The sold-out Centodieci, unveiled during California's Monterey Car Week, reaffirmed Bugatti’s commitment to modern coachbuilding. It was created for collectors, not by them, and the car maker won’t deviate from this approach. Pierre Rommelfanger, Bugatti’s head of one-off and few-off projects, told Autocar why.
Rommelfanger and his team travel to car-related events around the world to meet Bugatti’s most important customers and listen to their feedback. These conversations often provide the company with inspiration, but Rommelfanger stressed that his team ultimately decides what to build. He wants to ensure each one-off or few-off project fits squarely into Bugatti’s strategy.
He ruled out taking requests from clients. So even the wealthiest collector can’t travel to Molsheim with a suitcase full of money and drive home in the four-door, Dakar-ready Chiron Sport of his or her dreams. Achim Anscheidt, Bugatti’s head designer, echoed Rommelfanger’s comments.
“Of course, as a designer, I could get my head easily around saying yes to [customer requests]. 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,” he told us. “So that sounds exotic and flamboyant, but it’s actually, in reality, easier said than done.”
Bugatti claims it has no trouble putting the one-off and few-off cars it designs in private collections. Its customers are loyal. They buy a car without first driving it, knowing they’ll have to wait at least two years for delivery, and they fully trust that the brand will exceed their expectations.
Demand eclipses supply so the company routinely turns buyers away. Rommelfanger revealed there is a line of collectors ready to buy a Divo in case one of the 40 original reservation holders cancels an order for any reason.
Bugatti presented the Divo in 2018 and it unveiled two special projects in 2019 to celebrate its 110th birthday. Rommelfanger said it will be difficult to maintain this pace in the coming years. “Now we need to bring these cars to customers,” he said. The firm will begin Divo deliveries in 2020. The La Voiture Noire will head to its new home in 2021 and Centodieci production will start in 2022.
That’s not to rule out additional special projects. Rommelfanger believes coachbuilding is an important part of Bugatti’s heritage and an equally significant part of its future. The fact that it recently managed to sell 51 one-off and few-off cars based on the Chiron proves it’s well positioned to put a modern spin on the decades-old coachbuilding industry.