The company's young founder speaks his mind.
Mate Rimac was just 21 years old when he founded the company that bears his name. He's only 33 today. Not only did his latest creation, the all-electric $2.4 million Rimac Nevera hypercar, recently smash Tesla's quarter-mile record, but he also struck a major deal with the Volkswagen Group to create Bugatti-Rimac. Rimac has a 55 percent stake and VW's Porsche owns 45 percent. Porsche recently increased its stake in Rimac itself to 24 percent earlier this year.
Headquartered in Croatia, Rimac is at the forefront of battery technologies and other vital components for all-electric vehicles. Big things didn't just happen by chance for Rimac, but rather due to bold and risky decisions taken by its founder. Speaking to Automotive News, Mate Rimac admitted that "the stakes are getting bigger." Failure is not an option. Still, he's confident and playing it cool.
"I am not somebody to play it safe. Never. Not even close," he explained. "So if there is going to be some friction with our shareholders and more experienced people that come into the company, it's going to be that." Bear in mind this is the first time in the VW Group's 112-year history that it's turning over majority control of one of its most recognized and exclusive brands to another company, let alone one being run by such a young person.
No doubt it's a risk on VW's part, but Rimac has also struck technology supplier deals with the Hyundai Motor Group and Koenigsegg, the Swedish hypercar company founded by Christian von Koenigsegg, Mate Rimac's idol.
Not bad for a 12-year-old company. Rimac admitted his company is currently working on new technologies that'll find their way to "high-volume Porsches." This is mainstream technology rather than unique stuff for low-volume models. Cleary, Rimac is confident with his and his 1,000-employee company's capabilities to deliver the goods. But would happen if that doesn't happen for some reason(s)?
"I was told by our big OEM customers, if you screw up, the next day we send 30 trucks, they pick up everything, you are dead," Rimac adds. "If you screw up and you do not deliver, everything stands still, and then you are dead. You are dead." Like he also said, the stakes couldn't be higher.