In a deal that was once hard to imagine, and first reported by TheDetroitBureau.com in July, Croatian upstart EV producer Rimac Automobili and the revived supercar manufacturer Bugatti Automobiles have newly formed company, Bugatti Rimac d.o.o.
The new company was officially incorporated Nov. 1 and will be headquartered in Zagreb, Croatia, as part of the Rimac Group. The deal unites a 10-year-old upstart automaker with a legendary brand with a product line dating back 110 years.
Officially, The Rimac Group will be Bugatti Rimac’s majority shareholder with a 55% stake; Mate Rimac will retain his 35% share in The Rimac Group. Porsche has a 22% stake, Hyundai Motor Group owns an 11% stake, while other investors hold the remaining 32 percent.
The new company, known as Bugatti Rimac, will be led by Mate Rimac, serving as the company’s CEO. Christophe Piochon, Bugatti’s former Director General, is the new COO, and was chosen to ensure the newly combined organization has some sense of the continuity as a brand.
Larissa Fleischer, who comes from Porsche, is Bugatti Rimac’s new Chief Financial Officer. Emilio Scervo Rimac’s Chief Technology Officer, will hold the same position at the new organization.
“I am honored to be leading this new fusion of automotive minds,” said Mate Rimac, Bugatti Rimac CEO, in a statement. “It’s difficult to find a better match than Rimac and Bugatti. What each party brings to the table in terms of technical expertise, know-how and automotive history makes for an electrifying recipe.”
What the merger means
Bugatti’s assembly plant will remain in Molsheim, France, the company said. Porsche will retain a role as a strategic partner and will supply two members to the Board of Management and two members of the Supervisory Board.
Despite the takeover, the newly merged company stated Rimac Automobili and Bugatti Automobiles will remain as unique brands with separate products. The company said development, production and supply of battery systems, drivetrains and other EV components will be produced by Rimac Technology, a new company fully owned by the Rimac Group. Mate Rimac will serve as CEO of both Bugatti Rimac and Rimac Technology.
Bugatti Rimac’s global headquarters will initially be located at Rimac’s current site on the outskirts of Zagreb, Croatia.
But the newly formed company is planning to spend €200 million, or more than $230 million, to build the Rimac Campus, which will also serve as the home of Rimac Technology, and the place where joint research and development of future Rimac Automobili and Bugatti hypercars will occur.
The planned state-of-the-art facility will eventually employ 2,500 people. Currently, Bugatti Rimac has 435 employees: 300 in Zagreb and 135 in Molsheim, France. Additionally, 180 people at Bugatti Engineering’s location in Wolfsburg, Germany will support the new company. Rimac Technology will eventually consist of more than 900 employees, with The Rimac Group totaling more than 1,300 employees, the company said.
Oliver Blume, chairman of the Board of Management at Porsche, considers the combination of the two companies to be an ideal answer. “Together, we are creating a high-performance automotive company. We have succeeded in positioning the traditional Bugatti brand with its charisma for the future in a way that creates value.”
A fabled brand gets a new chapter
The French company was founded by Italian-born industrial designer Ettore Bugatti in 1909 in Molsheim, and would become renowned for its race cars and the street car variants. But the unexpected death of Ettore’s son Jean in 1939, and the death of Ettore himself in 1947 brought an end to the company.
Approximately 8,000 cars were built. Volkswagen Group revived the brand in 1998, positioning it as the ultimate in luxury performance with plans to produce just one of the original Veyron models a week.
It plans to produce a total of just 30 copies of its newest model, the Chiron Super Sport 300+, powered by a W-16 engine that produces 1,600 horsepower and a top speed of more than 300 mph. That would put it directly into competition with Rimac’s new Nevera, which generates 1,914 horsepower from four electric motors and a reported top speed of 258 mph.