A worldwide crackdown on emissions and economy will not hurt Lamborghini, according to the chief executive of the Italian brand.
Stephan Winkelmann, who heads Lamborghini for the Audi group in Europe, says this year is already a sellout and Australian sales will probably be up almost 50 per cent on the 45 cars delivered last year.
He says his company is booming and he is not worried about future emission standards.
“Apart from the question of what is environmentally acceptable now and in five years, there is the question of social acceptability,” Winkelmann says.
“Lamborghini means power and power means emissions".
“But our cars are not driven regularly from point A to point B. Realistically, our emissions impact is zero.”
During a brief trip to Sydney on a visit to the Asia-Pacific region— including the booming Chinese and Indian markets — Winkelmann says support for Lamborghini has never been better.
He reports a record result for last year, with more than 2400 sales, dominated by a 75 per cent share for the Gallardo.
But Lamborghini will never fight Ferrari for sales supremacy in the supercar class.
“If you do that you destroy the dream; no one wants 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, he says, ensures anticipation without causing 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.
Because Lamborghini is a subsidiary of a subsidiary — owned by Audi, which is part of the giant Volkswagen Group — the parent companies will absorb the emission targets with their more mundane and fuel-efficient models.
This will leave Lamborghini free to produce its immensely powerful V10 Gallardos and V12 Murcielagos.
Winkelmann says Lamborghini has no interest in copying Audi's decision to fit a V12 diesel engine into its R8 supercar in addition to the existing V8 petrol powerplant, or to move into petrol-electric hybrids, despite Porsche's commitment to a hybrid in its forthcoming Panamera flagship.
Indeed, Lamborghini's current elderly V12 — which is several decades old — may be produced beyond the current model cycle after some refinements in efficiency.
Winkelmann says Lamborghini is a motoring icon, which ensures public goodwill and should help in the negotiations over emissions.
“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,” he says.
When driving around, he gets a lot of feedback.
“With this car it is always this,” he says, giving a thumbs-up sign.
“And never this”, giving the thumbs-down.
Would you still purchase a Lamborghini even if it doesn’t follow the green trend?