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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can't wait to see when everyone will start suggesting that a Chinese company needs to step in and buy it. Somehow everyone wants Chinese to step up when the company is in the complete death spiral and not when it is successful and making money.
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      "..we still wonder if the age of the carrozzeria isn't behind us." No need to wonder, it is over. All car companies have design teams stocked with talent. The days of farming out design and manufacturing are long over. The great design names have little value these days other than as a nice fender badge.
        lasertekk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @throwback
        Don't agree. The coach builders whole reason for existence (all thoughts inclusive) were for people who didn't want mass produced department store-like cars. They had the cash, and prestige, to want boutique specialized art. It's a sad day when were all forced down the corporate cookie cutter path.
        johnnythemoney
        • 1 Year Ago
        @throwback
        True that, but despite the fact that most people went from Pininfarina to Ferrari as soon as Ferrari started designing its own cars, you could immediately perceive a shift in "design quality", as if something was missing. Very few designers working for an automakers eventually stand out especially because cars are designed by teams rather than individuals, but those who do in many cases formed themselves inside of old school design firms and will eventually establish one of their own (likely not exclusively connected to the automotive industry).
      Kevin Potts
      • 11 Months Ago
      Would love to see what Bertone could do for an American auto like Chrysler or SRT. I can picture them remodeling the Viper or maybe a Barracuda.
      ffelix422
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can think of several car makers who would do well to buy Bertone's design know-how... Audi, Acura, Rolls Royce, VW, Lexus, Ifiniti,,,,,
        Dane Grant
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ffelix422
        Not so much Audi and VW....but yes to all the Japanese companies....
          ffelix422
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Dane Grant
          Audi has one design, stretched and widened to make a3, a4, a5, a6, etc. VW is Audi with less make-up on.
      johnnythemoney
      • 1 Year Ago
      Zagato is owned by the same group headed by the Russian billionaire behind the Spyker/Saab deal, supposedly among the reasons why GM was so reticent to bless the deal. I don't think Zagato is that much profitable. Also, Touring creations seems to be lacking in quality. I'm not sure about the Bentley Flying Star, but when the Maserati Quattroporte wagon was up for grabs at Villa d'Este last year, it didn't impress and the price was eventually quite low all things considered. Apparently they produced something like 5 Maseratis and 3 Bentleys, not much.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wish Jaguar had used the Bertone B99 concept as perhaps a top tier Jaguar Mark 7 or something. I really like how the B99 looked very modern but tradditionally "special" Jaguar in terms of styling cues,
      Moberg63
      • 1 Year Ago
      Alas, your list of coachbuilding firms that have met a sad end could have been even longer. French Heuliez tried it into electric vehicles, but were too late with" down-to date" technology. Heuliez, founded in 1920, notably built cars for Citroen, Peugeot, Renault and Opel ( examples: Citro├źn BX Break and convertibles like Opel Tigra Twin Top). They also made the Peugeot presidential vehicle Nicolas Sarcozy paraded in the day of his inauguration. Heuliez went bankrupt for the third and, it would seem, the last time this autumn.
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