If recent reports are true, Rimac - a Croatian electric vehicle startup is about to buy Bugatti - one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious sportscar brands. How could this happen?
At face value, it seems unimaginable that a car company that wasn’t even in nappies when the Veyron was busy obliterating production car records could be in a position to acquire a marque with such a wealth of heritage and a tack room lined with rosettes.
Rimac C Two
Bugatti’s current owner Volkswagen is fast-tracking its electrification and carbon-reduction strategy in the wake of dieselgate scandal, but with an 8.0-litre, quad-turbo, W16 engine at its core, the hypercar manufacturer is an awkward, ill-fit for VW’s vision.
Not only is getting rid of Bugatti easier for Volkswagen than cleaning up its act, but handing over the keys to Rimac would put the French-ish manufacturer in the hands of a company that has access to 1500kW zero-emissions drivetrains – Drinking problem cured, future secured.
If new owners Rimac slot the current electric technology from its C Two into future Bugatti models, the electric successor would be 250kW more powerful than even the most potent petrol-powered Chiron.
Bugatti Chiron Supersport
Four motors send 1427kW and 2300Nm to all four wheels for a zero-100km/h potential in less than 2.0 seconds. This could be the drivetrain that powers the world’s cleanest Bugatti to a new production car speed record.
And while the loss of a mighty marque like Bugatti is always going to sting a little, the rumoured ownership exchange would sit more comfortably with all the stakeholders than you might imagine. Porsche, which holds a 53 percent controlling share of Volkswagen, already owns a 15.5 percent stake in Rimac. In exchange for Bugatti, Rimac is offering to boost Porsche’s share to just under half (49 percent).
In simplistic terms, therefore, the current owner off-loads Bugatti for no cash but, through another of its brands, gains even more of the company that now owns it.
Rimac C One
And Rimac? If the rumoured deal goes ahead, in addition to Bugatti’s extraordinary Molsheim manufacturing facility, the 11-year old company (an infant in car industry terms) will buy into one of the richest and most storied seams of automotive history on the planet. Everyone’s a winner.
Bugatti Veyron Vitesse