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by Tim Beissmann

Famous Italian automotive design house Stile Bertone is officially bankrupt and up for sale.

The bankruptcy declaration occurred quietly on June 4 after the company failed in its attempts to present a viable recovery plan for the future or find a suitable buyer. It appears to be a case of third-time unlucky for Bertone, which narrowly avoided bankruptcy in 2007 and 2011.

Wards Auto quotes sources that claim Stile Bertone racked up 31 million euros ($45 million) in debt in less than five years, despite claiming an increasing workload and sales of 14.5m euro ($21m) in 2010 – the last year the company’s financial statements were made public.

News of the 102-year-old design house’s serious financial troubles hit headlines in March when it was reported Bertone had been forced to close its doors as suppliers pursued legal action to reclaim money owed and employees had been left unpaid.

Wards claims the price of the business for prospective purchasers will not be high, given all that remains is Bertone’s car collection, which is classified as an “historic national heritage” in Italy, the land, the buildings, and the company itself.

The Bertone brand is not part of the assets, however, as Stile Bertone’s rights to the name and logo expire at the end of 2014 and any plans to continue their use need to be renegotiated with owner Bertone Cento.

Among Stile Bertone’s most famous works are the Lamborghini Miura and Countach and the Lancia Stratos, while more recently it also created the Aston Martin Rapide-based Jet 2+2 concept seen at the 2013 Geneva motor show.




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