Volkswagen AG Continues to Grow, Buys Famous Design Firm

What's next for Volkswagen design?

When you want your car company to be the undisputed champion of the world, you don’t just use the greatest design firms in the world, you buy them.

Volkswagen Automotive Group is flirting with becoming the world’s largest automaker, and wants to own the title outright by 2018. To achieve that goal, Volkswagen AG will launch a score of new models each year. That kind of output will create a hefty strain on any automaker’s design capacity, so the easiest way to expand it is to buy an actual design house.

But not just any design house.

The Volkswagen Group will take a 90.1 percent stake in Italdesign-Giugiaro, effectively buying the entire shop but leaving just under 10 percent still in the ownership of the Giugiaro family.

Based in Turin, Italdesign is one of the most legendary automotive design houses in Europe and is behind such icons as the original Volkswagen Golf, Scirocco, Passat, and the Audi 80. History alone would suggest this is a marriage made in car heaven.

Italdesign has been a private firm since its founding in 1968 and today employs 975 people in Turin. Owner Giorgetto Giugiaro himself has worked for Fiat, and his designs have found their way onto the platforms of cars from Alfa Romeo, BMW, and Maserati. VW will likely retain the services of Giugiaro and his son, Fabrizio, who is currently the design head.

Autoblog thinks the other 973 people in Turin can rest easy, because it is assumed they will be added to VW’s design department, too. Pretty sweet gig for them, I think, as they now have the job security that comes with designing cars that’ll take the Volkswagen Group’s brands straight to the top.

I look forward to seeing what kinds of new designs this partnership starts pumping out. It’s hard to imagine failure from this one, isn’t it?

-tgriffith

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