-the Golf Mk 1, designed by Giugiaro for VW
It has been confirmed by an official press release that the Volkswagen Audi Group (VAG) has taken a 90.1% stake in Italdesign Giugiaro S.p.a.. (Italdesign). This partnership includes the name, rights and patents held under Italdesign. The remaining 9.9% is owned by the original owner and founder, the Giugiaro family under the helm of the famous Giorgetto Giugiaro.
The unique thing about this take-over is that the share is acquired by Audi's Italian subsidiary, the very famous Lamborghini Holding S.p.A. This keeps Italdesign still very Italian (at least on one level that is). With both being Italian and now with Italdesign under Lamborghini we could be seeing “designed by” Italdesign or Giugiaro badges on future Lamborghinis as well as other cars within VAG.
VAG has cooperated with Italdesign on a few occasions, namely the Golf Mk1, as well as the Passat, original Scirocco and the Audi 80. According to VAG, one reason why they acquired Italdesign was that the company is seen to be a “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,” said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of VW.
A good and great partnership, but I somehow think that this marks an end to the independence of a Italian automobile designer. Those days Bertone, Pininfarina and Giugiaro were the 'Big Three' when it came to Italian automobile design. Now, it would seem that Italdesign/Giugiaro would be the 'in-house' Italian design unit within VAG and you may not see another Alfa Romeo 159 or an Alfasud, or even a Maserati 3200GT or a Fiat Panda as companies aside from those within VAG may not utilise Italdesign any more.
We just have to wait and see on how the actual business structure and future plans of Italdesign after this.