Italian all-electric luxury car brand Automobili Pininfarina has changed course in its search for a partner to produce a platform for it’s new Luxury Utility Vehicle (LUV), set to be previewed by the Pura Vision concept.
The company had announced a strategic collaboration to jointly develop a high-performance electric vehicle platform with Bosch and Benteler that would be used for the LUV. However, in an exclusive interview with Auto Express, new CEO Per Svantesson confirmed that the arrangement had been put on hold after other companies had made contact. A decision on which to partner with would now be taken “by early summer”.
“We have been presented with certain opportunities for the platform on Pura Vision,” Svantesson told us. “As you know we were working with Bosch and Benteler; we did a full feasibility study of their platform and we’ve put that a little bit on hold recently to explore a couple of other possibilities that were presented to us that look very interesting and very promising.
“We are quite close to making a decision – give us six to eight weeks and we will complete that feasibility. It’s not slowing us down or affecting our timeplan.”
However, the Pura Vision concept was due to be unveiled at this August’s Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, but following the events cancellation it’s now expected to be shown later in the year.
Svantesson revealed that the current Coronavirus crisis was presenting his company with some opportunities, though. “The Coronavirus is a terrible thing,” he said, “But we’re looking for opportunities and there are more people out there willing to talk about sharing than ever before.”
Svantesson was only appointed as CEO of Automobili Pininfarina last month, having been with the company as COO since 2017. His career has taken in Volvo (twice), Valeo, working in the supplier industry and advising Saab, while he has been dedicated to sustainability concerns since the mid-2000s.
Under his leadership, he’s promising “a different approach more suited to the luxury market,” while he’s also been reshaping his management team, most notably with Paolo Dellacha being appointed Chief Product and Engineering Officer.
Luca Borgogno remains as Chief Design Officer, with whom Svantesson had his first design review this week and the new CEO gave us some clues to what we can expect from the brand’s LUV when it’s launched in 2022.
Pura Vision design evolution
“The Pura Vision concept has evolved,” said Svantesson. “ We’ve just had a design review and a lot has changed – lots of small details make the wholeness, but what they’ve done is extraordinary – I was blown away.
“Seeing this car, it’s just a fantastic masterpiece of design. If you want the most beautiful, exciting car ever designed you’ll have to wait. It carries almost 1000bhp with the latest and greatest technology in terms of electric powertrain but also connectivity. But you’ll have to wait a couple of years for that car.
“It will be very competitive in the marketplace on range. We’re exploring some new ways of packaging the battery and if that works out well it will have a good range on top of any competitors.
“Driver precision is also very important – it’s about the feeling you get when driving the car, the capability of the driveline with torque vectoring. It can be driven more as a sports car than an SUV. We don’t call it an SUV, we call it an LUV: a Luxury Utility Vehicle, but a sustainable Luxury Utility Vehicle.
“The Lamborghini Urus is the first car in that type of segment, but the Urus is a little more SUV than our car will be.”
On price, Svantesson reiterated that the car will cost upwards of £200,000. “I can confirm that we will always stay in the luxury segment (on price), I would see our price point between the €200,000-€300,000 for the bulk of cars going forward – more toward the higher end of that price range, plus some more expensive exclusive models.
“We are reviewing a little bit the sequence of events, but the Pura Vision will be priced in that price range.”
Svantesson is also clear that there will be much more than just the LUV and the Battista coming from Automobili Pininfarina. “We have a product plan going into the future,” he said. “We will have four different models off the platform. Exactly what the sequence will be we’re not talking about publicly yet, but we can carry a family of cars all the way from GT cars to sedans, luxury sedans and SUVs.”
First to launch, of course, is the multi-million pound Battista, which, in spite of delays caused by the Coronavirus, Svantesson is hoping will still get to customers this year. “Our ultimate goal is to deliver the first car before christmas – it will be a challenge but we’re working hard to achieve that.”
He also admitted that his board thinks that Automobili Pininfarina could benefit from a change in outlook of potential luxury car buyers as a result of the current crisis. “We believe that people will still be capable of buying cars like this – billionaires will still be there and will want to treat themselves. But they might be a little more cautious to give the right impression and to show the right care for the environment. The crisis will have an impact on the drive for sustainability, so we think we have the right product in the luxury segment. We believe that the customers we are approaching will still want to treat themselves, but will be leaning more towards a full electric powertrain than a V12.”
About the Pininfarina Pura Vision concept
The Pura Vision concept was scheduled to be revealed at the annual Pebble Beach car show event in Calfornia in August 2020, but Auto Express was invited to an exclusive preview shortly before the 2019 Los Angeles Motor Show.
The production version of the concept will be the first of four new cars to arrive before 2025, following on from the £2million Battista that will begin to arrive with customers next year.
Pura Vision was set to use a new ‘skateboard’ electric car platform developed between Pininfarina, Bosch and Benteler, which Automobili Pininfarina had planned to make available to third party customers.
The car was set to mirror many of the Battista’s statistics including a 120kWh battery, 1,000bhp of power, a sub three-second 0-62mph time and 310 to 342 miles of range.
Although official images of the concept have yet to be seen, the version seen by Auto Express takes its inspiration from a number of Pininfarina’s historic GT designs such as the Alfa Romeo Superflow with its glass canopy.
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