Marc Lichte to replace Wolfgang Egger as chief designer for Audi

Article by Anita Panait, on December 11, 2013

Turin-based design company Italdesign Giugiaro has bagged the chief designer for Audi, Wolfgang Egger, sources told Automotive News. Audi and Italdesign are both units of the Volkswagen Group. Italdesign, however, is still partly owned by Giorgio Giugiaro; Volkswagen owns 90.1 percent. As the new chief of Italdesign, Egger will be responsible for providing alternative design proposals for the VW Group brands.

Egger has nominally led Audi Design since 2007, but only took over operating role from Stefan Sielaff, in February 2012. Sielaff is now responsible for the VW Group's interior design. Egger is credited for revising the Audi’s styling direction to highlight technology features and reorganizing the styling department.

He was also responsible for overseeing the creation of a new design center in Ingolstadt. Prior to joining Audi, Egger held positions at Fiat's Alfa Romeo and Lancia brands. He will be replaced by senior Volkswagen designer Marc Lichte, according to the sources. Lichte is credited with several important Volkswagen brand vehicles, particularly the last three Golf redesigns.

In May 2010, the Volkswagen Group inked an agreement in which it would acquire 90.1 percent of Italdesign Giugiaro S.p.A. Under the deal, Volkswagen will also gain rights to the name and patents of Italdesign Giugiaro. The shares in Italdesign Giugiaro will be purchased by Lamborghini Holding S.p.A, the Italian subsidiary of Audi. Audi has been in complete control of the VW Group since 1965.

While the VW Group acquired 90.1 percent of Italdesign Giugiaro, all of the remaining shares in the design firm are retained by the Giugiaro family.

Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the management board of Volkswagen AG, noted that Italdesign been the leader when it comes to innovative Italian auto design, adding the firm been influential in shaping the design of the auto industry into what it is today. Winterkorn remarked that when Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the VW Golf I, it commenced the groundwork of the brand’s design during the 1970s.

Italdesign was founded by Giorgetto Giugiaro and Aldo Mantovani as Studi Italiani Realizzazione Prototipi S.p.A, on February 13, 1968, in Moncalieri, Italy. Interestingly, Volkswagen and Italdesign have a rich history of partnership since early 1970s. In fact, Ferdinand Piech, former chairman of the management board of VW Group and currently chairman of its supervisory board, was an apprentice at Italdesign in summer 1972.

In addition, Italdesign worked on the design of the first generation Volkswagen Golf (1974), Volkswagen Scirocco (1974) and Volkswagen Passat (1973) as well as the Audi 80 (1974).

The transaction to acquire 90.1 percent of Italdesign was completed on August 9, 2010.

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