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The Associated Press October 11, 2011, 2:15PM ET

Pininfarina to cease making car bodies

Pininfarina, the auto design and coachbuilding company, announced Tuesday it is giving up one of its historic businesses: making car bodies.

Pininfarina said in a statement that it is ceasing production and laying off 127 remaining workers. It will continue its design and engineering businesses.

The 2008 economic crisis saw a steep decline in sales for automakers that contracted companies such as Pininfarina to make specialty cars. Pininfarina produced its last cars in 2010, completing contracts for the Alfa Romeo Spider and Brera and the Ford Focus Coupe Cabriolet.

In its heydey, Pininfarina produced as many as 40,000 cars a year. Production in 2010 was 7,000.

Pininfarina previously sold its auto assembly and painting business.

The deal was part of the northern Italian company's efforts to downsize and focus its business on design, engineering and producing more environmentally friendly technologies, including electric cars, as part of its new business plan.

Pininfarina SpA, founded in 1930, has designed cars for Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Cadillac and Volvo, among others -- but is most closely associated with Ferrari, designing nearly all of Ferrari's models since the 1950s. They include the convertibles the California Spider and the Daytona Spider.

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