Considerations around the “Body-maker” profession in Piemonte (IT)


photo credit: nixArt

Piemonte, a region of North-West of Italy, was the cradle of design and creativity in the automotive sector in the past years. For this reason, in the ’60s, was considered the region of the automobile.

A very small number of handworkers, craftsmen, medium and large companies, managed with passion and professionalism. Professionalism acquired on the field that generated a know-how in the art of “Body-maker”.

There weren’t schools of design for modeling, metal plates or upholstery; everything was realized by masters. To cite some examples come immediately in our minds Pininfarina, Bertone, Ghia, Vignale, Michelotti, Frua, Savio, Caprera, Moretti, Scioneri, Fissore, Viotti and others, more or less known, but equally valuable subcontractors supporting the car manufacturers.

These names are nowadays only in the memory of the car enthusiasts.

Car and Italian style: just thinks about Turin, its body-makers, its stylists and designers, its research centers, independents or arose under the banner of the Fiat Group, that in the great international challenge, represented the “made ​​in Italy” with the assets of its industry and its people. A long and eventful history of men and machines, of craftsmen and technicians, of factories and workshops, more and more advanced technologies and creativity, conquests and defeats. Companies that have evolved and others that have sprung up to provide new jobs and services in an industry more capable of looking to the future than to a glorious past.

A story that seems an extraordinary novel, but now all this wealth is almost vanished.

The reason of this deterioration, besides the global economy trends, is the shallowness of many “adventurers” who was deluded to substitute those pioneers who made ​​their profession a form of mission.

The new companies born in that sector carried out a “low prices” strategy that gradually destroyed any perspective for future development and know-how enhancement, providing low quality for short term profit.

This strategy pursued by a low level workforce and a narrow-minded management, was oriented to beat the competitors with low prices by a continuous costs saving. The cars manufacturers experiencing this drop in quality and professionalism, gradually reorganized themselves insourcing those activities.

The existing skills and tradition of the true body-makers should be reorganized and developed in order to bring out the culture that the automotive world has always had as a reference.

Young people should be involved and inspired giving them the possibility to became professionals in that field by practical experiences and training. Design schools (which today are merely a business) should be more selective reducing eventually the number of students for a more valuable education aimed at getting real professionals able to operate making leverage on the most advanced technology.

It’s the creativity and the “human touch” that make an exciting car. Through that “human touch” the men/women are able to transfer into their creations feelings, emotions and pleasure. These “ingredients” shouldn’t be missing in the project of a car.


(Translated by Raffaele Vincenti)

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