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2017-04-27

Mahindra mulls turning Pininfarina into premium EV brand




Having acquired Pininfarina in late 2015, Indian auto giant Mahindra is now considering turning the Italian design firm into a premium electric car brand.
The information was revealed by Mahindra Chairman Anand Mahindra to MarketWatch during last month’s 2017 Seoul auto show. He also said the first model could be a supercar.
“We're exploring right now the potential of building an electric supercar, which will be branded Pininfarina,” Mahindra said.
If approved, the supercar will likely be a production version of the H2 Speed concept unveiled at the 2016 Geneva auto show. Last August, Pininfarina CEO Silvio Pietro Angori said 10 examples will be built at a price of $2.5 million each.
The H2 Speed featured electric motors powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Based on Mahindra’s comments, it’s not clear whether a production model will keep the fuel cell or go with a battery.
The good news is that Mahindra wants Pininfarina-branded cars to be sold in the United States.
“Competing in the U.S. is like the old Frank Sinatra song that if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,” he told MarketWatch. “So when you sell cars in the U.S., it forces you to be the most competitive.”
This wouldn’t be the first time that Pininfarina is venturing into car production. The Italian design firm has built a number of cars for various automakers, the last being the Volvo C70.
Pininfarina has also dabbled in the world of electric cars. Some readers will recall that Pininfarina helped French firm Bolloré in the previous decade to develop the BlueCar electric hatch used for car sharing.
As more automakers look internally for new car designs, independent automotive design firms have been forced to seek other avenues of growth. At the 2017 Geneva auto show, rival Italian design firm Italdesign Giugiaro launched a car under its own brand, a coachbuilt supercar dubbed the Italdesign Zerouno.