A deal to sell the automaker to a Chinese group has fallen through.

De Tomaso has announced that is has filed for bankruptcy in a Livorno, Italy, court. This marks De Tomaso's second bankruptcy in about a decade.

The bankruptcy announcement comes after a deal to sell the tiny automaker to a Chinese group called Hotyork fell through. Hotyork promised a cash payment that it could not deliver, leaving De Tomaso with no other way out at the very last minute.

Gian Mario Rossignolo, the chief operating officer of De Tomaso, came under heavy fire from the Italian court that was put in charge of liquidating the company last April. The judge pointed out that in spite of having received about ,5 million (roughly $6.1 million) of public funds, De Tomaso never launched a production car and did not even manage to reveal the production variant of the Deauville crossover that bowed as a concept at last year's Geneva Motor Show.

The aforementioned public funds are part of an ongoing investigation that is not related to the company's heavily-publicized bankruptcy. If the court finds that the funds were misused, Rossignolo might be asked to personally pay back the sum in its entirety.

At the time of writing it is not clear what will happen to the De Tomaso brand or to its factory. The license to the Deauville crossover was sold late last year to an unnamed Chinese firm for ,12 million (approximately $14 million.)

Earlier this year, De Tomaso officials warned its employees and the Italian government that it was in dire financial straits and that the end was near.

"If the situation can not be remedied soon we all go home, the government will have to find a solution. We have no more money," it said in a statement.