Storied design house Bertone has confirmed it recently filed for bankruptcy in an Italian court. The announcement does not come as a surprise because the company has been struggling to stay afloat for the past couple of years.
“The problem is many debts and very high costs. At the moment everything is blocked,” explained an unidentified company spokesman in an interview with British newspaper The Telegraph. “People haven’t been coming to work for a month and a half.”
The court is expected to appoint an administrator that will be tasked with quickly finding a buyer for the company. The spokesman confirmed several parties have shown an interest in taking over the design house but declined to give specific names. Some are believed to only want access to the Bertone name while others are interested in keeping the business afloat and would likely re-hire at least part of the furloughed work force.
The bankruptcy process doesn’t automatically mean 102-year old Bertone will be sent to the history books. However, the scenario will become increasingly likely if a buyer hasn’t been found by the end of next month.
As a reminder, the bankruptcy filing only concerns Bertone’s design arm. The company sold its production arm to Fiat and the Italian government in 2011 as a last-resort deal to generate cash flow and the Grugliasco, Italy, plant now builds the Maserati’s Quattroporte and Ghibli sedan.