Pininfarina family set to lose control of the famous car design company

Article by Christian A., on February 16, 2012

As the extended debt restructuring talks are nearing their end, sources have hinted that Italy's Pininfarina family will lose control of the car design company. Pininfarina, which had designed dream cars such as the Ferrari FF, posted a loss of 16.9 million euros in the first nine months of 2011. It had closed its manufacturing operations to re-invent itself as a smaller niche design player.

Sources say that a deal with creditor banks including Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit, Mediobanca and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena to restructure net debt of 76 million euros is on track and will be attained in the upcoming months.

A source said that the debt situation is “stable and the talks are not contentious, so there is no hurry." This agreement will secure the capital structure for the foreseeable future. When this debt accord is finalized, it will give control of the family's 77% stake to its creditor banks. This ends the Pininfarina family's ownership of the influential design house founded by onetime Turin carriage maker Gianbattista "Pinin" Farina in 1930.

The company became famous in the 1930s for raising the appeal of the latest aerodynamic design trends to the wider public. Its designs include the ground-breaking Cisalfa coupe, which is now displayed at the New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Almost all Ferrari sportscars since the 1950s are by Pininfarina. Its shareholders will have a mandatory special meeting on Wednesday to listen to management's plans on how to return to profit, according to another source who said that the plans don’t include a capital increase.

This is what many have been waiting for! Ferrari is finally unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show two new projects that have been heavily anticipated by its fans and customers alike – the new Ferrari FF and the new 458 Italia. First off, we have the new Ferrari FF, a revolutionary sports car in four-wheel drive configurations. Powered by a mid-front V12 engine, the new Ferrari FF is regarded not only as the most powerful but also as the most versatile four-seater car from Ferrari. This new Ferrari FF offers a fresh take on the Grand Tourer (GT) theme, fusing the versatility of a GT car, a revolutionary design and extreme sports car performance.

What makes the Ferrari FF so innovative and revolutionary? First, there is its powerful engine – a GDI V12 engine that could deliver a whopping 660 CV of max output at 8,000 rpm and 683 Nm of peak torque at 6,000 rpm, with 500 Nm readily available at only 1,000 rpm. Sending this amount of power from the V12 engine to all four wheels is the seven-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox, allowing the FF to dash from nil to 100 km/h sprint in only 3.7 seconds and achieve a top speed of 335 km/h.

Nonetheless, this GDI V12 unit emits 25-percent less carbon dioxide than its predecessors at 360 g/km. Moreover, this engine only consumes 15.4 liters of fuel per 100 km. These increased levels of fuel efficiency could be attributed partly to Ferrari’s so-called HELE (High Emotions Low Emissions) System that includes Stop&Start technology.

Interestingly, the Ferrari FF could perform well in a low-traction environment as it comes with Ferrari's patented 4RM four-wheel drive system. While this system delivers torque to the rear wheels, its PTU (Power Transfer Unit) could send the necessary amount of torque to the front wheels as needed. Since all dynamic vehicle controls (E-Diff, F1-Trac and PTU) are now integrated into a single CPU, the Ferrari FF could individually send torque to each of the four wheels.

Topics: pininfarina

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