Rimac is ready to take over the world's fastest brand.
The automotive world is no stranger to boardroom dealings, with brands being bought and sold on a continual basis, like FCA and Groupe PSA joining forces to create Stellantis, or Ferrari going standalone. Most recently, we've seen GM get in on the electric action with a $2 billion stake in Nikola Motors. But according to Car Magazine UK, the latest victim of boardroom antics is Bugatti - the famed French automaker responsible for world-record-setting models like the Veyron and, more recently, the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+.
According to the British publication, the VW Group will be selling off the ultra-performance marque, but in an insane turn of events, it seems the new owner of Bugatti will be Rimac Automobili - the people behind the all-electric Rimac C_Two.
The main proponent behind offloading Bugatti isn't part of the fallout from Dieselgate or the global pandemic, but rather an attempt by the VW Group to pursue electrification to an even greater degree, as the deal will supposedly be in lieu of a bigger share of Rimac. This comes after Porsche acquired a 10% stake in the Croatian firm back in 2018 and a further 5.5% in 2019. In doing so, Porsche joined fellow manufacturers like Hyundai, Jaguar, Koenigsegg, and Magna in buying into Rimac. At this early stage, it's still unclear how big a stake in Rimac Porsche and the VW Group will be trading Bugatti for, but sources suggest they'll be eyeing a 49% stake.
If the VW Group does offload Bugatti - valued at approximately 500 million euros - it could potentially spark infighting amongst the executive, particularly as the Piech family currently owns a 50% controlling interest in the group. The late Ferdinand Piech was a massive supporter of the Bugatti brand and was a key figure in Porsche's acquisition of the brand in 1998.
Should the deal go through, it could have massive ramifications: Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann would be unlikely to stay, despite having grown the company's portfolio to include numerous special editions since he took the reins.
If Rimac does purchase Bugatti, we could see the next record-setting Bug powered by electrons. This wouldn't be the worst-case scenario, as the Rimac C_Two is an already-incredibly 1,914-hp electric supercar. Rumors had circulated that in October, Winkelmann was going to greenlight the production of Vision Le Mans, an electric track-only model designed by 27-year-old Max Lask.
Bugatti isn't the only brand VW might offload in the near future, though. Lamborghini, Seat, Ital Design, Bentley, and Ducati are all facing the ax as VW looks to consolidate core brands VW, Audi, and Porsche. Numerous investors are all in the cards, ranging from banks to private equity firms with Asian OEMs also involved in discussions. These have apparently been put on hold for the time being, however, due to the Covid crisis. Just a few years ago, VW's elite brands were valued at 23 billion euros, but in the current market climate this could be too big a stretch for any one buyer.