Hyundai and Kia Invest In … Rimac?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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hyundai and kia invest in rimac

In today’s episode of Surprising Bedfellows, we find the corporate duo of Hyundai/Kia throwing money in the general direction of Rimac. Technically titled Rimac Automobili, it’s the Croatian high-performance EV company known for making the outrageously fast Concept One supercar, a vehicle thrust into the public eye when Richard Hammond binned one at a Swiss hillclimb. That was a wreck from which he mercifully has recovered. Legend has it that the subsequent media exposure helped the company sell three units that same day.

Today, the EV company announced a $90 million partnership with the Korean giants. They’ll be working together to develop an electric version of Hyundai Motor’s N brand midship sports car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle.

Wait, what?

In addition to the big money investment, a huge story in its own right, this news seemingly confirms the mysterious mid-engined Hyundai that’s been spied roaming around the world’s snazziest racetracks. Believed to be based on the Veloster, it is often referred to as the RM 16 N, a sexy name if there ever was one. Someone from McLaren must be in charge of marketing.

Regardless, Hyundai has been building mid-engined Veloster concepts for the last three or four years, regularly appearing at the Busan Motor Show. The most recent example was powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four bolted directly to the driver’s spine, allowing for a 43/57 weight distribution and over 300 horsepower. After years of skeptical speculation, this $90m Rimac deal indicates the RM is indeed real. The image below is of Rimac assembly.

“Rimac is an innovative company with outstanding capabilities in high-performance electric vehicles,” said Euisun Chung, executive vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. “Its startup roots and abundant experience collaborating with automakers combined with technological prowess makes Rimac the ideal partner for us.”

The words “Clean Mobility” were thrown around with much abandon, indicating that Hyundai/Kia has some big plans in that area — even bigger than they’ve already deployed. Its array of vehicles in this segment already number seven, assuming one counts the three different versions of the Ioniq.

This tie-up also has the ability to juice Rimac’s stature in other areas. At today’s announcement, founder and CEO Mate Rimac pointed out that “that this collaboration will charge the company’s position as a Tier-1 electrification components supplier to the industry.” Good pun, by the way. Shocking, even.

We’ll know more in the days and weeks ahead.

[Images: Rimac]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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4 of 6 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on May 14, 2019

    Does Rimac has anything to do with Yugo?

  • Blackcloud_9 Blackcloud_9 on May 15, 2019

    While not chump-change to you and me, a $90 million investment is not that large in the automotive world. Didn't Ford just invest 500 or 750 million (I can't remember which) in Rivian? And Cruise - autonomous driving division of GM just got another 1.5 billion.

  • Lorenzo A union in itself doesn't mean failure, collective bargaining would mean failure.
  • Ajla Why did pedestrian fatalities hit their nadir in 2009 and overall road fatalities hit their lowest since 1949 in 2011? Sedans were more popular back then but a lot of 300hp trucks and SUVs were on the road starting around 2000. And the sedans weren't getting smaller and slower either. The correlation between the the size and power of the fleet with more road deaths seems to be a more recent occurrence.
  • Jeff_M It's either a three on the tree OR it's an automatic. It ain't both.
  • Lorenzo I'm all in favor of using software and automation to BUILD cars, but keep that junk off my instrument panel, especially the software enabled interactive junk. Just give me the knobs and switches so I can control the vehicle, with no interconnectivity of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts Modern cars detach people from their speed too much. The combination of tall ride height, super-effective sound insulation, massive power, and electronic aids makes people quite unaware of just how much kinetic energy is nominally under their control while they watch a movie on their phone with one hand and eat a Quarter Pounder with the other. I think that is the primary reason we are seeing an uptick in speed-related fatalities, especially among people NOT in cars.With that said, I don't think Americans have proven responsible enough to have unlimited speed in cars. Although I'd hate it, I still would support limiters that kick in at 10 over in the city and 20 over on the freeway, because I think they would save more than enough lives to be worth the pain.