German Media: VW, Bugatti and Rimac – A Dream Marriage

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac writes on the 18th of September, 2020, the German media are speculating about the possibility that Volkswagen will leave its Bugatti brand to the company owned by Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac. That could be an ideal combination – even for Porsche, writes Deutsche Welle.

Speculations that the Volkswagen Group could sell its luxury sports car brand Bugatti have been going on for some time now: Manager Magazine has already written about it, and this week the British Car Magazine announced that the new owner would be the Croatian company Rimac Automobili.

However, German media such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is skeptical: “We’re not declaring the future of the brand,” read a statement from Bugatti’s Molsheim headquarters which are located near Strasbourg. Similar things are being heard from VW’s headquarters. There have already been rumours about the possible sale of other luxury brands such as Bentley and Lamborghini or the Ducati motorcycle manufacturer, recalls the German media outlet.

“Bugatti has announced that it is focusing on current affairs, there’s no reason why a new owner of this brand of very expensive sports cars with 1,500 horsepower would come along. According to the latest data, the brand is operating positively, 82 vehicles were sold in 2019. (…) Bugatti is also going through the crisis relatively well this year. The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t hit the luxury goods business as hard as the business of mass-produced ones has been hit, even though there is less demand there,” the German media portal writes.

However, the Süddeutsche Zeitung is much more specific: “VW wants to sell Bugatti” it claims, and immediately in the subtitle we can read the sentence “The brand should become Croatian. Porsche has a decisive role in this business.” Because the author of the Munich newspaper Georg Kacher writes that “according to unanimous sources, at least for Bugatti, the deadline has expired. VW must concentrate its resources to succeed in its ambitious investment programme with a focus on electric mobility, digitalisation and autonomous driving.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung explains that Volkswagen’s plan is to sell Bugatti – but to actually keep it because through its brand Porsche, it would increase its stake in the Croatian company Rimac Automobili: “According to SZ, Porsche will, in turn, increase its stake in Rimac Automobili to 49 percent. The company from Stuttgart took over ten percent of Rimac Automobili back in 2018 and later increased that share to 15.5 percent. The company, founded by Croat Mate Rimac, is one of the world’s leading specialists in electromobility, battery technology and demanding electronics. A model for technical expertise is the second supersport car called the C-Two, a so-called hypercar with a 1914 horsepower powerful electric motor and unrivaled driving characteristics that is almost ready for its series production.”

The Munich-based paper speculates that this could be a “dream marriage”: the price for the Bugatti would be “somewhere in the three-digit million-dollar amount for a medium size” that would come to Rimac Automobili through Porsche, and in return this German company could benefit from Rimac’s know-how. “Rimac, who is only just 21 years old, for his part, could get a perfect market presence with Bugatti, along with the appropriate infrastructure for his all-electric supercars that run in minimal series,” the German media publication writes.

The German media outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung also writes in its issue from this Friday that the management of the Volkswagen Group actually decided to accept the job last week and the only thing missing is the approval of the supervisory board of the Volkswagen Group. However, the publication adds that this “along with the probability bordering on certainty” will also mean the departure of the current head of the Bugatti brand, Stephan Winkelmann, but that neither Winkelmann nor Porsche’s boss Oliver Blume wanted to comment on this.

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