DeTomaso Returns to the U.S. After 25-Year Absence
6 January 2000DeTomaso Returns to the U.S. After 25-Year Absence Led by the Qvale Automotive Group and Its 2000 Mangusta
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 6 -- The North American debut of the 2000 DeTomaso Mangusta at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show celebrates the official return of a renowned Italian marque to the U.S. market after more than 25 years. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000106/DETH010-a http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000106/DETH010-b ) The Mangusta is an all-new, exotically styled, 2+2 front-engined sports car featuring a unique three-position roof that converts the car from coupe to targa to roadster. With a top speed near 160 mph and 0-60 times in the 5.0- second range, the Mangusta delivers reliable performance from its 4.6-liter, dohc, Ford V8, plus innovation and exclusivity in a package that evokes the best of Italian style and design. The Qvale Automotive Group was the catalyst for the DeTomaso renaissance, bringing the 2000 Mangusta to market in less than two years since signing its licensing agreement with DeTomaso Modena S.p.A. in March 1998. At that time the Qvale Automotive Group acquired rights to manufacture, distribute, and market current and future DeTomaso products. "In building the Mangusta for the U.S. market we did not compromise in any way," says President and CEO Bruce Qvale. "The Mangusta underwent crash testing at MIRA in the U.K., and has been integrated with all U.S.-mandated safety features, including driver- and front-passenger airbags. Although we are not a volume manufacturer, we felt it was necessary to offer a vehicle comparable in every way to those of larger volume automakers. Therefore, we chose not to rely on waivers for systems like airbags." To accomplish this renaissance, the Qvale Automotive Group purchased a contemporary 120,000 square-foot factory in Modena, Italy and re-outfitted it for the initial build of the Mangusta. The Qvale Modena facility is not only the manufacturing site, but also serves as European sales and marketing headquarters and houses the company's design and engineering offices, which are headed by Managing Director Giordano Casarini, formerly of Maserati. While the Mangusta will be sold through traditional dealer networks in Europe, in the United States the cars will be available through a select number of factory stores located in key markets. The Southern California store is located in Beverly Hills, at 8844 Wilshire Blvd. Other sites include San Francisco, Detroit, South Florida, and New York. "Today, more and more manufacturers are attempting to become retailers," says Qvale. "We're retailers with over 50 years of experience who also have prior expertise as manufacturers. In 1970 we purchased controlling interest in Jensen Motors, Ltd. in West Bromwich, England. We were responsible for the introduction of the Jensen Interceptor III and, more importantly, we produced a totally new sports car -- the Jensen Healey. Then we established a dealer network for it throughout the U.S. and Canada. In six years we produced and sold close to 12,000 cars in 14 countries worldwide. "We're using that expertise today to produce the finest quality sports car possible and revise the traditional sales and delivery system," says Qvale, "taking full advantage of the beneficial technologies available through the Internet." The Qvale Automotive Group will use Strategic Business Systems and LANSA's IBM AS/400 system to coordinate vehicle distribution, parts management, warranty administration and dealer and distributor e-business communications for the launch of the 2000 DeTomaso Mangusta as well as future products and services. The year 2000 also marks DeTomaso's return to U.S. motorsports competition. The Mangusta, in racing trim, will debut in the BFGoodrich Tires Trans-Am Series, campaigned by Huffaker/Qvale Motorsports. The Tommy Bahama- sponsored Mangusta will be the only official factory team competing in the Trans-Am series. "With our returning sponsor Tommy Bahama, we're ready to take on the challenge of being the factory DeTomaso Mangusta Team," says Qvale. "We have an exciting new car, a proven Huffaker/Qvale crew, the outstanding technical expertise of Huffaker Engineering and a chassis that is the match of any. We're going to set the standard for the Trans-Am series in the year 2000." The DeTomaso Mangusta officially goes on sale in North America on January 20, 2000, priced at $78,900 (U.S.) totally equipped, including a full leather interior. At present the only available option is 18" alloy wheels and tires.