There's no denying that Volkswagen's cars, especially the not-for-U.S.-consumption Scirocco, have stepped up their game in the looks department lately. That change is thanks in part to Flavio Manzoni, VW Group's head of creative design. But the design language developed under Manzoni had better last VW a while, as the latest reports out of Italy indicate Ferrari has stolen Manzoni out from under them.
The new job as the head of Ferrari's design shop doesn't start until January 1, 2010, but it's already being widely reported in the European press.
Part of Ferrari's choice of Manzoni as the new design chief is the desire to develop its own in-house design team that will allow it to rely less--or possibly not at all--on Pininfarina. The close relationship between Ferrari and Pininfarina has spawned some of the most striking cars in history, however, so enthusiasts may mourn the transition presaged by Manzoni's hiring.
The Pininfarina P4/5 built on a Ferrari Enzo chassis for James Glickenhaus is just one example of the duo's gifts to automotive history. Other fantastic vehicles from the past include the Ferrari 500 Mondial, the 250 GT and its many variants, the Testarossa o the 1980s, the legendary F40, the 575 M Maranello, and, though it's not always recognized as a "true Ferrari", the Dino. More recently, the 612 Scaglietti, F430 and California were also Pininfarina-penned creations.
Manzoni will report directly to CEO Amedeo Felisa when he comes on board next year.