Wednesday, 19 May 2010
Giorgio Giugaro’s portfolio of car designs is without peer. I met him not long after he set up Italdesign in 1968 and found not only a talented artist but also an enthusiastic communicator. Flamboyant, arm-waving, Italian and despite his celebrity status he has the rare gift of making you feel worth listening to. And what cars. He worked at the Bertone studio from 1960-1965 creating memorable Alfa Romeos and Ferraris, and the exquisitely proportioned Gordon Keeble, a large British car that he somehow shrunk to a manageable size. Among his masterpieces were the BMW 3200CS and in 1965 a Mustang commissioned by Automobile Quarterly. From 1966-1968 he was with Ghia, producing the beautiful Maserati Ghibli. When he set up on his own he was able to pursue the distinctive ‘origami’ designs, which made him famous, such as the 1972 Lotus Esprit. Prolific Giugiaro’s flair spread from one-off haute couture to popular cars that became best sellers. He became a popular consultant to manufacturers in the developing industries of the Far East, not only producing cars that were the height of fashion but also, by virtue of their clever detailing, cheap to make. His work for VW on the Passat and Golf brought enormous commercial success, culminating it seems, according to the usually reliable Luca Ciferri, in a takeover.
My motoring column in The Sunday Times 24 April 1988
TURIN – Volkswagen AG will buy a controlling stake in Italy's largest design and engineering firm, Italdesign Giugiaro S.p.A., two industry sources confirmed to Automotive News Europe.
One of the sources said that an announcement could come as early as next week. Italdesign and VW representatives declined to comment.
The move is consistent with VW's plan to be the world's largest automaker by 2018 with sales of 10 million vehicles a year. To reach that goal, VW's 10-brand group, including Porsche, will need more designers and engineers. In 2010 alone, VW group plans to add 60 models, including upgrades.
Italdesign, co-founded by Giorgetto Giugiaro in 1968, currently has 975 employees and 800 computer aided design workstations. Most of the workers and equipment are based at the company's headquarters in Moncalieri, 15km south of Turin.
Italdesign is a private company entirely owned by Giorgetto Giugiaro, 71, who serves as chairman, and his son Fabrizio, 45, who heads the design and model division.
Both executives are expected to continue working at the company following the VW takeover.
Italdesign does not disclose its financial results. The most recent data available shows that in 2008 the company increased its revenues 6.2 percent to 136 million euros ($166 million) and reported an operating breakeven. Luca Ciferri
There is always something worth seeing on the Italdesign stand at Geneva.