‘We don’t see any slowdown’ from superrich car buyers, says Bugatti Rimac CEO

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Ultra-wealthy buyers of supercars show no signs of slowing their spending despite recession fears, according to the CEO of Bugatti Rimac.

Mate Rimac said demand for the company’s all-electric Rimac supercars and its combustion-engine Bugattis remains strong, and may even be accelerating.

“We don’t see any slowdown at the moment, quite the opposite,” he said. “With Bugatti, we are sold out well into 2025. So even if the (recession) is a few years, we will come out even stronger out of it.”

Bugatti’s new $5 million Mistral roadster — a 1,577-horsepower, quad-turbo W16 engine — sold out of all 99 models set to be produced by the time it was unveiled to the public Friday at Monterey Car Week in California. The car, named after a cold, northwesterly wind that blows through southern France, is being billed as the last of the nonelectric Bugattis as the company begins the shift to hybrid and electric vehicles.

The Bugatti W16 Mistral roadster on display at the 2022 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California, US, on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Rimac told CNBC he was “a little surprised” the car sold out so quickly. The largest number of buyers are in the U.S., he said.

The Mistral, according to Rimac, was aimed at paying homage to the ultimate combustion engine.

“We wanted to give it a last hurrah,” he said. “It’s a celebration to that amazing engine that’s so unique and the pinnacle of engine development that will probably never be surpassed.”

Bugatti Rimac also produces supercars under the Rimac name, including the Rimac Nevera, an all-electric 1,900-horsepower supercar that sells for $2.1 million and is seeing strong orders from U.S. buyers.

Rimac Group’s biggest growth driver is Rimac Technology, which sells high-performance battery and EV technology to Porsche, Aston Martin, Hyundai and others. The division, which now has about 1,000 employees, is also developing self-driving “robotaxi” technology, which remains under wraps until its possible launch in 2024 or later.

The CEO declined to offer specifics but said the shortage of raw materials needed for EVs will likely force the use of shared, self-driving vehicles rather than mass production over the coming years to meet demand.

“The No. 1 constraint is having enough materials and supply chain to convert the fleet that we have globally,” he said. “I don’t think the right way to do it is to convert one to one, like one combustion engine car for one electric car, because we are just using them for 3% of the time.

“The majority of people, they don’t necessarily really want to own a car if there is a more convenient, safe option that gets you from point A to point B,” Rimac said.

Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s private equity business, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and others invested more than $500 million in Rimac Group in June, valuing the company at over $2 billion.

CEO Rimac said the company plans to hold an initial public offering eventually, but not anytime soon.

“We will go public at some point,” he said. “We are in no hurry. … We want to go to the market when it’s really the right time when the company has really very strong financials and we are very close to that. So we will go public, but if it’s in three years or five years or six, I don’t know, we’ll see.”

He said the company has been waiting in part because of the industrywide flood of go-public mergers with special purpose acquisition companies.

“I was very publicly against this kind of frenzy that was happening over the last couple of years with SPACs. I knew it would end ugly and most of them did,” Rimac said. “Of course there are very good companies who also did a SPAC and went public in that way, but a lot of people have lost a lot of money, especially in the electric vehicle industry. So we didn’t want to do that.”

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