The blogs are buzzing today about an Automotive News article that reveals Italian coachbuilder Bertone is developing a BMW-powered sports car to sell in the U.S. The article actually focuses on the familial spats occuring within Bertone's management that led to Barbara Bertone, daughter of Lilli Bertone, the company's chairman and CEO, departure in March of 2006. Apparently whatever differences that led to mother and daughter parting professional ways have been worked out, and Barbara has been brought back as the company's managing director. Her sole job is to go out and get Bertone business, as the coachbuilder hasn't had a major job since it stopped producing the Opel/Vauxhall Astra coupe and cabriolet in 2005. Since then it's had some minor work building a special run of 2,000 MINIs, but not enough to prevent the idling of many of its workers.

Of course, the interesting news that caught everyone's eye is this short paragraph at the end of the article that reveals Bertone told its workers it hopes to preserve 300 jobs by producing up to 400 units of a camper van and a BMW-powered sports car for the U.S. market. Automotive News asked BMW about the proposed model, and heard back that the Bavarian boys and girls club was not involved in the car's development, though BMW didn't deny its existence.

Bertone did show a 95th Anniversary Concept at the Geneva Motor Show in March that is based on the Fiat Panda 100HP. This two-seat roadster concept could foreshadow the model referred to in the AN article.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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