CPP-Zagato partnership announcement stops short of full acquisition

Just a few weeks ago, we brought you a report that suggested that CPP had acquired Zagato. The British coachbuilder owned by Vladimir Antonov has gone on a spending spree of late, acquiring Spyker and Land Rover racing specialist Bowler, so the acquisition of the Italian design house would seem to fit nicely into the company's portfolio.

CPP and Zagato have now revealed that their collaboration was already underway as far back as a full year ago with the establishment of a joint venture called CPP Milan. The enterprise was responsible for the design and realization of the Aston Martin V12 Zagato (pictured above), and the tie-up gives the two outfits the kind of concept-to-production capacity that several rival design houses have tried (but largely failed) to establish under one roof.

While the partnership could feasibly lead to a full acquisition, the announcement after the jump stops short of announcing such a deal, leaving the matter up to further speculation.
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Andrea Zagato and Brendan O'Toole confirm joint venture

Milan, July 19th 2011.

Brendan O'Toole, founder and Managing Director of CPP, the specialist British coachbuilder, and Andrea Zagato confirm that the two businesses have been successfully operating a joint venture.

The joint venture – registered in Italy as CPP Milan – was established in July 2010, combining the resources of the British coachbuilding specialist and the Milan Design Centre that operates under the licence of the brand Zagato. Zagato has been a CPP customer for several years, delivering production of designs such as the 2008 Bentley Continental GTZ.
Over the last twenty years, the Milanese Design Centre, under the leadership of Andrea and Marella Zagato, has invested in CAS-CAD and CAM technology, becoming an automotive design leader for the 21st century, and providing services to many of the world's most iconic automotive brands. Having founded CPP in 1995, Brendan O'Toole has grown the British business into a world-class coach building specialist, working for car manufacturers in the production of low volume variants, and one-off show cars and prototypes.

In recent years, several specialist automotive design houses and coachbuilders have closed or been acquired by global high volume vehicle manufacturers. CPP and Zagato formed the CPP Milan joint venture to ensure that each could assure their long-term independence and take advantage of the opportunities left by the exit of their competitors from the industry. The joint venture has been an overwhelming success, jointly overseeing projects such as the critically acclaimed 2011 Aston Martin V12 Zagato, now confirmed for limited-run production.

Brendan O'Toole said: "In an industry where so many design houses and coachbuilders over-expanded and attempted high volume outsourced manufacture before failing, the independent Zagato brand and its designs retain a mythical, iconic, aspirational status. For that reason, the world's luxury car brands continue to want to work with Andrea and his team and I saw huge advantages for us in developing a closer relationship, leading to the formation of the CPP Milan joint venture, which has delivered to the various ambitious targets set for it."
Andrea Zagato said: "It was quite clear for several years that our creations were complementary with CPP's manufacturing capabilities. We discussed the idea of a more advanced relationship in early 2010 and the increasingly challenging conditions facing the entire automotive industry prompted us to accelerate the process. Through / By establishing the CPP Milan joint venture, we have guaranteed the independent status of the Zagato brand ensuring the continuity of a tradition that began in 1919.

Cpp Milan, supported by the Zagato brand, is a major part of CPP's strategy of developing a portfolio of companies across the value chain for niche luxury and mainstream automotive companies, from styling consultancy, to body-in-white development and low-volume assembly.

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