One of the best-known and most highly regarded design houses in the world has just become part of the Volkswagen automotive empire. Further formalizing an ongoing working relationship that has existed for nearly four decades, VW announced that it has acquired a 90.1-percent interest in the Turin-based Italdesign Giugiaro S.p.A. (IDG), including its brand-name rights and patents. The deal will see VW shares held by Audi's Italian subsidiary, Lamborghini Holding S.p.A., with the remainder of the IDG stock stay with the Giugiaro family.
Calling the linkup "a new era in strategic partnership between these two companies," Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen AG, commented: "Italdesign is the flagship for creative Italian automobile design and has been instrumental in shaping the face of the automobile industry worldwide. As the creator of the Golf I, Giorgetto Giugiaro laid a new foundation for Volkswagen design in the 1970s." He went on to note that the Volkswagen Group will greatly benefit from the capacity and competence of Italdesign, and that it will make an important contribution in helping VW further its global growth strategy of becoming the world's largest automaker by 2018. Interestingly enough, VW Group Chairman and Porsche family member, Ferdinand Piech, apprenticed at Italdesign during the summer of 1972 before moving on to take an executive post at Audi.
A legacy of creativity
Founded in Turin by Giorgetto Giugiaro and partner Aldo Mantovani in 1968, IDG has become legendary not only for its work for Volkswagen -- which also includes creating concepts for the original Scirocco and Passat as well as the Audi 80 -- but for projects with its numerous other carmakers. Its expansive corporate portfolio includes such notable production designs as the Alfa Romeo Brera, the Delorean DMC-12, the Fiat Punto, the original Lotus Esprit, the first Lexus GS Series, the Lamborghini Gallardo and the Maserati Bora, Merak and the current Quattroporte models, to name but a few. Equally prolific on the concept front, showcars like the BMW Nazca 12, Bugatti EB112, Chevrolet Corvette Moray and WV's exotic W12-powered Syncro owe their existence to Giugiaro's inspiration. The latest Giugiaro design was an E-REV city car for Proton Motors that appeared this year at Geneva.
Currently run by his son, Fabrizio, IDG employs over 800 people and generates more than $120 million in annual revenues. The cost of the acquisition was not made public; however, from here on it appears that IDG's entire focus will be confined to future VW products.