Italian sports-car brand De Tomaso will move to U.S. as it plans revival

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The Italian sports-car brand De Tomaso Automobili, which is planning a revival with the P72 supercar, said it is moving its operations to the U.S. from Europe.

De Tomaso will build the P72 in North America and is “deep” in discussions with multiple states as potential locations for U.S. operations including production, design and corporate facilities, the company said in a statement released Wednesday.

A formal announcement is expected in the next six months, it said.

De Tomaso was founded in 1959 by the Argentinian racing driver and businessman Alejandro De Tomaso in Modena, Italy. It has a strong U.S. connection because of historical tie-ups with American automakers, most notably Ford Motor Co.

De Tomaso said production of the P72 is expected to begin late 2022, almost two years later than promised last year at the car’s unveiling at the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in July 2019.

“Our mission is to bring back the romance, passion and elegance of the luxury American automotive industry with our European sophistication and artisan processes,” De Tomaso said in its release.

De Tomaso was bought in 2015 by Hong Kong-based Ideal Team Ventures for just over 1 million euros ($1.2 million) following an earlier failed revival attempt that saw its then-chairman Gian Mario Rossignolo arrested by Italy’s tax police for misuse of public funds.

De Tomaso has said the retro-styled P72 will be powered by a 5.0-liter V-8 developed with U.S. engine tuner Roush. Power is targeted at 700 hp, the company said.

The P72 will start from 750,000 euros ($890,487) and will be limited to 72 examples, De Tomaso said last year.

Ideal Team Ventures, owned by Hong Kong businessman Norman Choi, also owned Apollo Automobili, maker of the Apollo IE hypercar.

Choi sold Apollo in March to Hong Kong watch and jewelry company WE Solutions, which rebranded themselves Apollo Future Mobility Group to reflect a series of automotive acquisitions and joint venture agreements.

Apollo Future Mobility Group said in a financial report covering the six months to the end of March 2020 that it had licensed the use of the Apollo IE’s carbon fiber platform to De Tomaso for three years for $10 million.

De Tomaso is now an independent company with no outside shareholders, it told Automotive News Europe.

Choi bought Apollo in 2016 from former Audi Sport head Roland Gumpert, and commissioned Germany’s HWA to build the Apollo IE hypercar.

De Tomaso’s most famous car is arguably the Pantera coupe launched in 1971, which used Ford V-8 engines and was sold in the U.S at Ford dealers in a partnership between the automakers.

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