Ferrari named on Thursday Flavio Manzoni as the new chief of design, who last served as the head of creative design of the Volkswagen Group, an appointment that could signal a dramatic change in how Ferrari designs its cars.
News of Mr. Manzoni’s appointment had been floating around since last September, and Ferrari made it official this week.
According to a news release, Mr. Manzoni, 43, will report directly to Ferrari’s chief executive, Amedeo Felisa, “and will be responsible for creating and defining the styling of Ferrari’s new cars.”
Just a few years ago, the very idea of a Ferrari design chief would have seemed absurd. Pininfarina, the illustrious Italian company, had the responsibility of designing Ferraris. In the 1950s, the name Pininfarina on the body of a Ferrari was as important as the rearing stallion of Ferrari. The design houses — like Pininfarina and Bertone — were as prestigious than manufacturers. That has changed.
But with hard times threatening the very existence of Pininfarina — and the entire coachbuilding and design industry — the appointment of Mr. Manzoni may mark a watershed. With Fiat bosses thinking more about integrating its high-end Ferrari and Maserati marques into a brand system with Fiat and Lancia, Ferrari design has recently meant something new. Frank Stephenson, of Mini design fame, served as more info
Ferrari design chief for a while, and then Donato Coco. The position has been more about managing relations with Pininfarina than drawing specific new designs. Mr. Manzoni ’s appointment raises the possibility that Ferrari may hire other designers or even create designs in-house.
Mr. Manzoni was born in Sardinia, Italy. He was trained as an architect at the University of Florence and entered the automotive world in 1993 with Fiat. Mr. Manzoni worked at Lancia and then Seat, Volkswagen’s Spanish subsidiary. Following Walter de’Silva, the VW and Audi designer, Mr. Manzoni moved to Audi in 2006 and then later to VW, where he worked on the new Scirocco, Golf and Up concepts.
Though it’s been known since the fall, Ferrari has finally officially announced the appointment of Flavio Manzoni as chief of design today.
I worked with Flavio at Lancia (I was an intern) and I can tell you that he is not only one of the most talented designers I have ever worked with, but also possibly the nicest guy as well. It’s great to see someone who is intelligent and talented, rather than an egotistical blowhard, take over a major brand.
Best of luck Flavio, I look forward to seeing what he comes up with in Maranello.