Italy’s Economic Development Ministry, Federica Guidi, gave a green light last Friday to a project proposed by US private equity firm Lcv Capital Management to start production in a OM Carrelli‘s long-defunct auto plant in Puglia (Southern Italy) to produce a small, superlight car, made of polypropylene and glass fibre, that would sell for just about 13k euros.
Representatives from the government met with localinstitutions and trade unions last Friday June 5th and agreed on going on with talks with Lcv Capital in order to sign a binding agreement as soon as possibile (see here the press release).
A special law actually allowed OM Carrelli to give for free its plant to investors who commit to bring back production and employment in the Region. Lcv’s managing director, Anthony J. Bonidy, said that the fund is ready to invest 120 million euros in the project both in the plant in Puglia and in a plant in Calabria (another Southern Italy region) where iconic car Isotta Fraschini was used to be produced.
Headquartered in Pitthsburg, Lcv Capital bought some patents for the production of innovative cars from a group of venture capital firms, with Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (one of the partenrs is former US vice president Al Gore) among them.
Mr. Bonidy, who has had careers at IBM, NeXT Computer and supply-chain software company CombineNet, said the composite material to be used in the four-door car would make it about 40 per cent lighter than a steel car of similar size. Production costs would be 70 per cent lower than those of a traditional steel car because no metal-stamping, welding and painting machines would be required on the assembly line, he said. Reviving an old plant would also save costs.