Yesterday was a historic day for the Croatian electric hypercar manufacturer , Rimac Automobili. They joined forces with Porsche AG, including Volswagen’s Bugatti brand, to create a hypercar manufacturer. Mate Rimac will lead the joint venture, with The Rimac Group as the major shareholder (55% stake) and Porsche AG owning the rest. Bugatti shares will be transferred into the new group.
Originally founded in 2011 and currently headquartered in Zagreb, Croatia, Rimac combines a passion for automotive with the vision to create high-performance cars for the electric transition. Back then, Mate Rimac set out to build the most powerful electric hypercar, after his combustion-engined 1984 BMW E30 blew during a race.
“The story of Rimac Automobili is a story of beating all odds in spite of enormous challenges, an impossibly ambitious vision and many near-death experiences. It is also a story with great potential to grow beyond what we believe is possible, and l have made it my life’s mission to take it there,” Mate Rimac, founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili, says on the company’s website. Matt grew up loving engineering and testing limit after limit, characteristics that remain at the core of the business.
Just 10 years later, Rimac is a technology powerhouse of nearly 1000 people that designs, engineers and produces hypercars and EV components for the global automotive industry. The company creates core EV systems, from power-dense drivetrain systems to advanced autonomous driving and infotainment technologies.
Earlier this year, Porsche raised its stake in Rimac Automobili up to 24% from 15%, after first joining as an investor in 2018. Rimac has been a strategic partner for Porsche, especially when it comes to supplying innovative series components.
How will the Bugatti-Rimac joint venture work?
The Rimac Group will continue to innovate within the new joint venture, developing the hypercars of the future under the Rimac and Bugatti brands. Rimac’s business with battery systems, drivetrains and other EV components will be separated into a new entity, Rimac Technology, 100% controlled by the Rimac Group.
The joint venture called Bugatti-Rimac will be based in Zagreb, starting the fourth quarter of 2021. Bugatti models will continue to be produced in Molsheim, France. The two brands will continue to operate independently.
In time, Bugatti Rimac’s global HQ will be situated in the same place as Rimac Technology, at the Rimac Campus, due to open in 2023. The €200M, 100,000 square metres campus will serve as the base for all R&D of future Rimac and Bugatti hypercars. The site will see over 2,500 people collaborate on developing high-tech innovation and pushing automotive tech to the next level.
The venture will continue production in the limited series of the Rimac Nevera, Rimac’s flagship electric hypercar, and Bugatti Chiron, a gasoline V16-powered hypercar. Over time, the partnership will most likely add hybrid and fully electric Bugatti models, as well as help accelerate Porsche’s own EV portfolio.
For more insights into how the EV manufacturing ecosystem in the SEE is developing, check out our story on Romania’s automotive innovation hub.