Only months ago Bertone, one of the most famous design houses in Europe, looked like it was about to go under. The company had lost all its contracts, had a big operation to sustain, and went into bankruptcy protection. But like a phoenix from the ashes, Bertone is re-emerging, more streamlined and ready to get back to business. The manufacturing division, heavy with overhead, was stripped away from the styling studio, which is still owned by the Bertone family but operated independently. And its new business development director is keen to get the design house back on track.
Among the steps Bertone is considering is to open up additional field offices away from Italy to get in on the local action. The company is in the process of setting up shop in China, and has its eyes set on India and Detroit next. To mark its resurgence, Bertone is also considering putting the BAT 11 into limited production. The Alfa 8C-based concept car was shown near the Geneva show last March after conflicting reports of its cancellation, and is now headlining the Meadow Brook Concours d'Eleance. The vehicle was originally built as a one-off for our friend Gary Kaberle, but if Bertone can get enough orders in place beforehand, the company would consider a small run of 25-50 examples. In the meantime, it's going to focus on rebuilding its reputation and on the 20 design projects it currently has under way for automakers in Europe and China, as well as shipyards and aerospace companies.