• Jan 2nd 2009 at 7:58AM
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It's been a rough few years for Italy's coachbuilders, and times aren't getting any easier. Bertone almost went under before a rescue plan was approved by the courts at the eleventh hour, and now Pininfarina is poised to follow them down the same path. Drowning in nearly €600 million in debt, Pininfarina is set to shut down its contract manufacturing operations and concentrate on its own electric vehicle initiative while the family loses control of its company to the banks.

Although contract manufacturing once constituted the lion's share of business for outfits like Pininfarina, those times are long gone. Pininfarina still makes the Focus Coupe-Cabriolet for Ford and the Brera and Spider for Alfa Romeo, but at levels hovering around a quarter of anticipated output. Instead, the design house will refocus on its joint production of the Bzero electric vehicle with Bollore, targeted to hit the market in 2010-11. Meanwhile, the grandchildren of Battista "Pinin" Farina – recently lead by Andrea Pininfarina (until his death in a tragic accident in August) and now led by his brother Paolo – will transfer 50.4 percent ownership to its creditors in exchange for a €180 million reduction of its debt, to be followed by a further reduction of €70 million in exchange for rights to the name. The family, meanwhile, will retain only 4.5 percent stake in the namesake company, with the remaining shares publicly traded (including some held by Enzo's son Piero Ferrari and some by Tata). The banks, however, will seek no management changes or board seats in exchange for the controlling interest.

[Source: Automotive News Europe – Sub. Req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Step one: close the credit lines saying "there is a bad recession, we must be more careful...".

      Step two: wait the company to don't be able to respect the contracts and going close to the bankrupt.

      Step three: trade some crap electronic just made money with real assets of one of the world's most prestigious company.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If Pinin would get their quality problems solved, they would not have to pay that much warranty costs! Ford has to rework nearly 80% of all Focus-CC's that come from Pinin. And Ford makes Pinin pay for the crap they deliver...
      • 6 Years Ago
      A coachbuilder going under is truly the end of civilization as we know it. Sure, 'corporate' car companies have their cold, functional, bean counter and lawyer controlled design departments. But a coachbuilder is so much different, the last bastion of individuality, or as much as we can expect in this day and age. True artisans, perhaps the desendants of Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci, may have had a hand in the design of a car. Yeah, I know, nothing lasts forever.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This doesn't affect me at all, but it still makes me sad.
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