BMW TO BUY DE TOMASO?
Another left-field Italo/German alliance could be on the way
The Italian Industry Ministry is in discussions with several suitors, one of which is BMW, a trade union has revealed. The Ministry reportedly hopes to begin a sales process by the middle of October.
The sale would be for the structural assets of De Tomaso, including the firm’s former production facility in Modena, Italy. Another deal to buy De Tomaso, which included also buying an ex-Pininfarina factory near Turin, fell through earlier in the year.
There are several theories. One, BMW wants an Italian sports car brand to rival Audi’s ownership of Lamborghini (a 21st century version of the Pantera is said to be under development). Two, it sees an opportunity to expand into the super-luxury SUV market with a production version of that Geneva concept aimed at models such as the Bentley EXP 9F (it has the underpinnings, after all: the X5/X6 M and X5/X6 M50d duo for starters).
Delve deep and the purchase does make more sense than first appears, but it remains a curious one – particularly given the brand’s glaring lack of recent-years heritage.
Indeed, De Tomaso is most recently known for its odd and tumultuous alliance with Qvale, which led to its turnaround mid-90s Biguŕ becoming the Qvale Mangusta. Which later became the MG SV, a car designed to help MG become a sporting brand after it had been sold by, of all firms, BMW. Small world…