Teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, Italian coachbuilder Bertone and its ‘Stile Bertone’ design house were approved today to be split into two independent factions. This will allow the more successful design arm to separate itself from the downturn that has been plaguing the coachbuilding industry, especially in Italy, where a number of firms are running at a loss.

Stile Bertone will gain a new management team and former Aprilia CEO Teresio Gaudio has been signed up for the head job. He will be in charge of the day-to-day running of the firm. Under the new structure, Nuccio Bertone's widow Lilly will retain her 49.5% stake while the remaining stake will be controlled by Italian courts, reports Reuters.

The coachbuilding side, Carrozzeria Bertone, is still dogged by internal feuding amongst the Bertone family. Its plant has the capacity to build up to 70,000 vehicles per year and needs at least 30,000 units to remain profitable, however the site hasn’t built a car since the last Mini Cooper JCW GP rolled-off the line back in 2007. The 1300-strong workforce, meanwhile, is relying on the Italian social security system for their pay.

A number of international firms are now rumored to be interested in buying the coachbuilder, including India’s Mahindra & Mahindra and China’s First Auto Works.