Volkswagen AG bulks up its design capability with a deal to take a 90.1% stake in Turin-based Italdesign Giugiaro SpA.

The purchase also represents a roadblock to some competitors – particularly newly emerging auto makers – that had leaned on the independent IGA for design help in the past.

Among the styling house’s recent projects were a 5-seat, 4-door concept Proton Holdings Bhd unveiled in Geneva this year, Ssangyong Motor Co. Ltd.’s new C200 cross/utility vehicle and Brilliance China Automotive Ltd.’s Zhongua luxury car.

Giorgetto Giugiaro, who founded IDG with partner Aldo Mantovani in 1968 and whose family will continue to hold the remaining 9.9% stake in the design firm, says IDG now will focus solely on designing cars for VW’s myriad brands.

Existing projects with other auto makers currently in the IDG pipeline reportedly will be completed, unless clients decide to pull the work away from the Turin design house.

VW isn’t disclosing the purchase price of the stake, which officially is being acquired by Audi AG’s Lamborghini Holding SpA subsidiary, officially keeping IDG in Italian hands.

IDG has a long history with VW, having designed the original Golf hatchback in the 1970s and created the concepts that led to the first Passat, Scirocco and Audi 80.

“Italdesign is the flagship for creative Italian automobile design and has been instrumental in shaping the face of the automobile industry worldwide,” says VW Chairman Martin Winterkorn.

The acquisition of Italdesign isn’t expected to impact VW’s existing design operations, all which reportedly will remain open.