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CAR interviews Lambo bosses Stephan Winkelmann and Maurizio Reggiani (2010)

Fri, 16 Apr 2010 00:00:00 -0700

By Tim Pollard

Motor Industry

16 April 2010 09:49

CAR sat recently sat down for a one-to-one interview with Automobili Lamborghini president and chief executive Stephan Winkelmann and R&D director Maurizio Reggiani. The two bosses discuss future plans, what having Porsche as a partner means, the prospect of hybrid Lambos and how they’ve coped with a global recession that’s wiped 40% off their sales.

CAR: Supercar makers had a torrid time in the recession. Will you ever recover to the record 2008 levels?

Stephan Winkelmann: ‘It’s difficult to imagine that this will be any time soon. I think the year 2010 will be very tough.’

How difficult has it been?

‘We sold 1515 cars in 2009. That’s 37% down on 2008, when we sold 2430. The US market was hard, it’s our biggest market and had the biggest drop. We lost people in the real estate business in the US, and young bankers who made quick and easy money. We don’t know if and when they might come back.’

When modelling your business plan, do you see a gentle return in 2011?

‘Some markets such as China are returning fast. Others are stable, others risky. There is no nice forecast for us, unfortunately. I ask my people the same question every day!’

Which Lambos do they buy in China?

‘They started off buying Murcielgaos, but new markets tend to start with the bigger cars. It’s now a more balanced mix. I think we will sell more than 100 cars in China this year.’

With the backdrop of CO2 pressures, why not build a smaller Lamborghini? We notice partner Audi is doing an R4…

‘We showed the Estoque a couple of years ago. It was a very fitting car for a brand like Lamborghini. But for the time being, we are not thinking about a third model. We’ll stick with the Gallargo and Murceilago.’

Talking of future product, what can we expect from next year’s new Murcielago?

‘We never talk about the future. The point is, we sell emotions. If we talk about what might happen, customers might wait. And that’s not good…’

Lamborghini’s position in the VW group is pretty clear. But will you be pushed in different directions with Porsche coming on board?

‘Not at all. We are the most extreme manufacturer in the group, in sportiness and distinctiveness. There is no discussion about it. We do not overlap with Porsche – they have completely different customers. The shape, the brand, the pricing – we’re so different.’

What can you do to top the cars you sell today?

‘We will always surprise our customers. I am certain of that!’

>> Click 'Next' to read Lamborghini technical director Maurizio Reggiani on the future tech bound for your next Lambo

By Tim Pollard