The trademarks of the De Tomaso brand have finally been sold – to former Fiat exec Gian Mario Rossignolo – with plans for a range of three cars by 2011.
We reported back in January that the assets of the once successful De Tomaso brand were being brokered around the world. We speculated that the name would be a big allure for any of the ‘Garden Shed’ car makers that sprout up round the world and perhaps even a sensible buy for a mainstream brand looking for a halo marque for a supercar – BMW, perhaps?
But despite seeing the business sense in acquiring one of the last remaining unexploited Italian marques, the assets of De Tomaso failed to find a buyer when they went under the hammer in July. The liquidators had already managed to dispose of the factory in Modena – which was part of the offering in January – and were seeking to sell the brand and trademarks for around €1.6 million.
So the De Tomaso liquidators must be relived that former Fiat exec Gian Mario Rossignolo has bought up the De Tomaso brand from the Modena Government. No price has been given, so we must assume that it was a bit of a steal – certainly less than the €1.6 million needed in July to secure the deal.
Despite being no Spring Chicken (he’s 79), Gian Mario Rossignolo has big plans for De Tomaso. He’s been looking for a way to utilise a manufacturing plan based on a process known as Univis, which is an aluminium space-frame technology requiring only 30 dies to build a car. The plans are for a range of three cars – a coupe, saloon and an SUV – to be built in a Pininfarina factory in Grugliasco on the outskirts of Turin. Rossignolo plans to have the three car range ready to show at Geneva in 2011.
No news on whether Rossignolo plans to revive the Pantera name (although he must, surely?) for the coupe and throw in the Managusta name for the saloon. As for the SUV – anyone’s guess.
Big plans. Big risks. But good to see De Tomaso has a chance to shine once again.