Volkswagen To Buy Giorgetto Giugiaro

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
volkswagen to buy giorgetto giugiaro

When I did my first copywriting jobs for Volkswagen in 1973, I heard to my great amazement that the Passat wasn’t designed in Wolfsburg. It was designed in Turin (“Isn’t that where Fiat is?” “Don’t ask stupid questions, Schmitt”) by someone called Giorgetto Giugiaro. Lo and behold, the Golf thereafter looked a little bit like the Fiat 128, but nobody cared. Volkswagen and Giugiaro‘s Italdesign worked together ever since. Now Volkswagen will buy a controlling stake in Italdesign, if industry sources who whispered it to Automotive News[sub] are not totally mistaken. If the deal happens (and an announcement could come next week), Volkswagen will formalize old friendships.

In Germany, Automobilwoche [sub] reports that Ferdinand Piech is well connected with Italy’s largest design house. What’s more, “Martin Winterkorn and his chief designer Walter de Silva are old friends of the Giugiaros,” said a VW-insider to Automobilwoche. Not too long ago, Winterkorn had said that “Volkswagen wants and needs to recruit the brightest.” In this year alone, Volkswagen will introduce nearly 70 new models.

Italdesign has 975 employees, working on 800 computer CAD workstations at the company’s headquarters in Moncalieri, 15km south of Turin. The company is owned by Giorgetto Giugiaro, 71, and his son Fabrizio, 45. Having worked for nearly every European carmaker (and some Far-Eastern also,) Italdesign represents the highest concentration of design know-how money can buy.

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  • Herb Herb on May 19, 2010

    Simply great designs. Giugiaro was for VW what Bruno Sacco was for Mercedes. Consequent "less is more" design. Still up to date. But what's the rationale behind VW's decision? They already should have some designers?

  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on May 19, 2010

    Has Giugiaro ever drawn a car that didn't age well? My personal Italdesign favorite is the original Lotus Esprit.

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    • John Horner John Horner on May 19, 2010

      Hmmm, the '93 Lexus GS was a terribly boring design. Very unlike something you would expect from Giugiaro. It would be sad to see Giugiaro become just an in house design group for any one company. I think that the outsider status of such companies has always led to an additional bit of necessary creative tension.

  • Johnny ro Johnny ro on May 19, 2010

    Feel free to do a review of the first generation Scirocco. Please.

  • Tosh Tosh on May 20, 2010

    "In this year alone, Volkswagen will introduce nearly 70 new models." That sounds like an awful lot. How is that figured? 7 new models times 10 sedan/hatch/wagon/microvan/cute-ute configurations?