Famed Italian automotive marque De Tomaso has been sold for the second time in just over a month, this time to Chinese firm Consolidated Ideal Team Venture. In March we reported that De Tomaso had been sold to Swiss company L3 Holdings for 2 million euros ($2.8 million). L3 Holdings and its Luxembourg-based financial backers were chaired by Gerard Lopez, the current team principal of the Lotus Formula One team.
According to to Deutsche Presse-Agentur (German Press Agency) and Europe Online the deal with L3 has now completely fallen through. Apparently, not long after winning the previous auction, prosectors began investigating L3 Holdings for not meeting its financial commitments, meaning that the receivers had to begin another auction process. This time around, Consolidated Ideal Team Venture, an unsuccessful participant in the initial auction, won with a bid of just over 1 million euros ($1.4 million).
Europe Online quotes Giampaolo Salsi, an Italian lawyer representing the Chinese company, as saying that Consolidated Ideal Team Venture plans on making De Tomaso-branded vehicles in China. This contrasts sharply with the L3's proposals, which involved hiring staff in Europe and relocating the company's Turin factory to somewhere else within the city.
The fate of De Tomaso's current staff and Turin factory under its new owners is unknown. Consolidated Ideal Team Venture is reportedly based in Hong Kong, but is registered in the Virgin Islands, a well known tax haven. De Tomaso found fame in the 1960s and 1970s with its Mangusta (above and top) and Pantera models. Since then the company has fallen on hard times, and has gone through numerous hands, including Maserati and motorcycle firm Moto Guzzi.