Porsche's board of management voted to increase the company's stake in Croatian electric car manufacturer and supplier Rimac. The investment puts 24% of the 11-year old carmaker under the Volkswagen umbrella.
Mate Rimac founded the company that bears his name in 2009, and he has attracted high-profile cash injections from major companies like Hyundai in recent years. Porsche began investing in Rimac in 2018, and it increased its stake to 15.5% the following year. Upping that number to 24% cost the German firm 70 million euros, which represents around $83.4 million at the current conversion rate. Porsche doesn't control Rimac, however.
Porsche celebrated the investment as a win for both sides.
"Mate Rimac inspires us with his innovative ideas. By the same token, he benefits from our know-how in production and methodological expertise in development," explained Lutz Meschke, the deputy chairman of Porsche's executive board and the company's board member for finance and IT.
Porsche added that it has already placed its first order for "highly innovative series components" from Rimac, though it stopped short of revealing what it bought and which cars they'll go in. It has several to choose from: its range of electric cars is currently limited to the Taycan and the recently-unveiled Taycan Cross Turismo, but many others are on their way, including a battery-powered SUV that will replace the Macan in the coming years.
It's unclear what (if anything) the investment means for Bugatti. Unverified reports published in 2020 claimed that Volkswagen was ready to part ways with Bugatti in exchange for a 49% stake in Rimac, which would have allegedly been transferred directly to Porsche. Neither party commented on the rumors when they began making headlines, and Bugatti hasn't been sold or traded yet, though the French company's fate will be decided during the first half of 2021. Rimac strongly hinted the reports were false. It wants to remain independent, so it won't allow another brand to control it — not even in exchange for ownership of one of the world's most prestigious car companies.
"Porsche's stake will increase, but nowhere near to 50%, and Rimac will remain independent with many industry customers that are not our shareholders or investors," its founder said shortly before Porsche's investment was made public. In addition to developing its second model, which is called C_Two, the company is working with Hyundai on high-performance electric and hydrogen-powered cars and with Kia on a mysterious project.