The CEO Of Lamborghini Talks Fast Cars And Young Buyers

Lamborghini Urus SUV

Photo: Courtesy Lamborghini

The Italian carmaker may launch its second ever sports utility vehicle (SUV) the Urus – showcased at the recent Beijing auto show – by 2017 to tap into the growing demand of SUVs in developing markets. 

Lamborghini, which sells its two cars Gallardo and Aventador between Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 4.5 crore each, expects India to grow to about 50 cars by 2015 even as its biggest Asian market China saw orders decline by 20% over the last month.The sports car brand will also expand its presence beyond Delhi and now Mumbai – where it debuted Wednesday – to another south Indian city. Stephan Winklemann, the global president & CEO, spoke to TOI in a one-on-one interview about the road ahead for the luxury car brand in India. Excerpts: 

TNN: You were hit badly during the 2009 financial crisis. How are things shaping up now? 

Stephan Winklemann: I always told people that we are not recession proof back then. But this time, it is a little better as there are more positive signs than negative. There is a good run that we are seeing in France, Germany, Middle East, the US, obviously far away from the heights of 2007-08. But Italy has a problem. 

We have also seen initial signs of a slowdown in China although it is too early to say anything as yet. But order intakes have fallen over the last month. 

TNN: It has been over five years since you launched your first showroom in Delhi. How has it been so far? 

Stephan Winklemann: When we came in 2006, we expected a faster growth because we thought the Commonwealth Games in 2010 will give a big boost to infrastructure and bring immense growth to these types of cars. But that did not happen, although, we are still positive about the market here as more people and particularly youngsters in their 20s are buying our cars. We expect to sell around 40-50 cars by 2015 from the 14 we sold last year. We are planning to set up the National Sales Company (NSC) in India to gauge the potential of each region, which shows the company’s commitment to this market. Between Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai, we can open a third showroom in the near term. 

TNN: You said 20-25 year-olds are purchasing your cars. Is that peculiar to India? 

Stephan Winklemann: Yes, this is an Asian phenomenon and the only two countries where we are seeing this trend are India and China. Most of the European and the US markets are dominated by older customers. This is one reason why we are positive about the India market as it is a good sign to have young consumers who are the trend setters for the future as your buyers. 

TNN: Why are you exploring the SUV segment when the developed world is moving towards fuel-efficient vehicles? 

Stephan Winklemann: The Urus SUV concept car will drive the volumes far higher for us. It is a product that has a market. Our long term strategy is to grow volumes, turnover margins and make better business case for partners and this concept car will do exactly that.

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