2008 Pininfarina B0 concept, the basis for the Bluecar – Click above for high-res image gallery
The pint-sized four-door car that debuted as the B0 concept at the Geneva Motor Show back in 2009 should hit the market as the electric Bluecar early next year. The battery-powered commuter, jointly developed by the French Bollore Group and the infamous Italian design house Pininfarina, has tallied 8,000 pre-orders. Of these, only 2,000 are expected to be filled in 2011. The partners target a rather optimistic production goal of 60,000 Bluecars by 2016.
Thus far, Bollore built two lithium-ion battery plants, one in France and the other in Quebec, Canada, to supply packs for the Bluecar, which was to be assembled in Italy by Pininfarina, but there appears to be a change in plans. Automotive News (sub. req.) reports that Pininfarina has negotiated a deal to sell its stake in the joint venture and may exit the partnership by year's end. AN's report states:
Speculation abounds claiming that Milan-based merchant bank Banca Leonardo's quest to sell Pinanfarina may soon become a reality and, with that, the production status of the Bluecar really becomes questionable.Pininfarina and Bollore clashed over strategy – a fight triggered by diverging EV subsidies in France and Italy. On November 12th, Pininfarina announced that it had negotiated a deal to sell its 50 percent stake in the venture. Pininfarina has the option to sell its stake for 10 million euros – equal to the venture's book value – between March 1, 2011 and March 15, 2013. But if Pininfarina is sold, it has the right to unload its share of the EV venture as early as Dec. 31, 2010.
[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]