Mahindra May Aquire Pininfarina

While we’ve been waiting on pins and needles to see if Mahindra & Mahindra may actually comes out as the chief OEM investor in NEVS, there’s a piece on Bloomberg that claims they’re also looking at buying up Pininfarina. You’ll remember that the Italian design firm also employed Jason Castriota not so long ago. Might we live in a world with an Italian designed, Swedish engineered and produced, Indian owned car maker?


56 thoughts on “Mahindra May Aquire Pininfarina”

      • 🙂

        last quote “Italian designed, Swedish engineered and produced, Indian owned car maker” sounds a little like a riddle, or a quiz, too 🙂

  1. Pininfarina isn’t only a design studio. I it also a contract manufacturer like Valmet. For instance the Volvo C70 was not only designed by Pininfarina but also build in a factory in Uddevalla (neraby THN) that belonged to Pininfarina.

    Currently Volvo has no convertible and Pininfarina had to sell that factory.

    • The 2nd generation C70 is one of my all time favorite Volvos! There are fairly rare and look like an $80,000 supercar from the rear.

      M&M + Pininfarina + Saab could be quite exciting!

  2. I find it real strange this leaked out but nothing on Mahindra / Nevs never did. It may mean Mahindra has certainly moved on and wanted a name with world wide recognition in the automobile world. Any car enthusiast knows who Pininfarina is, and may be way cheaper for Mahindra to attach a premium brand to the italian designer.. They would get world class designers.

    Another thing is. not a peep on someone involved in Nevs..especially that the composition proposal has been accepted. Really weird. Personally I doubt this news has anything to do with Saab/Nevs other than Mahindra telling Saab AB see ya.

    • Doug: I think Pininfarina might have been the studio that designed my Chevy Monza. Car enthusiasts do know the name—but the general car buying public has no idea who they are. The general car buying public has heard of Saab. So if Mahindra thinks the name is a substitute for the right to sell cars under the Saab name, they are sadly mistaken. I see this as nothing more than Mahindra making a play to get more serious about becoming a legitimate player globally. It’s a great move if they can pull it off. At this point, it’s hard to say what we should think about NEVS future—-or lack of one—-Saab’s future—-or lack of one. I think maybe the merry-go-round has passed the box with the golden ring and NEVS tripped and fell off the horse, causing the ride operator to shut the ride down—-preventing Mahindra from getting to the golden ring too. At this point, the merry-go-round is stopped and it’s just possible that the park has decided to get rid of it once and for all.

      • If Mahindra is looking at selling a premium line, the car enthusiast know who Pininfarina is they may not not care about the general public… Depends on the target market. Everything at this point is speculation Angelo.

        Why do you think not a word on any OEM about Nevs????? Not a word… Like top secret operations.

        • “Old codgers like me remember Pininfarina from the days of Austin at Longbridge.”

          Older codgers like me remember Pininfarina from the days of the early 1950s Nash. 🙂

        • When I was a young kid, I remember the Pininfarina styled Morris Oxford and Austin Cambridge and Wolseley etc. which looked a lot like the Pininfarina styled Peugeot 404.

    • Nothing on Mahindra/Nevs ever leaked out? The info that Mahindra is interested in SAAB/NEVS leaked 9 months ago. The very fact we’ve been talking about Mahindra and not just OEM 1 means something “leaked out”. So far what has leaked on Mahindra and Pininfarina isn’t more than Mahindra/Nevs “leakage”.

      • Avelik I guess I mean months and months. But most importantly we herd Mahindra and Saab AB talks died… Point is now the composition proposal has been accepted I would think something from somewhere would leak again.

        Like I said this could be for Saab AB, ” hey you don’t want to make a deal ” we ‘re moving on. Who Knows.

      • The basic premise that one company is interested in buying into or taking over another one shouldn’t have to “leak.” That should be announced, not leaked. This is totally ridiculous, how this saga drags on and on. “Leaks” should be things that we probably shouldn’t be privy to. NEVS has never understood the nuances. Incompetent.

        • That is totally not true. Things are announced when they are certain. I don’t see companies making press releases to inform everyone of every their step, like “Now we are wondering if it would make sense for us to buy this company, but we’ll see”. There is no press release from Pininfarina and Mahindra about any negotiations, there were no press releases from Magna, BAIC or Brilliance (the other companies rumored to have negotiated about taking over Pininfarina). Under your logic all of these companies are totally incompetent (and not only they, because there are plenty of deals that become known only after being signed).

          • What year did you first hear FIAT was interested in buying Chrysler? What year did it happen? Yeah. USAirways/American Airlines: Ditto. And these are giants, not a nothing like NEVS.

            • This has nothing to do with the size of the companies, it is about the deal. Things are announced when they are more or less certain. In Nevs/Mahindra case it is not certain that there will be a deal, so there is nothing to announce. Negotiations between companies happen all the time and not always come to fruition and usually no one talks about that. So there is nothing to be announced by Nevs and Mahindra. And the silence in this case doesn’t come from Nevs. They would actually have interest in announcing with whom they are negotiating, but if you remember they signed non disclosure agreements with these OEMs, because these OEMs wanted so.

              • You make a good point that NEVS would stand to gain if the perception was that they actually have something that somebody else wants. I would love to know if Jiang/NEVS has the autonomy to cut a deal—or if some bizarre stipulations in his original agreement has strings attached to Qingdo or some other mistakes holding them back, making this more difficult. I find it hilarious that the website is still showing:
                Our focus is electric vehicles
                We are focused on becoming a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles. During 2014 the first electric vehicles developed by Nevs will be introduced in China, the world’s most progressive market for electric vehicles.

    • According to Blomberg those are the official statements from Pininfarina and M&M

      A spokesman for Pininfarina …He declined to comment on takeover talks. A representative for Mahindra said the company doesn’t comment on speculation.

      Not much difference to the statements from NEVS or M&M on the Saab case.

      • The biggest difference is, this came after we herd Mahindra is no longer interested in Saab… I think it may very well have meaning.

          • And nobody has yet denied that M&M plans to be the main owner of NEVS. I feel like you’re filtering depending on what you want to hear.
            I’m not sure if M&M is still interested or not, but as long as there is no official denial I will continue thinking about is as a outcome too the whole story.

            • Red J: I don’t know either—none of us really know as we’ve really known nothing about NEVS for 3 years now. But one thing that comes to mind is that in a weird way, these rumors about Mahindra being interested in buying NEVS helps both companies even if there’s no longer any truth to it. For Mahindra, perhaps it gives the perception that they are a bigger player and more ambitious than they really are. For NEVS, maybe it give the illusion that someone is actually interested in them, which doesn’t hurt their tarnished, rusted, pathetic image. I was going to use a baseball or football analogy, but in the interest of being more international on this international site—I’ll go with soccer instead. It’s like a relatively new and untested soccer club—not as established, well known or well funded as the bigger competition—expressing interest in a former star player who had a couple good seasons and then a run of mediocrity—followed by a career threatening knee injury and finally a suspension for use of illegal supplements and substance abuse. The player had a stint in rehab—his wife left him, his children won’t talk to him and the dog ran away. Well, low and behold, his agent has talks going on with this new soccer club to give him a new contract. Hey—even if the talks broke down—-the team (Mahindra) could get a little traction throwing numbers around, making it appear that they have money and are going to make a run at getting competitive. The player (NEVS) gets some attention and maybe gets another team interested through this rumor.

  3. Id rather have a Swede (or an Englishman who had spent an enormous amount of time in England) as head of design at Saab. As far as I am concerned Bjorn Envall was a master of design whereas Jason Castriota didnt have a clue.

    • I think the fellow at Volvo – Thomas Ingenlath – is creating some very Scandinavian designs. You can see many Saab elements in his designs (see XC coupe concept) and I’m looking forward to the next generation of Volvo’s to hit the market. Volvo is definitely rising!

    • Wrong! Not the best but the most famous designers are from Italy. Who is best is not even possible to say. We all like different designs…

    • I agree when speaking about Ferrari and Lambo but Alfa has lost its way (for now) and Fiats are hardly exciting. Wasnt Castriota kind of Italian?

  4. What would a name be for an Indian owned, Swedish powered vehicle dressed in Italian metal?
    The obvious answer:
    In India, a “wallah” is someone who makes or sells a specific product or service (such as Mahindra);
    a SAAB with an Italian body would be correctly called a SAABA;
    So….combine it all… and we have the new Mahindra/NEVS automobile known as the “Saabawallah”

  5. Does Saab AB have any issue with NEVS website still having SAAB all over it—-talking about electric vehicles introduction in China during 2014, the Saab 9-3 Aero back in production, etc.? Or maybe they realize that it’s just me and half a dozen other people visiting that site. LOL.

    • Excellent observation, Angelo! I was just thinking that myself yesterday when I checked (not sure why) the NEVs website. Name is emblazoned all over…is it interesting, or just indifference?

      • I’m not sure that they’ve ever cared about the site. One of the most simplistic, boring sites I’ve seen. I wonder too about the liberal use of the Saab name….

        • You’re right—-they didn’t care about the site. That’s obvious. A 21st century company with aspirations of selling a product to consumers that would cost $40,000-60,000 and they didn’t care about their website and put something out there that was beneath embarrassing. I was surprised when some of us commented negatively about the website—-how some of the Saab faithful here wrote us off and defended NEVS—made excuses “They’re not selling cars all over the world yet, who cares about a website?” or “Why should they spend money on a webiste—they need to put it into getting the cars produced.” and other such ridiculousness. It was symptomatic of how ill-prepared these people were to run a corporation—it was a joke and it exposed them for being out of their depths. It’s stunning to me that none of the executive board of NEVS would have addressed that—and insisted on suspending it and reintroducing a site that was adequate. To me, that speaks volumes about what was happening at NEVS the last three years—-and what wasn’t happening. It was disgraceful.

  6. Recently I mentioned that GM bought Saab back in 1989 largely because it missed out on buying Jaguar, but still wanted a premium European brand in it’s portfolio. A bit of “me too” to show Ford. A number of people seemed surprised by that story.
    Which is odd because I thought it was fairly common knowledge. Anyway reinforcing what I said, here’s an interesting piece from Motoring Research:

    • I remember it well. But was Ford’s eventual purchase of Volvo a reaction to GM buying Saab, which was a reaction to Ford buying Jaguar?

      • Ford bought Volvo a number of years later. At least Jaguar and Volvo survived their Ford years and lived to fight another day. Had GM bought Jaguar, I dare it would be in the same boat as Saab now.

        • As I have written before: Lexus was introduced at Detroit Autoshow in Jan.1989. Both GM and Ford realised they could not compete with their products. Ford acted fast and bought Jaguar. To be able to compete. GM had one alternative – SAAB, which they – through Bob Eaton, bought in summer of 1990. GM tried to have SAAB develop a Lexus-beater, but because of lack of platform and engine, the project was killed after about two years.

        • I actually think even if GM bought Jag instead of Saab, and had to sell Jag when GM went bankrupt in 2009, Jag would have survived better with a “better” suitor. Jag’s prestige and heritage is IMHO much more rich than that of Saab, and carries more cachet. But it’s all academic speculations in hindsight, innit ?

  7. Am I the only one to consider the reason Mahindra wants to purchase Pininfarina is because they’ve moved on from Saab?

    Honestly, I recall reading that a rep for Pininfarina confirmed that they are in talks with Mahindra.. I find it amazing that in the short amount of time that this story popped up, we already have confirmation on it, where as all we are hearing about the NEVS/Mahindra scenario is that the “talks” are on going.

    I just wish someone would just give us a bit more information. That way, we aren’t all sitting here, trying to determine what these little bits of info we do have, actually mean.

    This whole thing is out of control.

    • It’s extremely disappointing Jordan, and amateurish—but while I agree with you that this whole thing is “out of control” I must say—-none of it is surprising. Having followed this saga since NEVS was chosen to take over Saab—-it’s been one blunder after another, one misstep after another—doing what they shouldn’t do, not doing what they should do. And their silence is the stuff of legends—an almost unfathomable tight lipped approach the likes of which I’ve never seen or heard of in almost 30 years of following business trends and about 40 years of following the car industry. Talk about laying an egg—-these people hens extraordinaire.

  8. What I can speak to about the issue of information disseminated on mergers relates to my experience in the insurance industry, but it really shouldn’t be that much different. My firm recently announced a major merger. Yes, the negotiations had been going on for a few months, but when an agreement to move forward was reached, the firms announced it very publicly. There are a number of hurdles to jump through (shareholder meetings, regulatory review and filings, etc.), but the firms have been issuing press releases as the process has unfolded. Merger rumors can be damaging if left to run amok, so it’s in the firms’ best interests to keep the public informed and “control the spin” as much as possible. And in our industry, maintaining investors’ and rating agencies’ confidence is an absolute necessity.

    There are a lot of things that could (but will not likely) derail the merger, including a competing bid or shareholders voting against the merger. So it’s definitely not a done deal, but the firms are actively keeping everyone up to date, which is what should be happening with NEVS. The fact that this has dragged on this long and in such a smoke-and-mirrors fashion is not a good sign.

    Of course, I still have hopes that Mahindra will pull through and save Saab, but the parties need to be more forthright about at least letting the public know the basics of where things stand. Otherwise, damage to the Saab brand continues.

    • Paul: I’ve read so many times here that unless something is definite—cast in granite—competed and secured beyond a shadow of a doubt—we have no reason to expect any announcement, any confirmation, any news. This dates back 3 years now—-each and every time NEVS was tightlipped about their plans to do anything, all I heard when I raised the issue was how they need to be silent and not make promises—they need to wait until the projects are further along. No need to talk about what their future plans are if they don’t have definite dates. And each time something like that was said, I scratched my head and wondered if the people writing that drivel had any shred of experience in how corporations work, how promoting an image works—how BUSINESS works? Then I thought maybe it was just a different style—a European thing or Swedish thing. I’ve been assured by people I trust that no, Europeans and Swedes don’t approach things the way NEVS did. So here we are, sitting and waiting. Just like we’ve done since NEVS took over. We’ve gotten awful damn good at being patient.

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