Volkswagen is considering a sale of Bugatti Automobiles to Rimac Automobili as part of a consolidation of volume production car operations at the German automaker, and Porsche looks set to play an integral role in the deal.
The proposed sale, although not officially confirmed, was the main topic at a recent Volkswagen supervisory board meeting, according to Germany’s Manager Magazin, which says Volkswagen Chairman Herbert Diess hopes to conclude contract signings by the end of 2020.
To enable Rimac to finance the purchase of Bugatti, Volkswagen-owned Porsche is expected to boost its current 15.5% shareholding in the Croatian-based electric supercar specialist to as much as 49%.
The increased Porsche shareholding in Rimac would enable Volkswagen to remain active in future decision-making at Bugatti, says one insider who told Wards talks between Volkswagen and Rimac are ongoing, with final decisions on the complex three-way purchase yet to be made.
Volkswagen, Rimac and Porsche denied Wards’ request for comment.
Under a condition of the sale said to be proposed by Volkswagen, Bugatti would switch its focus from traditional combustion engines to electric-powered supercar production using electric driveline and battery know-how developed by Rimac for its 1,914-hp C_Two supercar.
The purchase by Rimac of Bugatti and the increased shareholding of Porsche would be dependent on the agreement of a number of current stakeholders, including Xiangyang, China-based battery specialist Camel Group and Hong Kong-based China Dynamics, sources suggest.
Founded in 1909, Bugatti sold 82 cars in 2019, mainly Chiron models, which feature a quad-turbocharged 8.0L W-16 developing 1,479 hp.
Bugatti’s most recent model, the 1,578-hp Centodieci, is based on the Chiron. It is planned to be built in a limited run of just 10, each priced at €8 million ($9.5 million).
Rimac, headquartered in Syeta Nedelja near Zagreb, Croatia, was established in 2009 by Mate Rimac.
Wards understands Bugatti initially was offered for sale to former VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech’s son, Gregor. However, a sale never came to fruition.
Under Diess, Volkswagen is undergoing a major reorganization with a focus on electric mobility and a renewed focus on volume production. The future of its upper luxury car brands, including Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley, as well as motorcycle manufacturer Ducati and Italian-based design studio ItalDesign, are all said to be under scrutiny as the company seeks to cut costs as it looks to fund the electric-vehicle plans of its volume brands Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Skoda as well as an extension of Porsche’s electric-car operations in cooperation with Rimac.