It was 2007 that Mate Rimac built his first EV; the engine of his E30 3 Series blew up, so he decided to use his expertise in electronics to replace internal combustion with battery power. You can see it in action here. Now, less than a decade and a half later, Rimac Automobili is creating a new company with Bugatti as its core partner - that's some journey.
Bugatti Rimac d.o.o (or LLC in English) with have Mate Rimac its helm, the Croatian becoming CEO of the new Rimac Group, which will also comprise Rimac Techonology - an independent entity that contains the firm's extensive third-party work. The Rimac Group will enjoy a 55 per cent stake in the new venture, while Porsche retains a 24 per cent stake in the Group and accounts for the remaining 45 per cent share in Bugatti Rimac. Hyundai still has 12 per cent of Rimac Group, Mate Rimac himself 37 per cent and other investors 27 per cent. Bugatti Rimac will begin trading as a new combined entity from the fourth quarter of this year.
So those are the numbers - what will Bugatti Rimac do? Though both brands will remain separate entities with different production facilities and distribution channels, plainly the new company will play a significant role in deciding the direction of future product. "Joining resources and expertise in research and development, production and other areas" is how the press release puts it; Rimac helping Bugatti to build the Chiron's replacement would be another.
Certainly Bugatti will need assistance from Rimac as it makes its transition to the electric era - although, going in the other direction, who couldn't learn a thing or two about creating hypercars from Bugatti? It sounds like a match made in heaven. Or a tad more poetically: "uniting Rimac's technical expertise and lean operations with Bugatti's 110-year heritage of design and engineering prowess, represents a fusion of leading automotive minds." Well, quite.
While Rimac and Bugatti will continue with their respective projects for now, the new start-up will be based at the Rimac Campus, the Group's new headquarters just outside Zagreb; due to open in 2023, it will eventually house 2,500 people across Bugatti Rimac and Rimac Technology. We're told to expect innovations from the Group to be deployed in future Bugattis and Rimacs.
Mate Rimac said of the announcement: "This is a truly exciting moment in the short, yet rapidly expanding history of Rimac Automobili. We have gone through so much in such a short space of time, but this new venture takes things to a completely new level...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." Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of Porsche's executive board, put it even more succinctly: "Today is a good day for Bugatti, Porsche and the entire Volkswagen Group." Given what the Croatian firm has achieved in such a short space of time, that excitement is easy to understand. Moreover, given how quickly both the industry and Rimac are instigating change, don't be surprised if there's fresh news very soon.
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