Volkswagen will take control of Italy's largest design and engineering firm, Italdesign Giugiaro, according to reports.
The deal, which has not been confirmed but which could be completed within seven days, makes sense as it would provide the VW Group with immediate access to experienced designers, which it needs to complete its aggressive expansion plans.
Italdesign was co-founded by Giorgetto Giugiaro in 1968 and currently has 975 employees. Giugiaro, 71, continues to own and run the company, serving as its chairman.
Giugiaro's recent work includes the Alfa Romeo 159 saloon and station wagon, Brera coupe, Fiat Grande Punto and Idea, and the Suzuki SX4 and Fiat Sedici.
Its engineering work typically remains confidential, although it was publicly revealed that the company engineered the hatchback, convertible and Clubman versions of the second generation Mini.
The company also has previous history working with the VW Group, styling the first-generation Golf, Audi 80, VW Passat and Scirocco, VW's W12 sports car concepts, plus several Seat models and Bugatti concepts.