Stephan Winkelmann spoke to carsguide during the Sydney stopover of his meet and greet tour of Asia-Pacific, which also takes in the burgeoning Chinese and Indian markets; the region Lamborghini has identified as its biggest potential market.
Locally, 2007's 46 Australian Lamborghini sales figure is likely to increase by almost 50 per cent this year. Local dealers would sell more if they could get them, but the worldwide production for 2008 is already spoken for.
Despite a record 2007 which saw more than 2400 sales, some 75 per cent of which were Gallardos, Winkelmann is adamant the marque will never pursue Ferrari figures.
“If you do that you destroy the dream, no one is wishing to buy your cars,” he says. “We are a two model brand. Worldwide the average waiting time for delivery is 12 months, no longer than 18.”
That, Winkelmann says, is about the right amount to guarantee anticipation without frustration. It also guarantees the brand's elite status, which in turn should favour Lamborghini when the European Union's new emission standards come into effect in 2010.
“Lamborghini means power and power means emissions,” Winkelmann says. “But our cars are not those that are driven regularly from point A to point B. Realistically our emissions impact is zero.”
Because Lamborghini is a subsidiary of a subsidiary (it's owned by the Volkswagen Group-controlled Audi marque) the parent companies would absorb the emission targets leaving Lamborghini free to produce its immensely powerful V10 Gallardos and V12 Murcielagos. There is no interest in emulating the V12 diesel version of Audi's R8, nor it seems, much acknowledgement of the hybrids recently vaunted by Porsche.
Indeed, the current V12, a venerable device that traces it origins back several decades, will continue possibly beyond the current model cycle, albeit with some refinements in terms of efficiency. Surety is further provided by Lamborghini's status as a heritage icon, something Winkelmann is satisfied that not only European Union commissioners comprehend, but which translates to public goodwill.
“Apart from the question of what is environmentally acceptable now and in five years, there is also the question of social acceptability,” he says.
“My own car is a Gallardo Superleggera and as I drive this much more often than a typical owner, I have a feeling of how people think of it."
“With this car it is always this,” Winkelmann says giving a thumbs up, “and never this,” giving the thumbs down.