Indian car company Mahindra is expected to buy legendary Italian design house Pininfarina in the coming weeks. Mahindra has been negotiating a deal to acquire the legendary Italian automotive design firm Pincar (Pininfarina’s holding company), for quite some time now. Earlier reports suggested that Pininfarina‘s Italian creditor banks were in dissent with certain aspects of Mahindra’s proposed agreement but it seems the issue has been sorted out.
The Mahindra and Pininfarina deal certainly had its ups and downs in the last few months, but now the transaction is almost finalized as the Italian car designer has declared they will likely sign the papers in the next few weeks. We know how important Pininfarina is, as we have seen the Ferrari Testarossa and its latest creation includes the Sergio windshield-less concept car. It has been struggling to stay in business as carmakers moved to hire more in-house stylists at the expense of independent design firms.
In 2012, Founder and legendary designer Sergio Pininfarina’s passing away was celebrated with Ferrari’s 458 Spider based one-off bearing his name in 2013. Later in year 2015, a limited production run of just six units of the Ferrari Sergio was commissioned, which also memorialize Pininfarina’s 60 years of association with Ferrari, as well as the former’s 85th anniversary.
As of June 2015, the company’s current net debt stood at 52.7 million euros (around INR 375 crore). It’s to be noted that the design stalwart has been complete loss over the past few years. The brand which is responsible for some of the world’s most beautiful cars from Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Rolls Royce, etc., has been facing a lack of business since most major automakers now desire to have a renowned designer in their payroll directly.
Apart from Ferrari, only handful of popular marques fully relies on the services of Pininfarina today. Moreover, isolated concepts and exclusive builds are few and far in between, leading to shortage of business. No details have been unveiled about Mahindra’s plans after the accession, but Pininfarina has been valued at around €149m (£105m).
One of the reasons why Pininfarina is in such a bad shape has to do with the fact that many automakers prefer to hire more in-house designers rather than externalize the design process. As a refresher, the last car to wear Pininfarina’s signature is the South East Motor (SEM) DX7, an SUV that made its debut earlier this year at Auto Shanghai.