Saturday, February 26, 2011

De Tomaso Shows More of its New SLS Crossover, Confirms Production for 2011

One of the surprises at this year's edition of the Geneva Motor Show is the resurrection of the De Tomaso brand, which will re-launch with a production ready concept model, set to go on sale in late 2011. The Italian company filed for bankruptcy in 2004, but was brought back to life after Rossignolo former Fiat executive, Gianmario Rossignolo, acquired the brand from a Modena bankruptcy court in November 2009.

The Italian brand's first vehicle was initially codenamed SLC for Sport Luxury Crossover, but in the latest press release, De Tomaso is calling it the SLS, which stands for Sport Luxury Sedan. We know what you're thinking in regards to Mercedes-Benz's Gullwing-door supercar, but De Tomaso was quick to state the vehicle will not be sold as the SLS, with the final production name to be revealed during the Geneve press conference on March 1.

The four-wheel-drive SLS is a BMW 5-Series GT-like high-riding saloon / crossover that will be offered at launch with a choice of two gasoline engines, a 300HP V6 and a 550HP V8, with a diesel said to be in the works.

De Tomaso said the Pininfarina-designed SLS is built on an aluminum chassis using "an innovative construction technology called Univis", details of which are to be released in Geneva.

The crossover model's architecture will form the base for two more models, including a sports sedan and a coupe, with De Tomaso planning to invest €116 million (US$160 million) in the project.

The Italian firm's new owner said the company plans to build 3,000 units of the SLS annually, along with another 3,000 limousines and 2,000 coupes.

The SLS will be produced at the De Tomaso Automobili S.p.A. plant, a former Pininfarina S.p.A. factory near Turin and in the Livorno factory by ex-Delphi workers.



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