Ultra-rich supercar buyers show no signs of slowing their spending despite recession fears, according to Bugatti CEO 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 well sold until 2025. So even if (the recession) is a few years, we will come out of it even stronger.”
Bugatti’s new $5 million Mistral roadster — a 1,577-horsepower, quad-turbo W16 — sold out of all 99 models to be produced by the time it was unveiled to the public on Friday at Monterey Car Week in California . The car, named after a cold northwesterly wind that blows through the south of France, is being billed as the last of the non-electric Bugattis as the company begins its transition to hybrid and electric vehicles.
The Bugatti W16 Mistral roadster on display at the 2022 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California, U.S., Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Rimac told CNBC he was “a little surprised” that the car sold so quickly. The largest number of buyers are in the US, he said.
The Mistral, according to Rimac, was meant to pay homage to the last combustion engine.
“We wanted to give it one last hurray,” he said. “It’s a celebration of that wonderful engine that is so unique and the pinnacle of engine development that will probably never be surpassed.”
Bugatti Rimac also makes supercars under the Rimac name, including the Rimac Nevera, a 1,900-horsepower all-electric supercar that retails for $2.1 million and is seeing strong orders from American buyers.
Rimac Group’s biggest growth driver is Rimac Technology, which sells high-performance batteries 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 secret until its possible launch in 2024 or later.
The CEO declined to provide specifics, but said the lack of raw materials needed for EVs will likely force the use of shared, self-driving vehicles instead of mass production over the next few years to meet demand.
“The No. 1 constraint is having enough materials and supply chain to turn around 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 a combustion engine car to an electric car, because we only use them 3% of the time.
“Most people, they don’t necessarily want to own a car if there’s a more convenient and safer 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 more than $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’re in no rush … We want to go public when the time is really right when the company has really strong financials and we’re very close to that. So we will go public, but if it’s in three years, five years or six, I don’t know, we’ll see.”
He said the company has waited in part because of the industry-wide flood of public mergers with special-purpose buyout companies.
“I was very publicly against this kind of frenzy going on over the last couple of years with SPACs. I knew it was going to end ugly and most of them did,” Rimac said. “Of course there are very good companies that also did a SPAC and went public 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.”