Stile Bertone Out of Business

Lamborghini Miura SV 1 photo
Photo: Lamborghini
It's a very sad day for the automotive world when one of Italy's oldest and most revered car design house goes belly up with mountains of debt accumulated over the past few years. Bertone was declared bankrupt and is up for sale, whether you want it whole or piecemeal.
Founded 102 years ago by Giovanni Bertone and headquartered in Turin, Bertone has done car styling and coachbuilding jobs for the biggest names in the biz. Just to name a few of those achingly beautiful vehicles penned by Bertone, we'll highlight the Lamborghini Miura, Countach and Diablo, Lancia Stratos, Fiat Dino Coupe, Alfa Romeo Montreal, Iso Rivolta, BMW 3200 CS, Maserati Quattroporte II and Opel Astra Cabriolet.

After ceasing trading duties on account of financial difficulties, Bertone confirmed to the Italian media back in March that it will be declared bankrupt if a suitable buyer wouldn't show up by the end of April 2014. That didn't happen, unfortunately, and the once great Bertone is now $42 million in debt, even though it netted a $19.7 profit in 2010. The financial turmoil started as early as 2007, but even after laying off hundreds of employees and cutting costs wherever possibile, the inevitable happened and nobody was found to take over and keep things afloat, thus leading the Italian styling house to its bankruptcy.

As for assets available to purchase, there are land, buildings and even a car collection. If you're an enthusiastic car collector and you want those rare, awesome automobiles, there's a problem with that. They're considered national heritage, which means that the vehicles must be sold together under Italian law. It's a pretty sad end to one of the most historically important auto design houses in the world, alright, however...

...some voices in the industry indicate that Stile Bertone would be better off in the hands of an established manufacturer, such as Volkswagen (who already owns Italdesign) or Audi (who's the parent company of Lamborghini). However, there's a bit of a catch to this sale – the Bertone brand is not among the company's assets. Stile Bertone has rights to the famous name and logo until the end of the year and the new buyer can use it only by having a chat with Ermelinda Cortese (Lili Bertone) and Bertone chief executive officer Marco Fillippa.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
Mircea Panait profile photo

After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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