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Bugatti and Rimac to merge under Porsche-controlled joint venture

Partnership may see the end of the W16 powerplant

It seems like Rimac has saved Bugatti from going under. PHOTO FROM BUGATTI

The news that a Croatian electric car startup merges with an iconic French hypercar brand under the control of a German sports-car maker has finally come true. Rimac will merge with Bugatti and create a new joint venture called Bugatti Rimac. As the French firm is currently owned by the Volkswagen Group, the shares will be split with 55% being held by Rimac and 45% by Porsche, which will also receive the Bugatti shares from VW.

If there was ever any doubt that electric supercars will form a big part of the automotive world in the future, then this new collaboration between three true powerhouses of the high-speed universe should clear everything once and for all. Due to be formed in the fourth quarter of this year, the new company is bound to develop jaw-dropping cars and will likely save Bugatti from being closed down as Volkswagen was already thinking about what to do with the exclusive but not very profitable brand. The fresh technologies and the resources of Rimac will certainly give it a new lease on life, and even the fact that the Croatian company was only founded in 2009 and is led by a 33-year-old maverick CEO shouldn’t be an issue.

The joint venture will probably mean the end of Bugatti's piston-engine era. PHOTO FROM BUGATTI

Both Ettore Bugatti and Mate Rimac started working on their own automotive creations at a young age, and both managed to develop cars that are admired the world over. You could even argue that this development forms a natural progression for the grand old name of Bugatti. A leap into the future that doesn’t leave behind its famous past. Mate Rimac also seems to be a bit of an anti-Elon Musk. A quiet and extraordinarily talented individual who doesn’t need godlike status and blind admiration from his fans to create breathtaking machines, and his skills and passion will likely be perceived well by wealthy Bugatti customers.

So, will this mean the end of crazy 16-cylinder monsters that eat fuel and tires at frightening rates while storming toward the 500km/h barrier? Maybe. Porsche is giving Rimac full operational control, and the company founder will be the CEO of the new setup—giving him all the freedom he wants to use the EV tech he developed over the last decade. On the other hand, Bugatti has some impressive hardware sitting on the shelf, and rumors are that a 2,000hp hybrid will be the first new model to come out of Molsheim—where the marque will still be based—before a fully electric model will follow later. Whatever these three companies are doing together now, the results will certainly be spectacular, and we can’t wait to see them.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.