The differences are huge.
When you have enough money, just about anything can be bought. Take Lamborghinis, for example. The Italian supercar brand is more than happy to take custom orders from wealthy clients. If they have specific requests then Lamborghini will oblige. Money talks. But what about Bugatti, which like Lamborghini, is part of the Volkswagen Group. Will it also adhere to extremely rich customer requests to build one-off Bugattis and special editions? Nope. Bugatti does things differently than Lamborghini in this particular department.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Bugatti's head of exterior design Frank Heyl made clear Bugatti internally comes up with unique one-offs and/or special editions first, and only then offers them to select clients. And yes, this includes the $19 million dollar (including taxes) one-off La Voiture Noire, the most expensive production car ever made.
"To have a customer coming to say, 'I have this or that car in my mind,' that's not how we work," Heyl explained. "When you talk about coach-built cars, it goes the other way around: It has to come from us. We have an idea for something, and we say to the customer, 'Would you be interested?' Some say yes, some say no." This is information is not entirely new, as we learned at Geneva last March.
But why won't Bugatti do this the other way around, like Lamborghini does? Isn't the customer always right? Turns out there can be unexpected issues that could arise – and this is quite common in the world of ultra-exclusive coach builds. "When it is the other way around - I have also been involved in similar one-off projects, not for Bugatti- it gets very very difficult," Heyl said. "You have to be very, very disciplined in your process. Otherwise your process will explode, and your time will run out. If you are not very disciplined in that process, it will not make a business as well. After all, in the end, we have to make it work financially."
However, Bugatti is still very much willing to work with its customers when it comes to other customization opportunities. One example is La Voiture Noire's six tailpipes. The mystery buyer specifically requested this and Bugatti decided it could make it happen. Based on the massive amount of publicity the La Voiture Noire has brought Bugatti, the French carmaker appears to be keen to offer additional future one-offs, though Heyl refused to offer any details, stating only "stay tuned."