It’s been a little more than a month since it was reported that De Tomaso was sold to a Swiss company, and the Italian brand has yet another new owner. The struggling automaker has been bought by a Chinese group called Consolidated Ideal TeamVenture, after De Tomaso’s Swiss buyer, L3 Holdings, failed to honor its financial commitments. A new auction was set up and Ideal TeamVenture, who was among the bidders last time, bought the rights to the De Tomaso brand for €1 million (about $1.12 million), according to Italian outlet La Stampa. L3 Holdings won the initial auction with a bid of €2 million ($2.24 million).

The Chinese business has yet to publicly unveil its plans for De Tomaso, but its lawyers said the consortium, which is based in Hong Kong but has legal status in the Virgin Islands, intends to use the name on vehicles built in China.

Needless to say, this basically means there won’t be a spiritual successor to the Pantera, as rumored in the past. At least, not an Italian one.

The transaction is upsetting for both De Tomaso workers and local authorities, who blame the Italian government for the brand’s move to China. No fewer than 900 workers will remain unemployed. "We are disappointed and angry; it is clear that the government and also the region have failed to maintain a brand so important in Italy," said a workers’ spokesperson.

Continue reading to learn more about the latest De Tomaso sale.

Why it matters

Although I was happy to hear De Tomaso was acquired by L3 Holdings back in March 2015, I did say I’m not getting excited until the Swiss come forth with a long-term plan. Unfortunately, I was right and the L3 Holdings buy turned out to be just one of the many failed De Tomaso revivals in the past decade.

Whether the new Chinese owners will be able to meet their financial obligations for this transaction remains to be seen, but even if they do, things aren’t looking good for De Tomaso. Moving the brand to China could very well mean the end of De Tomaso as we know it. Ideal TeamVenture can now use the name as it wishes, and I have strong doubts it will stick to the brand’s heritage. I’m afraid we’ll be getting a range of vehicle De Tomaso never considered developing.

De Tomaso Pantera

Read more about the original Pantera, De Tomaso’s most iconic supercar, in our full review here.

Source: La Stampa

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