Andrea Pininfarina, CEO of the Italian coachbuilder that bears his name and grandson to its founder, Battista “Pinin” Farina was killed early today in a road accident near Turin.

Pininfarina, 51, was riding his Vespa scooter at the time of the accident, other details of which have not been reported. He was married with three children.

Pininfarina had been CEO of Carrozzeria Pininfarina SpA since 2001.

News of his death immediately has sparked speculation that ownership of the company, now controlled by the family, with a 55% stake, could change. Share prices shot up more than 13%, and trading was suspended today on the Milan stock exchange.

The family already planned to cut its stake to about 30% through a share sale the firm hopes will draw in €100 million ($155 million) that can be put toward launching a new electric car in 2009. French financier Vincent Bollore is expected to invest up to €30 million ($46.5 million) Other potential investors include the son of Ferrari Automobiles SpA’s founder and Indian industrialist Ratan Tata.

Carrozzeria Pininfarina is best known for its design work for Ferrari but also has designed Alfa Romeos and other cars for Fiat SpA and the Focus line for Ford Motor Co.