Italdesign is Stepping Outside the Volkswagen Umbrella
Design house Italdesign is looking to broaden its horizons by launching partnerships with new automakers and technological giants in an attempt to reduce its reliance on the Volkswagen Group, of which it is a part of. Company CEO Joerg Astalosch made the proclamation to Auto News, hinting that the company would be open to working with the likes of Tesla, Google, or Apple in the event any of these companies are looking to partner with an automotive design firm.
The company’s goal is clear: it wants to expand its customer base after becoming too reliant on working with automakers that are a part of the Volkswagen umbrella. That has been the case since 2010 when the company was bought and placed under Lamborghini to keep VW’s Italian holdings bundled together. Since that time, a majority of the company’s concept models have been based off of the Volkswagen Group’s 12 brands, including Lamborghini and Audi.
It’s a sound business methodology for a time, but it also doesn’t foster the kind of growth that the company is after. So now Italdesign is prepared to do business with automakers outside of the Volkswagen Group. It’s unlikely that it will go as far as working with rivals of some of the companies under the VW Group like Ferrari, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz. But other than that, the company is now open to working with “major players in all relevant markets” in order to diversity its own offerings. It’s a smart, low-risk, high-reward business strategy that gives Italdesign more options to work with as it attempts to increase its own business portfolio.
There’s no word yet on what company Italdesign has already teamed up with, but with this new direction, it’s exciting to see what the design house is capable of if, say, Apple jumps on board and asks Italdesign to develop the look of its future autonomous vehicle.
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Why it matters
This step makes a lot of sense for Italdesign. I know being a part of an auto conglomerate as big as Volkswagen has its share of benefits, but it also has its drawbacks and Italdesign is right when it identified its need to being more open to doing business with other firms. In a lot of ways, it’s the company’s way of seeing the forest past the trees. It wants to explore what it can do with other firms, be it an automaker like Tesla or a tech giant like Apple or Google.
The second scenario is particularly interesting because both Apple and Google are already developing the technologies for developing their own cars. They have the finances and the expertise in those two avenues that could translate well to an actual car in the event they decide to pursue it. What they don’t have, at least in-house, is a strong automotive design team the caliber of Italdesign. Can you imagine a car penned by the Italian design house containing auto technologies developed by either Apple or Google? it’s a win-win scenario for both parties and one that I think Italdesign should pursue aggressively.
It’s not just the artistic side of the company that benefits here. The business side should also see positive results. Last year, the company’s non-Volkswagen revenues accounted for just five percent of its sales volume. Opening its services to other companies would immediately boost those numbers, creating a bigger revenue stream and, in the words of Astalosch, a “more balanced split between projects.”
The company has the resources, the manpower, and the leadership in place to make it happen. Now its all about actually making it happen.
Read our full review on the Italdesign GTZero Concept here.
Source: Automotive News