It’s all change at the top of the hypercar business as Croatian start-up Rimac (b: 2009) takes control of Bugatti (b: 1909), bringing an electric version of the world’s most iconic performance car a big step closer.
The Volkswagen Group has effectively hived off Bugatti to a new company, Bugatti-Rimac, to be headquarted in Zagreb and led by Mate Rimac, 33, who began his electric-car business as a one-man band in his garage just 12 years ago. The deal confirms Rimac as a global automotive force.
It is understood no money has changed hands, but, representing the VW Group, Porsche is taking a 45 per cent share in the new company, with the Rimac Group holding 55 per cent.
Porsche chairman Oliver Blume said: “We are combining Bugatti's strong expertise in the hypercar business with Rimac’s tremendous innovative strength in the highly promising field of electric mobility.”
Bugatti-Rimac will continue to produce the Bugatti Chiron (in Molsheim, France) and the electric Rimac Nevera (in Croatia). Future Bugattis will be jointly developed but continue to be built in Molsheim. Each brand will keep its own dealers.
Mate Rimac, CEO of the new company, said Bugatti and Rimac were “a perfect match for each. This really is an exciting moment. Rimac Automobili has grown very quickly and the joint venture takes the company to a completely new level.” Porsche, along with other car companies, already owns a stake in the Rimac Group which will also now contain another new company, Rimac Technology, the part of the group that will operate as a provider of battery systems, drivetrains and other EV components to outside companies.
What will a Bugatti-Rimac car be like? Quoted in the FT, Mate Rimac likened a Bugatti to a Swiss watch and a Rimac to an Apple Watch, saying: “We can have two parallel, very distinct product lines.” Whether all-electric or, as likely in the near-term, a petrol-electric hybrid, massive performance is sure to be central.
In the world’s fastest car stakes, any new Bugatti will have to go some to beat the latest electric Rimac Nevera: it has 1,914PS (1,408kW) and can accelerate from 0-186mph in 9.3 seconds, with a top speed of 256mph.
The development of future Rimac and Bugatti hypercars models will be carried out at the Rimac Campus, due to open in Croatia in 2023. Mate Rimac said: “I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am by the potential of these two incredible brands combining knowledge, technologies and values to create some truly special projects in the future.”