Rimac, the Croatian electric car start-up, will take control of Volkswagen’s Bugatti brand in an agreement that strengthens its position as an established automotive force.
The new company will be called Bugatti Rimac and will be led by Mate Rimac, who founded the eponymous group in 2009. in his garage and has grown to become one of the most sought-after technology providers in the industry.
The company’s electrical and battery systems have found their way into cars from Aston Martin and Pininfarina to Jaguar, and VW’s Seat brand racing arm.
Being checked by an electrical specialist is also a major departure for Bugatti, which markets its hypercars on 16-cylinder engines and guttural tones.
However, the advent of battery technology has led to speeds that even the most tuned combustion vehicles are struggling to match: the next Rimac Fridge is expected to be the fastest model ever built, a title held earlier by the Bugatti Chiron.
Rimac said Bugatti would have an electric model this decade but would still produce hybrid models by the end of that period. “We can have two parallel, very distinct product lines,” Rimac said, comparing a Bugatti to a Swiss watch and a Rimac to an Apple Watch.
According to the agreement announced Monday, Rimac, backed by Porsche and Hyundai, will hold 55 percent of the new company, while VW’s Porsche brand will hold the rest.
This means that Porsche will control 58.2 percent of the final company through its existing shares in Rimac if its Rimac stake is included, even if the companies said the carmaker did not. not to mention the operation of the combined unit. No money has changed hands for the deal, Porsche boss Oliver Blume said Monday.
It also brings Rimac further under the umbrella of VW as the German company undertakes a € 35 billion power boost, although the Croatian company will turn its business unit building technology into other vehicle manufacturers.
Both Bugatti and Rimac will continue to develop their brands, and while Bugatti production will remain in France, all their research will go to Rimac’s new headquarters in Croatia.
Mate Rimac, 32, owns 37 percent of the company, resulting in a 20.4 percent stake in the new Bugatti Rimac group.
“Rimac and Bugatti are a perfect match in terms of what each brings to the table. As a young, agile and fast-paced automotive and technology company, we have established ourselves as an industry pioneer in electrical technology.” , he said.
He added that the activity of hypercar “should be self-sufficient and profitable on its own.”
On Monday, Porsche’s local rival Daimler confirmed that it will group three of its luxury brands – AMG, G-Class and Maybach – into a single commercial unit this fall, to position itself more effectively in the “luxury segment”. and performance is paramount. “
Porsche’s decision to put Bugatti into a joint venture will raise hopes among VW investors that similar assets in the group, which are increasingly out of step with the company’s attempt to lead the electrical transformation, will be pushed or sold.
Last December, following a meeting between VW chief Herbert Diess and powerful German unions, the company’s supervisory board said there was “an agreement on board that Lamborghini and Ducati would remain part of the Volkswagen Group”.
In May, Volkswagen turned down a € 7.5 trillion bid for Lamborghini from a Swiss-based investment vehicle driven by Rea Stark, who also founded an electric vehicle start-up with Toni Piech, the elder’s son. VW chair.
But pressure from capital markets to cede these brands has been growing. “The message is‘ forget the games, ’” said someone familiar with the discussions between VW and investors.