Mike Stevens | Aug 7, 2009

ITALIAN CARMAKER FIAT, only months after sealing an alliance with Chrysler, has won the Italian Government’s approval to acquire niche stylist and coachbuilder Bertone.

Bertone, known for its work on Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta Sprint and the Lamborghini Countach – and locally for the Bertone edition Holden Astra TS – will go to Fiat after the Italian manufacturer beat two competing bidders.

Running into financial difficulties after the death of its owner Giuseppe Bertone, Bertone was put into special administration in 2007.

Fiat’s plan for Bertone includes a €150 million investment over the next three years, using the specialist company to design and develop future models and special editions of existing lines.

Italian Industry Minister Claudio Scajola said this week that the Italian Government approved the sale of Bertone to Fiat because it offered the best industrial plan out of the interested bidders.

"The sale to Fiat guarantees the future of a historic Piemontese company," Mr Scajola said in a statement.

"In fact, the plan foresees the re-absorption of 1,137 workers, who will be gradually reinserted into their jobs, and the integration with Chrysler for the production in Italy of some models for the American auto company,"

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne was optimistic in the lead-up to the Italian Government’s decision.

"We made an honest and industrially rational offer to try to revive the company," Marchionne told reporters on July 22.

Bertone’s most recent creation, the Bertone Mantide, is expected to enter limited production, with a price of around AU$2.7 million.

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