Breaking news : Rimac set to purchase Bugatti
2020 is getting crazier by the minute
VW Group is reportedly moments away from selling Bugatti to Croatian manufacturer Rimac Automobili. This is part of the Group's effort to keep the company in tune with the times by developing new technologies and it is also the result of a rather intricate sequence of corporate decisions within the group.
VW Group did a great job with Bugatti. In 1998, they acquired the rights to the brand from Bugatti Automobili, a defunct company, founded a new company with a slightly different name (Bugatti Automobiles) and 20-odd years later, they've got a credible hypercar brand with an entire line-up of high-performance vehicles.
As the car world continues to transition towards all-electric mobility, car groups and manufacturers have to find ways to stay profitable while also developing new technologies that are extremely expensive and, whether we like it or not, inevitable. This move is made possible by the fact that VW owns, controls or has shares in a considerable number of brands and that's how they're going to be able to cut ties Bugatti while also maintaining support from the Piech family, which owns 50 percent of controlling interesting in the group, because by off-loading Bugatti to Rimac, they're automatically involving Porsche in the deal.
The deal hasn't been finalised yet so anything can happen. Having said that, it looks like Bugatti is going to be transferred to Rimac, which is partially controlled by Porsche that uses Rimac powertrains for the Taycan, in exchange for a bigger share in Rimac. Now, the Croatian electric car and battery manufacturer isn't yet publicly traded but it looks like it is going to happen at some point because it is growing at an astounding rate. While most brands prioritize the actual vehicle and fail because they're hit by the sheer cost of developing e-powertrains, Rimac built their success (and their cars) around battery technology, and precisely because they did that other companies started throwing money at them. I'm sure Wall Street business analysts wouldn't put it like that but that's what happened.
Rimac has regularly found itself on the receiving end of funding and investments over the last few years, the last funding round was worth €500m, and Camel Group (Chinese manufacturing company), Kia, Hyundai and of course Porsche wanted a piece of the action and acquired shares of the company. It's just a matter of time before Rimac goes public and even though it's hard to assess the actual value because there's no IPO yet, it's likely to be very high and when that happens, the idea is that VW wants to have a piece of that pie.
Corporate dynamics aside, this probably means that Rimac is going to utilise its 1,900+ hp powertrain that powers the C_TWO but it also means that Rimac is probably going to use Bugatti's factory to build more cars in general terms. Bugattis aren't exactly common but in terms of production capacity, they're still doing better than Rimac.
Mate Rimac, founder and owner of the company says they're focusing on performance and he says that Rimac's powertrain systems have "the highest power density, and the highest energy density. If you need to have as much power in as little space as possible, you come to us".
VW has been spent the last twenty or so years building the eponymous group and whatever else you may think of their vehicles, each brand they own has thrived under their tenure. They've revamped Bentley, Bugatti and Škoda, turned CUPRA into a standalone brand and it's doing so well that they're actually thinking of merging SEAT with CUPRA and the latter is due to become to lead marque. There had also been rumours about Lamborghini but things are changing very rapidly.