The sale of iconic Italian sports car brand De Tomaso to Hong Kong investment fund Ideal Team Ventures has created a headache for Turin’s local authorities, who now own De Tomaso's dormant factory and are responsible for 800 jobless workers.
“Ideal Team Ventures does not plan to produce cars in Turin,” Fiom-CGIL union’s Turin secretary, Federico Bellono, told Automotive News Europe. “It has said it plans to build in China under the De Tomaso brand.”
Ideal Team won an auction for the brand carried out by a Turin bankruptcy judge. The fund met a May 1 deadline to put forward the cash for the 1.05 million euros purchase.
The sale will be made final as soon as the paperwork is notarized, Enrico Stasi, the tax lawyer who handled the sale for the Turin court, told Automotive News Europe. "The sum has been deposited," Stasi said.
The Region of Turin’s president, Sergio Chiamparino, has called a meeting on May 13 with unions and the employers’ lobby, Confindustria, to discuss the factory’s future. Unions hope an industrial buyer will come forward given the recovery of Europe’s car market. Italy’s broader economy is expected to emerge from recession this year after three years of contraction, but growth is still tepid.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is no longer part of Confindustria. It already has two factories in the Turin area.
Bellono said the unions are also seeking public incentives for companies who hire the older workers, who will have a harder time finding a new job.
The 800 unemployed De Tomaso workers “can be considered the most significant situation” in terms of Turin-area bankruptcies given their large number, Chiamparino said in a statement on May 6.
De Tomaso was founded in 1959 by Argentine racecar driver Alejando de Tomaso. After his death in 1993, his heirs liquidated the company. Its brand is still well known among classic car enthusiasts for its Pantera and Mangusta coupes.
Ideal Team could not be reached by Automotive News Europe.