If you haven't heard of Pininfarina, then chances are you're not a car enthusiast. The Italian design house has been responsible some of the greatest-looking cars ever produced, including myriad Ferraris, Lancias and Alfa Romeos from the 1930s onwards.
Things are changing in a big way for Pininfarina, however. Investment from a new owner, Indian manufacturing giant Mahindra Group, and the new 'Automobili Pininfarina' division will result in Pininfarina-branded production cars built in-house for the first time. The first is the PF-Zero, set to be revealed in concept form next week.
Investment to achieve this ambition extends beyond a simple cash injection. Pininfarina has brought in big names to run the company such as Per Svantesson, formerly of Volvo, and CEO Michael Perschke, who has held senior positions at Audi and Volkwagen over the last 25 years.
Autocar sat down with Perschke to discuss his vision for the fledgling car maker.
You’re clearly investing big and hiring some prominent industry figures. What is your ambition for the company?
"The strategic intention for Anand Mahindra investing in Pininfarina, and also the brand licence agreement, was always to leverage this really historic design name into an OEM in itself. This was planned way back in 2013.
"Mahindra’s ambition was always this: ‘look, we have a great name but we are not making full use of it'. We have a very successful and reputed B2B [business to business] model which is design and engineering services for the car industry. But now, we want to turn that into a super-luxury, ultra high-class individual household name.
"We want to get into the league of the supercars and the hypercars - and the brand does have that kind of pull based on 88 years of legendary heritage in design. We have a lean and mean but very attractive team. But now we need to develop a robust product range".