Only days before heading to bankruptcy court, Italian engineering firm and carrozzeria Bertone revealed that it was about to pull a last-minute trick out of its sleeve in an announcement later that day. But when the announcement didn't come, the industry was left wondering if, after 95 years in business, Bertone was about to slip away.
The company's chairwoman and family scion Lili Bertone, however, announced last night that her company would be sold to Gruppo Prototipo chief Domenico Reviglio. Likewise based in Turin, Gruppo Prototipo focuses on testing pre-production vehicle prototypes. It owns the famous Nardo high-speed test facility, and since the late '90s has been the sub-contractor for most of the Fiat Group's testing requirements.
The announcement came as a surprise to the Italian business community, which widely believed negotiations with business mogul Gianmario Rossignolo were near conclusion. Previous negotiations with Fiat had fallen through, and Bertone has a workforce of 1,300 to support despite the lack of contracts to sustain the company. The Italian government, meanwhile, has opted to extend the two-year financial protection it had granted Bertone for an additional two months.