De Tomaso’s short-lived revival has pretty much gone under the tank, but despite the gloomy times from the Italian automaker, there could very well be some light at the end of the tunnel.
Automotive News Europe is reporting that the Italian Industry Ministry is looking for suitors in the industry willing to buy the struggling Italian automaker, and one of them is BMW.
The German automaker has previously stated its lack of interest in buying De Tomaso, but we all know how the winds can change course abruptly in the auto industry.
"We had confirmation that talks with possible Italian partners and with BMW continue," Giuseppe Anfuso, Turin secretary of the UILM trade union, said through a statement after a meeting that included the ministry, the unions and the local governments of the Piedmont region and the city of Grugliasco.
The hope is for a buyer to be named before the end of the year, and if that ends up being BMW, then there could be new life infused to the De Tomaso brand.
With De Tomaso finally biting the dust just days ago, reports are flying that the company’s chairman, Gian Mario has been arrested facing allegations claiming that $9.2 million in public funds were misused when De Tomaso tried to turn the company around.
The reports come from Reuters and also state that another two former employees from De Tomaso have been arrested with the man once responsible for leading De Tomaso’s human resource department being one of them. Amidst the allegations include ones stating that these employees may have unfairly received public funds and then transferred the funds directly into their personal bank accounts.
These claims are yet another thorn in the brand’s recent fall from grace and despite many hoping that De Tomaso could turn these misfortunes around, it seems that the company will never be a part of the automotive industry again.
When De Tomaso made its comeback at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, a lot of people speculated on the brand’s revival and the impending future it had after going down the pipe in 2004.
Unfortunately, the initial optimism surrounding De Tomaso ended up being short-lived as the company has officially declared bankruptcy - again - in Livoro.
This latest development comes as a devastating blow for fans of the Italian automaker, a lot of whom have been looking forward to seeing what the company has to offer since it flogged eight years ago. Among the plans called for a five-door crossover called the Deauville, a future limousine model, and most importantly, a revival of arguably its most iconic model, the Pantera supercar.
All of that, however, is no longer relevant as the company, after years of uncertainty over securing a deal with Chinese investment firm Hotyork, has thrown in the towel. The initial plan was for the latter to buy majority shares of the former, amounting to a figure of €70 million, but when the money never came, any chance of us seeing the all-new Pantera supercar prowling the streets went up in smoke.
De Tomaso is unquestionably one of the most recognizable brands in the world, not only because of its provocative name but also because the Pantera supercar truly put the company on the international map.
The Pantera stayed in production for almost two decades, before being pushed aside in 1990 as the company was facing crippling money issues, eventually leading to the company’s liquidation in 2004. The Rossignolo family maintained the vast majority of De Tomaso’s shares and helped revive the brand for the 2011 Geneva Motor Show with the surprising debut of the Deauville sedan.
That car was met with a relatively negative reception and the financial problems plaguing the company continued, but Chinese investment firm Hotyork did announce its ambitious plans to buy the majority of De Tomaso’s shares for 70 million Euros. That money, however, never materialized and as a result, the company and its dozens of workers are now being left in limbo.
Not only is this sad for those vintage car enthusiasts, but also for modern-car lovers as a successor to the Pantera (rendered above) was rumored to be released early this year and would have likely maintained its aggressive and retro-styling.
As a quick refresher, the original De Tomaso Pantera featured a 5.8-liter V8 engine, mid-mounted and provided by Ford producing approximately 330HP. What the original car lacked in performance however, it made up for in the styling department taking clear cues from its Italian brethren, the Lamborghini Countach.
If the crisis at De Tomaso continues, it’s likely it’ll never see the light of day again, but they’ll always be investors out there willing to purchase it, just like the various firms trying to acquire Saab (the majority of which have failed).
Giorgetto Giugiaro unveiled the original design of the De Tomaso Mangusta back in 1965. And now, after more than 40 years, design graduate and digital artist/illustrator, Maxime de Keiser has unveiled a modern interpretation of the car, that we have to admit looks pretty cool.
The original car was built between 1965 and 1971 and was limited to just 401 units. The car was easy to recognize thanks to its distinctive silhouette, its very large windscreen and gullwing doors. Maxime de Keiser has created a modern interpretation of the car that follows the main design elements and character of the original. In designing his car he used modern technologies and design trends of today.
"Like the original, it had to be spectacular and communicate an impression of wild ferocity and power while recalling the serenity of a feline at rest, and the elegance of the animal that doesn’t need to fear anything," said designer and illustrator Maxime de Keiser.
The Pantera (Italian word for Panther) was a very successful sports car produced by De Tomaso between 1971 to 1991. Since its demise, many people have undoubtedly been dreaming of what a modern day Pantera would look like. In fact, Stefan Schulze even made up his own modern interpretation of the Pantera based on a Lamborghini Gallardo in an attempt to persuade De Tomaso to produce the car once again. Whether it was this rendering four years ago or the hum of eager fans, De Tomaso has decided that it is now time to bring back the catty beast to wreck havoc on our hearts once again.
The new Pantera is said to make its world debut in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show, almost exactly 40 years after the car was first launched on the market. Our only hope is that the sports car will look better than the DeAuville SUV that was just launched at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.
The original Pantera was powered by a V8 engine with an output of 330 HP, but rumors say that the new version will get a V8 engine with an impressive 550 HP. Here’s to hoping!
UPDATE 05/04/2011: Is that you, Pantera? YouTube member, Tappazzo, seemed to be at the right place at the right time when he caught a few seconds of video of what looks to be the future Pantera outside of DeTomaso’s Grugliasco plant in Italy. Could it be? Is it true? Take one look at that front end in the video after the jump and let us know what you think!
UPDATE 07/12/11: Circle your calendars, folks! The new De Tomaso Pantera is scheduled to be introduced at the 2011 IAA’s in Frankfurt in September! The model will weight about 2645 lbs and will be powered by a 600 HP Chevrolet Corvette V8. It’s been a long time coming, but we expect the wait to be worth it and more!
We’ve been waiting for the comeback announced by Detomaso since about 2008, and we may finally be seeing the start of that comeback in a spy shot seen on Jokeforblog. Though not a sports car like their famous Pantera, this next vehicle should give us something to work with as the shot reveals a sleek looking crossover model. Penned the SLC, the luxury SUV should be making its debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show from March 4th-14th.
The De Tomaso SLC should be launched sometime next year, and with the money obtained from sales, De Tomaso will built a modern interpretation of the legendary Pantera. So, basically, new owner Gianmario Rossignolo is using this model as a jump start before the serious auto-making begins.
Short refresher: The De Tomaso Pantera was the first super-sport model produced between 1971 until 1996. In its 25 years only 720 units were made and one of them was owned by Elvis Presley.
UPDATE 02/10/11:We’ve finally unearthed a number of teaser photos of the new De Tomaso SLC Crossover Concept that’s scheduled to be launched at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. We still don’t know a whole lot about the concept vehicle, except that it’s going to be built as a large crossover with two engine types: a V6 diesel engine with 250 horsepower and a V8 gas engine with 550 horsepower. Likewise, De Tomaso is expected to build around 3,000 units of the production version of the SLC Crossover Concept every year with two other models set to follow suit. That’s all we have for now, but we do have teaser photos that you can check out in the gallery.
UPDATE 02/15/2011: Before making its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show, the De Tomaso SLC has made an appearance in Rome. Autoblog.it was there and was able to get a few clicks in. Check out the images in the gallery!
The Pantera is DeTomaso’s most significant production car to date, and lived an overall production life of nearly 25 years. It is the model which most people identify with DeTomaso, and completed the company’s transition to a volume producer of high performance GTs. In describing the Pantera’s career, especially from a U.S. perspective, it is easiest to view it in three separate stages: the Ford importation era (1971 - 1974), the post-Ford era (1975-1990) and the final (...) > Full story