Italdesign HistorySource: Italdesign-Giugiaro S.p.AOn 13 February 1968, Italdesign of Turin was founded, under the original name of Studi Italiani Realizzazione Prototipi S.p.A. The company was founded and developed by two Piedmont families, the Giugiaros and the Mantovanis, and since its creation has spanned two generations.
Theirs was an innovative formula for the automobile industry: creation of a services company for the large, multinationals operating in the sector. The intuition of a young designer and a proven architect on the future trends of the automobile market, where the great carmakers outsource the entire design of a vehicle or phases of the new vehicle development process, with the intention of expanding the range of products in a short time, substantially reducing the 'time to market' of new models.
The partnership between Giorgetto Giugiaro and Aldo Mantovani has proven to be a winning one from the start, enhancing the fusion of creativity and solid skills, style and design.
It all started with an important job: the Alfasud design for Alfa Romeo, which had the honour of being the first major assignment for a new vehicle (and a new production unit to locate in Southern Italy).
The assignment included the stylistic research and realization of models, the structural design and construction of the first prototypes for the bench tests and road tests, redacting a production plan, assistance in the start up phases of production on the assembly and finishing line.
Concurrently, Giugiaro immediately opened a research laboratory, which would characterise the company activities in the years to come.
The experimental 'prototype' was made without a specific customer job order: it is a media that boosted the image of the company and which allowed it to propose new stylistic and aesthetic features as well as stimulating and provocative ideas in terms of functional and performance solutions, technological innovations and new materials.
The Bizzarrini Manta displayed at the Auto Show in Turin in 1968 was the first of more than 75 dream cars that the company has built and presented on every continent, earning its praise and eliciting an exceptional response from the press, radio and television and professionals in the sector.
In those years, the company launched a relationship with Volkswagen, which would culminate in the creation of three exciting new models for VW, the Passat, the Golf and the Scirocco, catapulting Italdesign onto the world stage.
Other big foreign carmakers assigned Italdesign with design services, including BMW and Hyundai. For the latter, it designed and created the Pony, the first vehicle built entirely in Korea (1974).
In April of 1975, Fiat hired the design offices in Moncalieri to define a prototype car that might breathe new life into the Lancia name. Italdesign responded to the challenge with the Delta, which would be flanked by a high performance 4x4, and Prisma in the hatchback model.
Even more challenging was the plan for the Fiat Panda. Giugiaro and Mantovani had to respond to the requests for 'maximum passenger space paired with the lowest possible costs.' The artist and the engineer put their complementary skills together to construct an innovative package, transforming the very concept of utility vehicles. A big small car that was popular even with the more well-heeled car enthusiasts (1980).
In the first half of the eighties, Italdesign armed itself with the most sophisticated equipment offered by the new information technologies: CAS (Computer Aided Styling), CAD (Computer Aided Design), CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing).
By leveraging these advanced systems, the company introduced an operating methodology that allowed it to manage the entire process of creating and designing a vehicle, interacting in real time with the customers' and suppliers' structures (co-engineering and simultaneous engineering).
In those years, Italdesign created and designed three very successful models for the Fiat Group, the Uno, the Thema and the Croma (the Thema and Croma, along with the Saab 9000 are all part of a joint project of manufacturing rationalization), while it continued to increase its customer portfolio with programmes for Seat, Renault, Chrysler, Ford and Toyota.
This was the period when Italdesign entered the second generation, namely when Fabrizio Giugiaro and Marco Mantovani respectively, joined the Design and Models Division and the Design and Development Division and which they would take over responsibility in July 1996.
At the start of the nineties, Italdesign was transformed into a Group when it acquired SALLIG, a company founded in 1960 that designs and builds acrylic, cast iron and zamak matrices for prototype elements in the automotive sector and today also operates in the aeronautics and household appliances sector.
ETM, Engineering Technologies Methods, also became part of the Group. Founded in 1984, ETM has integrated its design services with equipment for silicone moulding which has allowed the transition from the acrylic prototype to the pre-series in a material with characteristics similar to the finished product.
The activities were further developed through an aggressive policy of internationalisation which led to the creation of Diseño Industrial Italdesign Srl (1992) in Barcelona. The objective of the company is to interact with the complex Spanish manufacturing industry in the design and construction of models, master models and prototypes.
To best follow the developments on the Asian market, the Group set up the Technology Design Consortium (1996) as a 50-50 joint venture with Fata Group S.p.A., to work on the Chinese and Vietnamese markets.
In the early part of 1999, the Group took on a new name, Italdesign-Giugiaro S.p.A.
In June 2000, a new company was officially founded to provide joint services between Italdesign-Giugiaro S.p.A. and IDIADA Automotive Technology SA of the Albornar, in Tarragona.
Objectives of the new company, headquartered in Frankfurt, were to ensure the operators of the automotive division a range of services that no other free lance company can claim: from creativity and engineering to construction of models and laboratory prototypes, to analysis of investments and production methods (specific competencies of Italdesign-Giugiaro) right up to experimentation and laboratory services in active and passive safety, dynamics of vehicle noise, vibration and comfort, the drive train and emissions, and system integration and durability. The tests are carried out in the laboratory and on specially equipped tracks, finalized at certification and homologation of the models for the sales markets (the core business of IDIADA).
The IDIADA plants in Spain, including all the testing tracks and laboratories, extend over a surface area of 3,700,000 m_ and employ 250 specialists, while branches have also been opened in Ingolstadt, Germany and in Seoul, South Korea.
In August 2000, the IDF – Italdesign France Srl, was founded in Paris, serving the French and European automotive market. The corporate mission is as specialized as it is ambitious: 'to expand and increase a structure and bring 30 years of experience and expertise from Turin to Paris'.
IDF is equipped with a Style Centre, CAS and CAM Centre, External, Internal and Finishing Models Division and a painting division. It holds the potential able to independently produce research models or models on order and projected by the customer.
In 2000, the company acquired a majority shareholding (60%) in Studeo, an engineering company, and in 2001 purchased a share in 3E, European Engineering Enterprise, which is specialized in engineering services in the automotive and industrial design sectors.
Italdesign pursued an internalisation strategy in its transition from family business to managerial company, with the objective of better facing the more complicated programming needs and managing a business undergoing exponential growth. Specifically, in 1997, the Group staff was augmented by the entrance of highly qualified manager with years of experience in the automobile industry, Dario Trucco, who now takes care of the business with the founding partners in the position of Managing Director and General Manager.
In more than 35 years in the business, the creative research and design activities at Italdesign have resulted in more than 120 models subsequently produced in series. For more than half of these 35 years, Italdesign has handled the production engineering of chassis subgroups and production of prototypes and experimental processing.
The Moncalieri offices have worked with the major European (Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Fiat, Ford Europe, Lamborghini, Lancia, Lotus, Maserati, Renault, Saab, Volkswagen, Volvo, PSA Group), Japanese (Daihatsu, Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota), and Korean (Hyundai and Daewoo) carmakers as well as the emerging Chinese industrials ( China Automotive Company Ltd). The list of the partnerships also includes the big American carmakers (American Motors, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors).
The high quality standards in the services is proven by the continuity in its relationships with its customers, who consider Italdesign Giugiaro a reliable partner. In the models designed and developed over the years, we find loyalty to the tradition of the make and the culture of the countries where the car is going to be driven.
This historic and cultural approach has led to creation of models that have contributed to the revival of famous makes: the most important of which was Maserati (Maserati 3200 GT3 and Spider).
Today the company has a consolidated organization with five managerial sectors that handle more than 30 operating divisions to bring together the flexibility of the service with 'state of the art technology', ensuring carmakers a comprehensive consulting service. All this makes the company able to perform the assignment of a complete programme – from definition of the style to pre-series assistance – as well as partial but no less important tasks, such as stylistic research, production engineering of body subgroups, building prototypes and experimental machining.
The design process is grouped into 4 macro areas of intervention: Styling, Engineering, Prototyping and Testing. The areas are autonomous but take a complementary approach to their work. This is why a Program manager is designated for control over every individual design.