TURIN, Italy -- Pininfarina S.p.A. posted heavy losses in the first quarter and this year plans to build about one-third as many cars as in 2003.
Production of new models next year in its core contract manufacturing operations should turn the company around, Pininfarina says.
The company also designs, among other vehicles, Ferrari cars and some vehicles for China's Chery Automobile Co. Entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin plans to export Cherys to the United States in 2007.
Pininfarina's earnings before interest and taxes tumbled from a profit of 3.3 million euros, or about $4.2 million at current exchange rates, in the first quarter of 2004 to a loss of $5.5 million in the first quarter of this year.
"This decline in business volumes was widely expected," says CEO Andrea Pininfarina.
In November 2004, Pininfarina stopped making the Alfa Romeo GTV coupe and Spider and Peugeot 406 coupe. It ceased production of the Mitsubishi Pajero Pinin in April and will stop the Ford StreetKa in July.
This year's expected production of 14,000 units is less than a third of the 2003 total of 43,286 units.
The company expects full-year losses because it is investing $38 million over three years to launch five new vehicles.
Pininfarina will start building the Alfa Brera coupe this summer. A Volvo convertible follows in the fourth quarter.
In the first quarter of 2006, Pininfarina will launch a new Alfa Romeo Spider and Mitsubishi Colt convertible. In summer 2006, Pininfarina will start building the Ford Focus convertible.
In 2006 Pininfarina plans to build 55,000 units and return to profitability with revenue of more than $1.26 billion.
The company expects to build 70,000 units in 2007.
While Pininfarina is moving toward recovery, fellow Italian coachbuilder Bertone still is seeking new contracts to replace production of the Opel Astra convertible, scheduled to be phased out in spring 2006.
In 2004 Bertone built 13,395 Opels, down 39.4 percent from 22,095 units in 2003.