TURIN -- Andrea Pininfarina, CEO of Italian design and contract manufacturer Pininfarina, died Thursday morning in a road accident near Turin.
Pininfarina, 51, died after a car collided with the Vespa motorcycle scooter he was riding to the company's design and r&d center in Cambiano.
Pininfarina's death comes at a time when the family-controlled company is in the midst of a crucial restructuring.
Last year, Pininfarina's consolidated net loss increased to 114.9 million euros from 21.9 million euros the previous year.
Andrea Pininfarina has been Pininfarina's CEO since June 2001. He was also appointed chairman in May 2006. His father Sergio is the company's honorary chairman. His younger brother Paolo is Pininfarina's vice chairman and his elder sister Lorenza is a member of company's board.
Andrea Pininfarina is the grandson of Pininfarina founder Battista "Pinin" Pininfarina. He is survived by his wife Cristiana, and two sons and a daughter.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said in a statement Pininfarina was "the representative of a dynasty that helped bring the story of 'made in Italy' to the world."
Fiat and Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo praised his business acumen.
"Italy, Turin and the Fiat group have lost a business figure who knew how to follow and develop the work of his grandfather Pinin and his father Sergio," Montezemolo said in a statement.
The driver of the car, 78-year-old Giuliano Salmi, was taken to hospital suffering from shock.
"I didn't see him, I was going slowly and I really didn't see him," Salmi said, according to local news agency Ansa.
Andrea Pininfarina was born in Turin, the centre of Italy's car industry, on June 26, 1957 and joined the family business in 1983 after gaining a degree in mechanical engineering.