Increases in technology and safety regulations for new cars have been particularly hard on entities that have built some of the most beautiful automobiles in history. They’re not car companies; they’re the Italian styling houses those companies used to contract with to create flashy production and concept cars.
Pininfarina is one of the most legendary members of this group, but recently the company has fallen on hard times. But it might have a savior in the form of Indian manufacturing giant Mahindra, which is renewing efforts to purchase the Italian company, according to Automotive News.
Talks stalled months ago, but both parties are heading back to the negotiating table, and reportedly hope to complete a deal over the next few days. The two companies have yet to agree on a final purchase price, or what to do about Pininfarina’s debt.
Founded in 1930, Pininfarina has designed a wide variety of concept and production cars, from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider to the Cadillac Allante. It’s also been Ferrari’s go-to design firm for decades, and has taken on other industrial design projects, including apartment buildings to light-rail vehicles. However, the company hasn’t been profitable for 10 of the past 11 years, and it shuttered its car-building division three years ago.
But a firm with the caché and design skills of Pininfarina could be a valuable acquisition for Mahindra as it tries to expand onto the global market. The company sells cars and trucks in its home market, and has made unsuccessful attempts to sell small pickup trucks in the U.S. It will also launch an electric scooter called the GenZe in limited U.S. markets this year.
While Italian design firms like Pininfarina traditionally cater to multiple carmaker clients, an outright purchase by a manufacturer isn’t unheard of. Ford absorbed Ghia in the 1970s, and the Volkswagen Group acquired Italdesign Giugiaro in 2010.