In his quest to build a global auto empire, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne bought the struggling Chrysler, attempted to buy Opel, and has now added Italian coachbuilder Bertone to Fiat’s stable of brands.
After a failed attempt at acquiring Italy’s oldest contract manufacturer in 2006-2007, Fiat’s bid for Carrozerria Bertone’s coachbuilding unit was officially approved by Italy’s Industry Minister Claudio Scajola today. Over the next three years, Fiat will invest €150 million ($215.9 million) in the struggling coachbuilder. Fiat won the bid for Bertone over Italian entrepreneurs Gianmario Rossignolo and Domenico Reviglio.
Only Bertone’s coachbuilding operations, which has built everything from Lamborghini Miuras to Volkswagen Polos at its Turin, Italy, factory, was included in the sale. The Stile Bertone design studios remain in the hands of the Bertone family, as the design opeartions were unaffected by the collapse of the contract manufacturing unit.
Unlike Fiat’s rival bidders, the automaker hasn’t been clear about what it’d like to build in the facilities. Marchionne has indiciated Fiat could build niche models in the location, but the Wall Street Journal even suggests it could be used to build Chrysler models for the European market–a role that has often been left to Magna-Steyr in Austria.