Bugatti Merges with Croatian EV Hypercar Startup Rimac, Becoming Bugatti-Rimac

  • Croatian EV startup Rimac takes control of Bugatti, merging its new hypercar-making operation with the 112-year-old marque and acquiring a 55 percent stake in the new Bugatti-Rimac.
  • Cars from the two brands will be badged and built separately, but future Bugattis will share Rimac’s high-performance electric drivetrains.
  • Porsche takes the remaining 45 percent stake in Bugatti-Rimac on behalf of Volkswagen and also retains its 24 percent share in the Rimac Group.

    Croatian EV startup Rimac will take control of Bugatti within the next three months, it has been confirmed. The long-rumored move will see the hypercar maker, which was founded in 2009 and to date has delivered only a handful of cars, take majority ownership of a marque established a century earlier and with one of the most illustrious histories in the automotive world.

    Bugatti will merge with Rimac’s hypercar business, which makes the Nevera (pictured above), to create a new company, Bugatti-Rimac. The two brands’ cars will continue to be developed and badged separately. Rimac will hold a 55 percent stake in the new entity, which will begin to trade in the current quarter. Porsche, which has been given responsibility for Bugatti by their joint parent Volkswagen, will hold the remainder.

    Sources close to the deal say that talks began two years ago when the Volkswagen Group approached Rimac to supply components for a new, hybrid version of the Chiron. Rimac offered to develop an entirely new car with a hybrid powertrain featuring a naturally aspirated engine at a lower cost. Instead of buying the bulk of the new car’s engineering value from Rimac, Volkswagen decided to offer Rimac a merger. The sources said VW had been considering shuttering the marque rather than commit the investment required to make it fully electric in time.

    As part of the deal, Rimac Automobili will be renamed the Rimac Group and will hold the majority share in its new Bugatti-Rimac subsidiary. Shareholdings in the new Group remain unchanged. Mate Rimac, the company’s 33-year-old founder, has the largest stake at 37 percent. Porsche is the second-largest shareholder, having built a 24 percent share in Rimac Automobili over the past three years. Hyundai is third with 12 percent.

    A new, separate business named Rimac Technology and wholly owned by the Rimac Group will continue to develop and sell high-performance EV powertrains and autonomous driving systems to major carmakers. It has already completed around 30 such projects and is working with at least 10 major carmakers, including its two OEM shareholders as well as Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin.

    Bugatti’s headquarters in Molsheim, France.


    With its 45 percent holding in the Bugatti-Rimac and existing 24 percent stake in the Rimac Group, Porsche will indirectly still own the majority of the new merged entity, and it acquires the same share in Rimac’s existing, record-breaking Nevera and its future hypercars. It won’t have operational control, however, with Mate Rimac becoming CEO of all three companies.

    Rimac-branded cars will continue to be built in Croatia. The company will be moving to a spectacular new $240 million “campus” near the capital, Zagreb, in 2023. Bugattis will still be assembled at the company’s château and atelier in Molsheim, eastern France, where it was established in 1909. Both brands will use powertrains developed and made by Rimac Technology in Croatia.

    Bugatti has been reborn twice before: once when bought by Romano Artioli in 1987, resulting in the EB110 of 1991, and again when acquired by Volkswagen in 1998, with the Veyron going into production in 2005.

    The idea of Bugatti being gifted to such a young entrepreneur and his relatively unproven startup may cause raised eyebrows among Bugatti customers and aficionados. But there are plenty of parallels between Mate Rimac and Ettore Bugatti. Rimac got his start at age 20, when he bolted an electric motor from a forklift truck into his old BMW 3-series. Bugatti did something similar at age 17, fitting a combustion engine to a pedal tricycle. By 20 he’d designed and shown his first car and, like Rimac, licensed his first designs to existing carmakers.

    Announcing the deal, Porsche chairman Oliver Blume said, “We are combining Bugatti’s strong expertise in the hypercar business with Rimac’s tremendous innovative strength in the highly promising field of electromobility. Bugatti is contributing a tradition-rich brand, iconic products, a loyal customer base, and a global dealer network to the joint venture. In addition to technology, Rimac is contributing new development and organizational approaches.”

    “We have gone through so much in such a short space of time,” Mate Rimac added. “But this new venture takes things to a completely new level.”

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