It looks like Italdesign-Giugiaro has loads more under its sleeves other than work for the new Proton Persona which is set to hit the streets in 20 months from now. They have just scored a huge contract from Chinese-backed US-based Hybrid Kinetic Motors Corp. The car above was unveiled at the announcement of the deal – but it isn’t even a model designed for HK Motors. It’s a recycled concept shown at 2008 by Italdesign called the Giugiaro Quaranta Concept.
Hybrid Kinetic Motors Corp has engaged Italdesign for the development of 8 new models based on a common flexible platform and powertrain, all to be engineered by Italdesign. The deal is worth 375 million Euros and will keep GIugiaro occupied over the next 4 years, and they will also provide on-site assistance for production, which means there will be income for the next 6 to 8 years!
Many probably think Italdesign is a design firm, but truth it they are capable of engineering work as well and have actually often been contracted by the mainstream automakers to assist with vehicle engineering. It’s just that launching a product with ‘design by Giugiaro’ is seen as a good thing but ‘engineered by Giugiaro’ usually makes people wonder why a car company can’t manage its own product engineering.
But among the models that Giugiaro has engineered are the new R56 MINI range including the Cooper, Clubman and Cabriolet. These are only the vary few models that the automakers have allowed Giugiaro to take credit for – the rest are buried with NDAs and confidentiality agreements.
“HK Motors is offering us the unique opportunity to design an entire range of products that should be state-of-the-art in terms of aerodynamic efficiency and weight because reducing emissions is the main target of the entire project,” says Italdesign vice chairman and design director Fabrizio Giugiaro. The company is said to be aiming for CO2 emissions of under 50g/km and its vehicles will use a common powertrain that uses a small turbocharged engine.
Their main sales market seems to be USA at the moment, and HK Motors has expressed that it plans to build a plant in South Alabama and make up to 1 million cars a year there.
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