main colour. Or should it be two-tone at all?’ Ap­par­ently, 95 per cent of Vey­rons were fin­ished with two-tone paint, but a sim­i­lar pro­por­tion of Chi­rons are be­ing fin­ished in a sin­gle colour.

‘Or it could be a wheel fin­ish, in­te­rior colour for the seats or the car­pets, or maybe the stitch­ing in the steer­ing wheel they are un­de­cided on,’ con­tin­ues Katal­lozi. ‘We are able to show them ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. Some­times a cus­tomer will re­vert back to their orig­i­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tion; oth­ers will leave hav­ing or­dered a Ch­i­ron in a spec­i­fi­ca­tion they had never con­sid­ered, and per­haps never would.’

Once you’re in the or­der­ing process, which does in­volve the grubby sub­ject of money – un­avoid­able even at this level, it would seem – there are fac­tory vis­its for ev­ery cus­tomer (and their fam­ily) and, of course, the test drive. Well, you’d want to ex­pe­ri­ence a 1479bhp car be­fore you took de­liv­ery, wouldn’t you? As you’d imag­ine, it’s no or­di­nary demo, with fac­tory test driver Loris Bioc­chi or one of his col­leagues, per­haps Le Mans win­ner Andy Wal­lace, demon­strat­ing ex­actly what such power feels like be­fore hand­ing over to the cus­tomer.

Then you wait. If you or­dered to­day, you could ex­pect de­liv­ery around this time in 2019, with a Ch­i­ron cur­rently tak­ing six to nine months to build, de­pend­ing on the spec. And then all that’s left to de­cide is whether to have your lat­est hypercar de­liv­ered to your home for a very pri­vate han­dover, or whether you’d pre­fer to press the show­room’s door­bell once more.

‘Some cus­tomers take six months to choose their spec and the whole fam­ily will be in­volved’

PHOTOGR A PH Y by M A LCOL M GR IFFITHS

Be­low and right: the prob­lem with let­ting the ed­i­tor spec a car is that he has no imag­i­na­tion. If it’s not grey with a black in­te­rior, it’s Bri­tish Rac­ing Green with a tan in­te­rior. Which is ex­actly what he went for when or­der­ing a Ch­i­ron. Bot­tom: brand co-or­di­na­tor Art Katal­lozi takes Gal­lagher through the con­fig­u­ra­tion process

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