Since the 1980s Pininfarina has also designed high-speed trains, buses, trams, rolling stocks, automated light rail cars, people movers, yachts, airplanes, and private jets. With the 1986 creation of Pininfarina Extra they have consulted on industrial design, interior design, architecture, and graphic design.
Pininfarina was run by Battista's son Sergio Pininfarina until 2001, then his grandson Andrea Pininfarina until his death in 2008. After Andrea's death his younger brother Paolo Pininfarina was appointed as CEO.
At its height in 2006 the Pininfarina Group employed 2,768 people with subsidiary company offices throughout Europe, as well as in Morocco and the United States. As of 2012 with the end of series automotive production, employment has shrunk to 821. Pininfarina is registered and publicly traded on the Borsa Italiana (Milan Stock Exchange).
When automobile designer and builder Battista "Pinin" Farina broke away from his brother's coach building firm, Stabilimenti Farina, in 1928 he founded "Carrozzeria Pinin Farina" with financial help from his wife's family and Vincenzo Lancia. That first year the firm employed eighteen and built 50 automobile bodies.
On May 22, 1930 papers were filed to become a corporation, Società anonima Carrozzeria Pinin Farina headquartered in Turin, Italy, at 107 Corso Trapani. During the 1930s they built bodies for Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Isotta-Fraschini, Hispano Suiza, Fiat, Cadillac and Rolls-Royce Limited. With its close relationship with Lancia, the pioneer of the monocoque in automobile design, Pininfarina became the first coachbuilder to build bodies for the new technique also known as unibody construction. This development happened in the mid-1930s when others saw the frameless construction as the end of the independent coachbilder.
By 1939 when World War II ended automobile production they had 400 employees and where building 150 bodies a month. The hostilities of war brought work making ambulances and searchlight carriages until the destruction of the Pininfarina factory by Allied bombers.
After World War II
After the war, Italy, a beaten and defeated country, was banned from the 1946 Paris Motor Show. The Paris show was attended by 809,000 visitors (twice the pre-war figure), lines of people stretched from the main gate all the way to the Seine. Pinin Farina and his son Sergio, determined to defy the ban, drove two of their cars – an Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 S and a Lancia Aprilia cabriolet – from Turin to Paris, and found a place at the entrance to the exhibition to display the two new creations. The managers of the Grand Palais said of the display, "the devil Pininfarina", but to the press and the public it was the successful "Turin coachbuilder's anti-salon".
At the end of 1945 the Cisitalia 202 Coupé was designed. An elegantly proportioned design with a low hood, it is the car that usually is given credit for establishing Pininfarina's reputation. The Pininfarina design was honored in the Museum of Modern Art's landmark presentation "Eight Automobiles" in 1951. In total 170 Coupés where produced by Pininfarina.
The publicity of the Museum of Modern Art exhibit brought Pininfarina to the attention of Nash-Kelvinator. The subsequent cooperation with Nash Motors resulted in high-volume production of Pininfarina designs and provided a major entry into the United States market. In 1952, Pininfarina visited the U.S. for the unveiling of his design for the Nash Ambassador and Statesman lines, which, although they did carry some details of Pininfarina's design, were largely designed by Nash's then-new in-house styling staff when the original Farina-designed model proved unsuited to American tastes. The Nash-Healey sports car body was, however, completely designed and assembled in limited numbers from 1952 to 1954 at Pininfarina's Turin facilities. Nash heavily advertised its link to the famous Italian designer, much as Studebaker promoted its longtime association with Raymond Loewy. As a result of Nash's $5 million advertising campaign, Pininfarina became well known in the U.S.
Pininfarina also built the bodies for the limited-series Cadillac Eldorado Brougham for General Motors in 1959 and 1960, assembled them and sent them back to the U.S. There were 99 Broughams built in 1959 and 101 in 1960. A similar arrangement was repeated in the late 1980s when Pininfarina designed (and partially assembled) the Cadillac Allanté. The car bodies were assembled and painted in Italy before being flown to Detroit for final vehicle assembly.
The Ferrari partnership
It started in 1951 with a meeting at a restaurant in Tortona, a small town halfway between Turin and Modena. This neutral territory was chosen because neither Pinin Farina or Enzo Ferrari wanted to meet at the other's headquarters. Pinin’s son, Sergio Pininfarina recalled, “It is not difficult to imagine how I felt that afternoon when my father, without taking his eyes off the road for one moment told me his decision as we drove back to Turin: “From now on you’ll be looking after Ferrari, from A to Z. Design, engineering, technology, construction—the lot!”—I was over the moon with happiness.” "
Since that meeting the only road-going production Ferraris not designed by Pininfarina are the 1973 Dino 308 GT4 and 2013's LaFerrari. Their relationship was so close that Pininfarina became a partner of Ferrari in "Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC", the organization that ran Ferrari's race team from 1961–1989, Pinin was a vice president of Ferrari, and Sergio later sat on Ferrari's board of directors.
The move to large-scale manufacturing
Paris - Mondial de l'automobile 2010 - Alfa Roméo Giulietta Spider - 001
In 1954 to 1955 Pininfarina purchased land in Grugliasco, outside of Turin for a new factory. "the factory in no way would look like the one of Corso Trapani. It would be a car no longer on my measurements but on those of my children, built looking like them; I had this in mind and wanted it" said Pininfarina.
Around the same time Alfa Romeo accepted Pininfarina design over Bertone for the new Giulietta Spider. The Alfa was the first vehicle that Pininfarina produced in large numbers, in fact Alfa Romeo chose Pininfarina to produce the Spider in large part because they felt confident that they could produce 20 cars a day for a run of 1,000 bodies. The Spider was a huge success for Alfa Romeo and Pininfarina, Max Hoffman the importer for the United States said he could sell as many as they could make. 1956 The first year of production they produced 1025 units which then expanded to over 4,000 in 1959 the first full year of the new Grugliasco factory.
Starting with the planning for the new plant in Grugliasco in 1956, Pinin started to groom his replacements–Sergio his son and Renzo Carli his son-in-law. To his heirs apparent, Pinin said of the Corso Trapani facility "This old plant has reached the limits of its growth. It has no room for expansion and is far from being up to date. If I were alone I'd leave it as it is. But I want you to decide which way to go–to stay as we are or to enlarge. Either way is fine with me. It's your decision to make and I don't want to know what it is. I'm finished and it's your time to take over. The future is absolutely up to you." In 1958 upon leaving for a world tour Pinin added "In my family we inherit our legacies from live people–not from the dead."
1961 at the age of 68, “Pinin” Farina formally turns his firm over to his son Sergio and his son-in-law, Renzo Carli, it was the same year that the President of Italy formally authorized the change of Farina’s last name to Pininfarina.
Starting in the mid-1960s Pininfarina started to make huge investments in the science of automotive design, in a sense this was a great differentiator to the other coachbuilders of Italy.
In 1966 Pininfarina opened Studi e Ricerche, or the Studies and Research Centre in Grugliasco. The research centre occupied an area of some 8000 sq. metres and employed 180 technicians capable of producing 25 prototypes a year.
The Calculation and Design Centre was set up in 1967, the first step in a process of technological evolution which, during the 1970s, would take Pininfarina into the lead in automated bodywork design.
Then in 1972 construction of a full-sized wind tunnel was completed. The project was started in 1966, and when it opened it not only was the first wind tunnel with the ability to test full-sized cars in Italy but one of the first in the world with this ability. To put this foresight in perspective, GM's full-sized wind tunnel didn't open until 1980.
New infrastructure and expansion
The 1980s started a period of great expansion for Pininfarina.
In 1982 They opened “Pininfarina Studi e Ricerche" in Cambiano separate from the factory and wind tunnel in Grugliasco, to keep design and research activities independent from manufacturing. On October 14, 2002, Pininfarina inaugurated a new engineering center. The new facility, which was built at the Cambiano campus, to give greater visibility and independence to the engineering operations.
In 1983 Pininfarina reached an agreement with General Motors to design and build the Cadillac Allanté. The Allanté project led the building the San Giorgio factory in 1985.
In 1996 Mitsubishi entered talks to have Pininfarina build their new compact SUV, the Pajero, in Italy. While Mitsubishi recognized Pininfarina's expertise in design and engineering, the real reason for choosing them was manufacturing cost at half of cost in Germany. After entering into an agreement in 1996 Pininfarina purchased an industrial site at Bairo Canavese near Turin, Italy. in April 1997, Bairo Canavese was dedicated to the production of the new Mitsubishi Pajero Pinin.
Pininfarina Sverige AB in Uddevalla, Sweden, was established in 2003 as a joint venture (JV) between Volvo Cars and Pininfarina to produce a new Volvo convertible that will be sold in Europe and the United States. The JV is owned 60% by Pininfarina and 40% by Volvo. The C70 model designed by Volvo's John Kinsey—was launched on 13 April 2006, sharing the Volvo P1 platform used in the S40.
New economic realities
In April 2008, after three years of serious losses totaling 115 million euros at the end of 2007, Pininfarina made the first of several moves to raise capital and restructure its enormous debt:
April 29, 2008
Pininfarina's announced Piero Ferrari, Alberto Bombassei, chairman of Brembo, and the Marsiaj family, founders of the Sabelt seatbelt company, will join with Vincent Bollore, a French financier, and Ratan Tata, head of India's Tata conglomerate, who already announced their plans to invest, reports Reuters. The five will together invest €100 million.
Funding will come through the sale of stock to other investors. The Pininfarina family is willing to reduce its share from its current 55% to 30%, which is still enough to secure a controlling interest.
December 31, 2008
On December 31, 2008 Pininfarina announced a debt restructuring that would require the family to sell it's stake in the company. The agreement was made after Pininfarina's value dropped 67 per cent during 2008, and it now has a market capitalization of only about €36m. It had total debts of €598m at the end of November. Of that amount, €555m was the subject of the debt restructuring agreement that was agreed on with a consortium of banks.
March 24, 2009
Pincar, Pininfarina's family holding company, announced it has hired Leonardo and Co to find a buyer for its 50.6% stake in Pininfarina per the debt restructuring agreement reached in December.
January 4, 2011
Pininfarina released a statement saying that it is still gathering "possible offers from potential buyers," adding it would release more information when it was appropriate.
Company sources added, the family will not sell its entire 50.7% stake but that Pincar would no longer be a majority shareholder.[not in citation given]
February 14, 2012
Italy's Pininfarina family is set to lose control of the car design company as lengthy debt restructuring talks head toward the finish line, people familiar with the situation said on Tuesday. A 16.9 million euros loss in the first nine months of 2011 occurred after closing its manufacturing operations to re-invent itself as a smaller niche design player.
An agreement 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 reached in the coming months, said three sources close to the situation. "The debt situation is stable and the talks are not contentious, so there is no hurry," said one of the sources, speaking on condition anonymity. "The agreement will fix the capital structure for the foreseeable future."
When finalised, the debt accord will give control of the family's 77 percent stake to its creditor banks, ending the Pininfarina family's ownership.
The deal will close a chapter that began in 2008 when the banks swapped 180 million euros in debt in exchange for a promise of proceeds from a future sale of part of the Pininfarina's family stake.
But no takers materialised. Potential buyers were not willing to acquire a design company when they can easily contract its services, said one of the people familiar with the situation.
February 15, 2012
In a statement released on 15 February, the Cambiano-based company, which owes over €100 million to a number of Italian banks, said its debt repayment date has been extended to 2018, from 2015.
The agreement, which will be signed in the next few weeks, will also see the company take advantage of interest rates “significantly lower than [current] market rates”. With the new debt restructuring deal with its creditors Pininfarina will remain under the control of the Pininfarina family.
May 16, 2012
Automotive News reports Pininfarina projects it will turn a profit for 2012, thanks in part to debt restructuring. The Italian design studio hasn't seen a profit in eight years, but signed a deal in April to restructure $182.6 million in debt. The move effectively stretched the studio's repayment deadline from 2015 to 2018. At the same time, Pininfarina announced it will likely see an operating loss this year, but a one-time gain of $57.6 million will result in the net profit. Last year, the company lost $8.3 million in the first quarter, though that figure has dropped to just under $4 million during Q1 2012.
Pininfarina also saw its net revenue increase by $2.9 million.
March 26. 2013
Pininfarina in the black for first time since 2004 Italian design house Pininfarina predicted last May that it would face an operating loss for 2012 but still come out with a net profit. Both predictions have come true – the company is reporting an operating loss of 8.2 million euros and a net profit of 32.9 million euros ($42.5 million US).
According to Reuters, the good news came because of a debt restructuring arranged last year that gives the company three more years to repay its $182.6 million in debt, and a one-time gain of roughly 45 million euros ($57.6 million US). It is the company's first profit since 2004.
The end of car production operations
On December 10, 2011 Pininfarina announced it would end all automotive production. In truth production ended in November 2010 with the conclusion of the contract to produce the Alfa Romeo Brera and Spider at the San Giorgio plant.
Opened in 1958 with nearly 1,000 employees, by 1960 output exceeded 11,000 car bodies. In 2009 Pininfarina sold the factory to Finpiemonte, the public finance of the Piedmont Region, at the price of 14.4 million euro. Finpiemonte, as part of the deal, leases the plant to Gian Mario Rossignol at a rent of €650,000 per year for six years renewable.
The Grugliasco sale did not include an adjacent structure that houses the wind tunnel.
San Giorgio plant
Opened in 1986 to build Cadillac Allante bodies for General Motors, the same year Pininfarina was first listed on the Stock Exchange in Milan. Automotive production ended at San Giorgio with the conclusion of the Ford production in July 2010, and Alfa Romeo production in November 2010.
Following the end of contract manufacturing activities San Giorgio Canavese is being used for production of spare parts for cars manufactured in the past.
Pininfarina opened its third manufacturing plant in 1997. Currently Pininfarina leases the plant and 57 employees to the Cecomp Group. This agreement to produce 4,000 electric Bolloré Bluecars runs April 1, 2011 to December 31, 2013. On September 13, 2013 a new lease agreement was announced, this new agreement will run from January 1, 2014 until the end of 2016.
Uddevalla, Sweden Pininfarina Sverige AB
A joint venture between Pininfarina S.p.A. and Volvo Car Corporation started in 2003.
Volvo and Pininfarina S.p.A. have agreed upon the termination of the joint venture agreement regarding Pininfarina Sverige AB and its operations in Uddevalla, Sweden. As of December 31, 2011 the termination this agreement would result in a 30 million euros fee paid to Pininfarina.
On June 25, 2013 the last Volvo C70 was produced and the Uddevalla assembly plant was closed.
Pininfarina rarely gave credit to individuals, that policy seems to have changed in recent years and many of the designers of the past have become known. As of 2011 Pininfarina employs 101 people in their styling department, that is down from 185 in 2005.
Fabio Filippini 2011-current Vice President Design and Chief Creative Officer
Pininfarina designs, manufactures, assembles, and tests prototypes and production vehicles under contract for other automakers.
As of December 10, 2011 Pininfarina announced it would end all mass automotive production with the sale of its 40% stake in the Uddevalla, Sweden plant to Volvo in 2013. In the past Pininfarina has produced both cars and car-bodies under contract from other automakers. This production includes Pininfarina-designed cars and vehicles designed by others.
A sortable list of complete cars or car bodies manufactured in one of the five Pininfarina factories:
A recent privately commissioned custom example was the Ferrari P4/5 of 2006, a one-car rebody (changing the exterior design) of the Enzo Ferrari according to the client's specifications. Its design began in September 2005 with sketches by Jason Castriota moving through computer aided sculpture and stringent wind tunnel testing. More than 200 components were designed especially for the car though the engine, drivetrain and many other components are simply modified from the original Enzo Ferrari. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is unchanged from the Enzo it was derived from. The P4/5 was publicly revealed on August 18, 2006 at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and shown again at the Paris Motor Show in late September. Another recent prototype is the Pininfarina Nido, a two seater sub-compact that could possibly make airbags obsolete.
The Pininfarina B0 solar-electric concept, designed with Bolloré was shown at the 2008 Paris Motor Show featuring a range between charges of more than 150 miles (241 km) with an electronically limited 88-mile-per-hour (142 km/h) top speed, and an estimated acceleration to 37 miles per hour (60 km/h) in 6.3 seconds. The car has solar panels on the roof and on the nose, while its battery pack is said to last up to 125,000 miles (201,168 km).
On May 15, 2013 Pininfarina announced the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé to be revealed on May 24 at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Pininfarina announced this one-off concept car as the first collaboration between BMW and Pininfarina, but in 1949 BMW commissioned Pininfarina design and build a prototype of the BMW 501—it was rejected for being too modern.
Pininfarina has an area dedicated to the new electric car Pininfarina Bolloré. Batteries are produced by the French Bolloré Group.
Pininfarina, has introduced its own electric vehicle concept, the Pininfarina B0 (pronounced "B Zero"). The four-seat hatchback features a solid-state lithium-polymer battery, supercapacitors, and a roof- integrated solar panel to achieve a range of 153 miles (246 km). Developed in partnership with the Bolore Group, the vehicle is slated for limited production in 2009.
Pininfarina will display a turbine-powered plug-in hybrid called the Cambiano at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
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