Times are tough for coachbuilders these days. Karmann shut down a few years ago. Pininfarina only returned to profitability a year ago for the first time in nearly a decade. Italdesign Giugiaro has been subsumed into the Volkswagen Group (and not a moment too early). Fisker shifted from rebodying German two-doors to making its own luxury hybrids, and that hasn't worked out so well...
Bertone, for its part, was forced to substantially restructure its operations, selling its low-volume assembly plant to Fiat and limiting itself to designing and building one-offs. But even that may not prove enough to keep the legendary design house in the black moving forward.
According to Italian newspaper La Republicca, Bertone has had to send 165 employees home and dismiss its team of ten interns while it looks for a new buyer to take over – under the auspices of a court-appointed bankruptcy administrator. This after the Bertone Workshop – newly established to build one-offs for wealthy clients – has apparently failed to garner enough orders to keep the lights on.
A Turkish company is reportedly interested at $2.7 million. But as much as we may hate to lend voice to the unfortunate notion, we still wonder if the age of the carrozzeria isn't behind us and if that would prove a sound investment for any investor. Then again, there seems to be enough business to keep Zagato in the game and bring Touring out of retirement.