will be opened in six European countries, including France and Italy,
with the Bluecar set to cost around 330 euros per month for a minimum of three months.
Pininfarina and Bolloré have a co-branded stand in Geneva
dedicated to the forthcoming electric car and the French
group's chairman Vincent Bolloré, told the press at the show
that he would be willing to take a stake in Pininfarina if
it helped the project.
"We have a partnership with them already in a fifty-fifty
subsidiary and if tomorrow they need an industrial partner,
we will be there, because it is a company we admire very
much," said Bollore. His company is developing and will
manufacture the Lithium-Polymer batteries that will power
the four-door, four-seat electric car.
Plans to sell the electric
car, which is to be called Bluecar, have been
shelved in favour of a scheme to rent out the cars Bolloré and Pininfarina Group
Chairman Paolo Pininfarina told the media during a press conference in Geneva
Rental outlets would be opened in six European countries, including France and Italy,
with the Bluecar set to cost around 330 euros per month for a minimum of three months. Renting the
instead of selling has been chosen - said Paolo Pininfarina - as they didn't
want to force consumers to face the prospect of buying entirely new technology during
what is a financially strained
As well as the
co-branded stand in Geneva with Bolloré, Pininfarina has its
own stand on which it is showcasing some of the niche models
it designs and builds on behalf of other car manufacturers,
including the Alfa Romeo Spider. The Italian firm has been
struggling financially over the last year after
overextending itself with major car contract manufacturing
projects for clients including Alfa Romeo, Ford and Volvo,
and this year it has eschewed its annual tradition of
rolling out an eye-catching new concept car in Geneva.
Even before the
current global economic downturn the niche models that
Pininfarina was assembling were not selling in viable
quantities, and after being forced by its clients to fund
the development of the projects through the initial stages,
the famous Turinese firm was deep in trouble.
The unexpected death of its hands-on CEO Andrea Pininfarina
last year dealt the company a body blow, and very late last
year, on December 31, the Pininfarina family was finally
forced by the circling creditor banks to agree to sell their
controlling 50.6 percent share in exchange for writing off
around 180 million euros of debt. At the show Pininfarina
said they hadn't as yet appointed advisors to handle the
sale. With the share price having collapsed by 80 percent,
the firm, which also designs cars for Ferrari and Maserati,
now has a market capitalisation of around 24 million euros,
a tiny fraction of its outstanding debts.