Pininfarina Sells Unit To Innovation For $3M

MILAN (AP) -- Italian car designer and builder Pininfarina has agreed to sell its Grugliasco auto assembly and painting business to Innovation in Auto Industry SpA for euro2 million ($3 million), the company announced Thursday.

The deal is part of the northern Italian company's efforts to downsize and focus its business on design, engineering and producing more environmentally friendly technologies, including electric cars, as outlined in its new industrial plan last December.

Pininfarina, which is best known for its designs but also works as a contract car builder, saw its financial position significantly weakened by the global downturn in the auto business last year, which struck the contract business especially hard.

Under terms of the deal to be completed by the end of the year, IAI, which is controlled by the Rossignolo family, will take over the Grugliasco business and its 900 employees. Pininfarina will continue to use the facilities to complete contracts for production of the Alfa Romeo Spider and Brera models as well as the Ford Focus Coupe Cabriloet, which run into 2011.

Pininfarina has separately received a euro15 million ($22.32 million) bid for the Grugliasco plant -- the actual facilities as opposed to the operations -- from a local investment company.

Besides Grugliasco, west of Turin, Pininfarina also operates plants in Bairo and San Giorgio Canvanese. Once the deal is completed, the company will have 700 workers.

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