In 1963 Ferruccio Lamborghini founded the famed car company of the same name, in Sant’Agata Bolognese, a village in Northern Italy’s “motor land”.
For 50 years the Italian brand has produced unique, fast and desirable motors. Lamborghini is now a world leader from the first Lambo to the latest Veneno – cars afforded by the few, coveted by the many.
Lamborghini, a global brand that represents Italian excellence, celebrates its 50th anniversary at the Geneva Motor Show where it is showcasing a new speed machine – the Veneno.
Euronews journalist Cinzia Rizzi spoke to Lamborghini President and CEO Stephen Winkelmann and first asked about the features of the fastest and most expensive ever produced by Lamborghini.
Stephen Winkelmann: “Well there is a reason why we make these kind of cars as a special limited edition. This allows us more freedom in concept and design and the opportunity to use new materials and technology; they also have a positive effect on our other products. They inspire dreams, which for some become reality. The engine is a 750 horsepower V12, with a power to weight ratio of 1.93kg/CV, it goes from nought to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds with a speed limit of 355 km/h.”
euronews: “Only three Venano’s have been produced, so who are you targeting with this vehicle?
Winkelmann: “We always want to create excellence, something extra, a trend setter. So, beside our product range like the Aventador and Gallardo, we always have some “icons,” which represent our brand and increase the notoriety and image of Lamborghini.”
euronews: “Last year, 2012, was a record year for you with 2,083 cars delivered to 45 countries. Compared to 2011 you increased sales in Europe by 34 percent, by 50 percent in the US and 30 percent globally. Is Lamborghini immune to the economic crisis?”
Winkelmann: “In 2008, 2009 and 2010 we were hurt by the crisis. Even the luxury car market is hurt by downturn. For us, at the moment, the market is stable, but it is really difficult to provide accurate forecasts for 2013. Clearly the most important market for us is the US and let’s hope for a good 2013.”
euronews: “Historically Lamborghini is a market leader in the United States, but in terms of growth what about the Asian markets – China especially – what is your strategy to get a foothold in these markets?”
Winkelmann: “We care for all our customers all over the world. If you look back, just a few years, the sports car market in China was non-existent and today it is number two in the world. That means our style and design are well liked, not only by the Chinese, but by all Asia. The positive thing is that in that part of the world the average age is lower than in Europe or the US.”
euronews: “You set yourself the goal of reducing emissions by 35 percent by 2015. There has been talk of a SUV Urus model with a hybrid engine. Are you still working on that?”
Winkelmann: “Well we want to stick to our 2015 goal of reducing emissions. Concerning the Urus, you are right it will be the ideal car, not only the hybrid aspect, but as well for the first time a turbo engine for Lamborghini. The decision as to whether or not we develop it will be taken by the end of the year. That is why 2013 is a crucial year, our 50th anniversary year.”
euronews: “In recent years Lamborghini has focused on handling and the power weight ratio. Have your priorities changed?”
Winkelmann: “We have honed our priorities, so for the sports car the design is number one and of course performance, but there are other aspects that are becoming more and more important – power to weight ratio. We are working on reducing weight because we now have new materials, such as carbon and materials that improve stability an handling. These elements are becoming more important for sports cars now and for the future.”
euronews: “What are Lamborghini’s objectives for the future?”
Winkelmann: “The first is a successful anniversary year. We have plenty of projects going on in Italy and around the world. We will be making some noise around new products this year. I am standing in front of the second new product – the Veneno – because we have started the year with the launch of the Aventador Roadster, and you will see more later.”
euronews: “Lets talk about racing. In the early 90s Lamborghini took part in the F1 World Championship as an engine supplier for some teams and with your own Modena team. Now you are into the mono brand championship, are you thinking about a return to Formula 1?:
Winkelmann: “Our motorsport strategy is mono brand in Europe, last year we started in Asia and this year, for the first time we will be in the US, plus we want to start as a constructor in the GT3 series because this is our natural environment, as we produce cars for the road, which are similar to race tracks. We have no intention of returning to F1.”
euronews: “Last question, why is Lamborghini a dream and what makes a perfect Lamborghini?
Winkelmann: “I will start with the second part; a perfect Lamborghini is the next one, the one we will produce in the future. Why the dream car? That is easy to answer – for performance, design, and the fact that it’s an icon, which has provided dreams for children who go on to realise their dreams.”