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Car and Driver: Mahininfarina! India’s Mahindra Buys Italy’s Pininfarina

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Pininfarina Azzurra Spider

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When Battista “Pinin” Farina founded the design house that bears his name in 1930, Italy was in the thrall of fascism and India was still nearly two decades away from winning its independence from Great Britain. Automobiles were often supplied as bare chassis, with the coachwork chosen by the owner. Along the way, Pininfarina developed some of the loveliest production shapes in 20th-century motoring, including the Ferrari Daytona and Cisitalia 202, as well as wild concepts like the Ferrari 512 S-based Modulo from 1970. And now they’ve followed Jaguar Land Rover into the breach of Indian ownership, having been purchased by Mahindra.

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Rumors have been flying for some time now that a deal was in the works, but confirmation comes today courtesy of Automotive News. According to the report, Mahindra and affiliated company Tech Mahindra will purchase a 76-percent stake from Pininfarina’s Pincar holding company for 25.3 million euros, which translates to 1.10 euros per share. Mahindra will offer the remaining stock for the same price, which closed Friday at 4.20. The Indian concern has also pledged to invest 20 million euros and offer a 114.5-million euro guarantee to creditors.

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As we noted in March, Pininfarina’s expertise could be a boon to Mahindra-owned Ssangyong, a company known as much for unfortunate aesthetics as it is for value-priced vehicles. Beyond that, the deal saves Pininfarina from following Bertone down a sad path. Ownership by major automakers seems to be the only way forward for the great Italian design houses, with Giugiaro having sold out to Volkswagen in 2010. Meanwhile, the purchase of the storied brand certainly gives Mahindra some Western cachet it was sorely lacking, and if Tata’s stewardship of JLR is any indication, this new direction could be exactly what both companies need.

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