In partnership with French industrial group Bollore and Indian automaker Tata, Italian design house Pininfarina is preparing to launch its new electric minicar by 2010. Initial production of the car, which will be sold across Europe, Japan and in the United States, is scheduled to begin at 2,000 units, mounting up to peak manufacturing at 15,000 vehicles annually by 2012.
Italian design houses like Pininfarina and Bertone, however, have been struggling to make ends meet. While the latter struggles to emerge from bankruptcy, Pininfarina is raising 100 million euros in capital for the new electric car project by selling shares. The Pininfarina family will be selling an undetermined part of its 55 percent majority stake to some of the biggest names in the Italian automotive industry: Piero Ferrari, the scion and vice-president of the Maranello-based sportscar-maker; Alberto Bombassei, chairman of Brembo brakes; and the Marsiaj family, founders of seatbelt manufacturer Sabelt.