HomeCar CultureCommentaryHispano Suiza plans automotive return with Carmen

Hispano Suiza plans automotive return with Carmen


One of the world’s most revered collector car brands is making a comeback in March when Hispano Suiza reveals Carmen, which it calls “a fully electric hyperlux grand tourer… (the) ultimate expression of classically inspired design, next-generation powertrain technology, exhilarating power and expertly engineered dynamics.”

The car takes its name from Carmen Mateu, granddaughter of Hispano Suiza founder Suqué Mateu and former president of the family-owned company that between 1904 and 1946 produced more than 12,000 luxury vehicles and more than 50,000 aircraft engines.

Hispano Suiza, Hispano Suiza plans automotive return with Carmen, ClassicCars.com Journal
Carmen will be built around a carbon fiber monocoque chassis | Hispano Suiza photo

The company announced Monday that it plans to return to the luxury-car marketplace and will unveil Carmen at the Geneva Motor Show. To tease the unveiling, the company released a photograph of the car’s carbon fiber monocoque chassis. 

Hispano Suiza said the car is being designed, developed and will be manufactured in Barcelona, Spain. It added that the car’s design was inspired by the Dubonnet Xenia, which was styled by Paris coachbuilder Saoutchik in 1938 and built on a Hispano Suiza H6B chassis.

The company said that Carmen’s powertrain development is being led by QEV Technologies, a Barcelona-based company affiliated with Mahindra’s Formula E racing team. QEV also serves as the European research and development base for Chinese automaker BAIC.

Hispano Suiza, Hispano Suiza plans automotive return with Carmen, ClassicCars.com Journal
The Dubonnet Xenia took best of show honors in 2018 at the Rodeo Drive concours | Larry Crane photo

Hispano Suiza was founded by Damian Mateu and Swiss-born engineer Marc Birkigt, thus the Suiza in the company’s name. 

Damian Mateu died in 1935 and was succeeded by his son, Miguel. He was succeeded by his daughter, Carmen, and then by her son, Miguel Suqué Mateu.

Hispano Suiza showed a prototype for a luxury vehicle, the two-seat HS21, at Geneva in 2000, and followed with other vehicle proposals at the show, the K8 in 2001 and the HS21-GTS in 2002.  

Hispano Suiza said it plans to build 19 Carmen cars and has begun working with customers on bespoke features.

The company is part of the Peralada Group, which is led by Carmen Mateu and her husband, Artur Suque, and their children and owns casinos, restaurants, hotels, vineyards, marinas, music festivals as well as Hispano Suiza.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


    • The Xenia was never built by Hispano. My father designed it around an

      old chassis and motor of one of his hispanos. His aim was to highlight

      his independent suspension and the aerodynamics. By the way the stork

      symbol comes from his ww1 squadron. Anicet Dubonnet


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