Tata to get class, Pininfarina to get cash in Indian design center deal

In what might be the most perfectest (work with me here) odd couple match-up since chocolate and peanut butter, Pininfarina, car designer extraordinaire and builder of the hydrogen fuel cell-powered Sintesi concept car (silver automotive objet d'art pictured above), with minority participation from Tata Motors, maker of the ultra-cheap Nano (red contraption also pictured above) plan to open a research, design and engineering center in India later this year.

Just as it's no secret that the Italian design house has been making deals of late in an effort to shore up its finances, it's equally as obvious that Tata Motors, a company which began its life in 1945 making train locomotives, could use a hand in the aesthetics department. Not only could future iterations of the Nano benefit from the deal (Lambo doors anyone?) but seeing as how Tata is in the process of buying upscale British brands, Jaguar and Land Rover, such a deal may be necessary for its future success.

We here at AutoblogGreen cannot help but wonder if Pininfarina might be able to use the relationship to take advantage of Tata's forté of low-cost manufacturing vis-a-vis its electric car program with battery supplier, Bolloré. If you prefer to eschew speculation, hit the jump for "just the facts" as contained in the press release from Pininfarina.

Press release

Tata has expressed interest in participating Pininfarina's planned capital increase

Turin April 24th, 2008 – Pininfarina intends to establish a Research, Design and Engineering Centre in Pune, India within the end of 2008. Pininfarina and Tata have signed a Letter of Intent wherein Tata will support this Centre in India with contracts and participate with a minority interest. Pininfarina will be the majority shareholder with management responsibility.

"This agreement witnesses the great attention Pininfarina is dedicating to an emerging and highly developing market such as the Indian one"- declares Andrea Pininfarina, Chairman and CEO of Pininfarina S.p.A.- "Thanks to our partner, one of the worldwide major automotive manufacturers with strong roots on the Indian market, we will reach a higher excellence level in the design and engineering sectors".

The Centre - that will be able to provide its services also to other Indian and international automotive manufacturers - enlarges the Pininfarina offer of services to the OEMs, thus strengthening the engineering best cost services developed since 2005 with Pininfarina's Moroccan engineering centre. This investment also highlights Pininfarina's strong desire to work with new and significant players in the world motor vehicle industry, as well as with established players, looking to improve its competitive position.

To further reinforce the strategic tie between Tata Group and Pininfarina Group Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Industries Limited, has expressed interest in the Tata Companies participating Pininfarina's planned capital increase with the subscription of a portion of the options that will be assigned to the Pininfarina family.

[Source: Pininfarina via The Economic Times]

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