Pininfarina of Italy and Webasto of Germany are creating a joint venture company to produce open-roof systems.
The new company, still to be named, will be based in Germany and will begin operations in early 2002.
Its focus will be on soft tops, retractable hardtops, hardtops, targa tops and Variotops with removable rails.
'In Pininfarina, we have found a partner to sustain our target to increase our know-how in open-roof systems,' said Webasto President Franz-Josef Kortum. 'With Pininfarina, we will develop and produce roof systems that are out of the ordinary.'
Pininfarina expects the joint venture to increase its market share in roofing system design and contract manufacturing of vehicles with open tops, said Andrea Pinin-farina, managing director of Pininfarina, who identified roofing systems as a growth market.
He said: 'This new joint venture with Webasto represents a significant step in our strategy to transform Pininfarina in a full-service provider.'