TURIN - Pininfarina Group wants more contract engineering work such as the deal it has to develop a new Jaguar model.
The Italian coachbuilder and design house also is looking for an acquisition or a partner to accelerate its growth in the engineering business.
Pininfarina began engineering work for Jaguar over a year ago, said Sergio Pininfarina, chairman and CEO of the Italian group.
'We didn't do the styling of this vehicle, nor will we build it,' he said. He wouldn't say what product Pininfarina is developing for Jaguar. Neither would he give an indication of its launch date.
Andrea Pininfarina, CEO of Industrie Pininfarina, the group's production subsidiary, only said that the Jaguar is 'a derivative of a volume model' and is made of steel.
Andrea Pininfarina said the company, best known for styling and manufacturing know-how, wants 'to become a full-service provider' by strengthening its engineering business.
Family-controlled Pininfarina decided on the new strategic direction a year ago, after a global market study showed that it is not known for its engineering capabilities.
In the past, Pininfarina only engineered niche cars it built itself. The exception was the GM200 - a mid-1980s project that included General Motors' 1989 Pontiac Trans Sport, Chevrolet Lumina APV and Oldsmobile Silhouette minivans.
But more recently, Pininfarina has engineered the Songhuajiang compact minivan for Hafei Motor Co. of China. The vehicle entered production in June 1999. Pininfarina is now working on another design and engineering project for Hafei.
Pininfarina also engineered the barchetta derived from the Ferrari F550 Maranello that is expected to debut at the Paris auto show in October.
On the styling side, Pininfarina has designed another Daewoo vehicle - following the Tacuma compact minivan - that has been approved for production. It is also designing three new products for Mitsubishi.
Pininfarina built 9,587 units of the Mitsubishi Pajero Pinin small sport-utility in 1999. The plan is to build 21,000 units this year, including the five-door, long-wheelbase version to be launched in October.
In September, Pininfarina will begin to fitting engines and transmissions into the Peugeot 306 cabriolet it currently assembles. Until now the car only has been built and trimmed at Pininfarina's plant outside Turin.
Pininfarina also will start production in September of the Alfa Romeo GTV coupe and Spider. The cars were designed by Pininfarina but are currently built at Alfa's plant in Arese, near Milan.