TURIN -- Ferrari S.p.A. has appointed Flavio Manzoni as its new design director.
Manzoni, 45, leaves Volkswagen AG, where he was the group's head of creative design, to succeed Donato Coco.
Coco, 53, left Ferrari late last year to become director of design at British sports car maker and engineering consultancy Group Lotus.
At Ferrari, Manzoni will be asked to strengthen the supercar maker's in-house design. For more than four decades, the Fiat S.p.A. subsidiary has relied on Italy's Pininfarina S.p.A. to pen its cars. But the design house and contract manufacturer is in financial trouble. Creditor banks have been trying to sell a controlling stake in Pininfarina since December 2008.
Ferrari continues to work with Pininfarina on its new models, but the future of the relationship will remain uncertain until Pininfarina has a new owner.
Started with Lancia
Manzoni began his career in 1993 at Fiat subsidiary Lancia, where he worked on the Dialogos concept car and also styled the interior of the Maserati 3200 GT.
In 1998, he was lured to VW subsidiary Seat by Walter de' Silva, who was the Spanish brand's design director. As the head interior design, Manzoni penned the insides of the Salsa Emocion and Tango concept cars, as well as the interiors of the Altea and Leon production models.
In November 2001, Manzoni returned to Italy to head the Lancia Styling Center, where he was responsible for the interior of the Lancia Ypsilon and Musa production cars and for the Fulvia coupe, Granturismo and Stilnovo concepts.
Appointed to head the Fiat, Lancia and Fiat light commercial vehicle styling centers in 2004, he oversaw the Fiat 500 and Qubo design development. He also started the design projects for the Lancia Delta and Fiat Bravo, which were both completed after he resigned from the job in 2006.
Back to VW
De' Silva, who had risen to head of VW group design, a position he still holds, got Manzoni to return to the German automaker. He started as the group's head of creative design in March 2007.
While at VW, Manzoni was deeply involved in the three variants of the Up minicar concept. He also worked on the new Scirocco and sixth-generation Golf. He left VW late last year.
An art and music enthusiast, Manzoni plays piano and co-authored the book “L'automobile italiana,” which looks at the history of the Italian auto industry. Manzoni is a native of Nuoro, a town on the island of Sardinia. He holds a degree in architecture with a specialization in industrial design from the University of Florence, Italy.