Back in April, Pininfarina made a big announcement – they were going to create a whole new automobile manufacturer called Automobili Pininfarina.
Three years ago Pininfarina, one of the world’s most famous automotive stylist and coach-builder, was acquired by Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), part of the Indian Mahindra conglomerate. Their starting point in the automotive world was to licence the Willys Jeep and since buying SsangYong of South Korea, they have further specialised in SUVs. Buying Pininfarina gave M&M a foothold into a design house that would improve their products and give them a major European name.
Automobili Pininfarina has been created to compete head on with Range Rover and Bentley in the ultra SUV market. Clearly the idea was to take the reliable SUV components from the core business and the design brilliance from Pininfarina to produce a new vehicle. Automobili Pininfarina will be managed as a separate entity inside the group and will take input from the other members as a fully fledged manufacturer.
The new Pininfarina cars will be electric SUVs – competing with Range Rover and Bentley on price, with technology to compete against Jaguar, Volvo, Porsche and others. The first vehicle will be substantially different though – an electric hypercar that will go head to head with one of Pininfarina’s historic customers: Ferrari. It looks like the lucky buyers of this vehicle will in effect be subsidising the ongoing development of the SUVs! Production is expected to be capped at 90 units at a retail cost of just under $2M each.
Currently codenamed PF0, the hypercar will use technology co-developed with Rimac (who sold 10% of their company to Porsche recently) and will be clothed in carbon fibre (what else these days for a hypercar?) and it will have eyeball removing performance! They are quoting 2 seconds to 60mph and 12 seconds to 186mph! Top speed is currently claimed to be 250mph with a range of 310 miles (close to 500 kilometres) and that is if you behave yourself. However you will have to wait a couple more years before it gets to market.
Pininfarina is also showcasing the K350 Concept, an SUV being developed with the Kinetic Group from Hong Kong. The design images I have seen (including the cover image) give me a blended feel of Maserati Levante, Alfa Romeo Stelvio with Lexus and Mazda SUV styling influences thrown in. This car is fitted with electric motors to give a theoretical 400hp. Pininfarina have also showcased a couple of cars in China in recent years, the H500 and H600 concepts that clearly take Maserati design language as their base which is interesting as they haven’t done a lot of work with Maserati, other than the A6 in the 1950s and more recently the GranTurismo and the 5th generation Quattroporte. Pininfarina are more closely associated with Maserati’s sister, Ferrari.
There is no word on when the true Pininfarina SUV will come to the market, however, from reading multiple reports, the Asian SUV market will soon have several Pininfarina designed models for sale within the next couple of years – they are also working with Vinfast in Vietnam on another concept and Iran’s Khodro Group for more vehicles.