This is the Pininfarina H2 Speed, a 480kW racing car powered by a GreenGT hydrogen fuel cell, unveiled at the 2018 Geneva motor show, of which just 12 will be made. Expect the upcoming Pininfarina road car to look something like this... File photo: Pierre Albouy / Reuters

Rome, Italy - Italy is to get a new luxury maker, but one bearing an illustrious name, with the the launch of Automobili Pininfarina.

Funded by Indian carmaker Mahindra, which also owns the iconic Pininfarina design studio in Turin, it'll be based in Europe, creating high-performance luxury electric vehicles for the ‘most discerning’ (read ‘rich’) global customers.

The new brand will combine Pininfarina’s automotive design with the expertise in electrical vehicle engineering that Mahinda has gained by competing in Formula E, and plans to launch its first car bearing the Pininfarina badge as early as 2020.

It has actually been set up as a separate entity from the studio, which regards it as a new client and will continue to provide design services to the industry as it has done since 1930.

...Or like this - the 289kW battery-powered Pininfarina HK GT, designed for the Hybrid Kinetic Group. File photo: Pininfarina

The current chairman of the studio, Paolo Pininfarina, younger grandson of founder Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina (Pinin is a nickname meaning ‘kid brother’ in Piedmontese) welcomed the new venture, saying that his grandfather had always dreamed of seeing outstanding, innovative cars on the road carrying the studio’s name on their bonnets, rather than behind the front wheel as the stylist.

Mahindra chairman Anand Mahindra said: “We want to draw on Pininfarina’s design vocabulary and heritage to create rare collector's cars that only a handful of connoisseurs will ever own, powered by high technology.

“Mahindra is betting big on electric vehicles,“ he added, “and when power, beauty and high-end electric vehicle technology come together in one car, that will be the perfect luxury vehicle - one that car lovers can enjoy without harming the planet.”

Automobili Pininfarina will be headed by Michael Perschke, former managing director of Audi in India and board member for sales of Volkswagen Group India, and Per Svantesson, formerly of Volvo and EVS.

IOL Motoring