Lamborghini CEO: We need to adapt despite record-breaking Q1

Pras Subramanian
·3-min read

The global economy, at least in some segments, is really heating up. Take the world of automobiles. Strong rebounds appear across every segment in terms of new car sales (and even the used market), as well as the higher echelon of luxury and exotics.

Nowhere is that more evident than at Italian supercar-maker Lamborghini (VWAGY). First-quarter deliveries for 2021 hit an all-time record for the brand, which saw 2,422 cars delivered, a 25% increase over the same number from Q1 in 2020, but also 22% higher than the same period back in 2019, another record-setting quarter that was not affected by the pandemic.

Lamborghini President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann notes that while Q1 was strong, the rest of the year could be even better. “We started the year with an order bank of presold cars, let's say, of nine months covering the year 2021,” he told Yahoo Finance. “And now after the first quarter, I can still say that this is [even] better, that we still have nine months of solid order bank for the year.”

Basically Winkelmann is saying the next nine months of car production at the factory in Sant’Agata, Italy, is already spoken for - meaning an order placed today would have a December of January build date. 

Lamborghini Pres. & CEO Stephan Winkelmann
Lamborghini Pres. & CEO Stephan Winkelmann

So Q1 was great for Lamborghini, but surprisingly 2020 was actually a solid year for Lamborghini too — in fact it’s most profitable. And this includes a factory shutdown earlier in the year due to COVID-9, not to mention Winkelmann rejoining Lamborghini as its CEO in the middle of the pandemic, following a successful run as its CEO from 2005 to 2016.

Clearly the high-end, luxury customer wasn’t nearly as affected by the pandemic, or at least that buyer recovered quickly. And one vehicle they were buying post recovery was the Urus SUV.

“It's a game changer, the Urus, for us, because it more than doubled the [sales] volumes,” Winkelmann says, and having the Urus in the Lamborghini brand stable is a “prerequisite of being successful, and to be able to reinvest in the future of our super sports cars, like the Aventador and the Huracán.”

Speaking of those supercars, Winkelmann is most excited for the release of the upcoming Lamborghini Huracán STO, which is basically a street-legal race car and purest form of the Huracán sports car that clients can buy.

Lamborghini Huracán STO
Lamborghini Huracán STO

While Winkelmann says the response for the STO has been very positive, as he looks to the future he knows changes will have to be made, and brand will have to adapt. And this all comes down to what governments demand both here and abroad when it comes to emissions and cutting greenhouse gasses.

“We have to adapt without jeopardizing our DNA — in other words, we have to change everything to continue to be the same as before,” Winkelmann says when asked about electrification. It’s not exactly an easy subject to discuss when deep-pocketed clients want those big V12 and V10 engines in the back of their sports cars.

It's a tough task, but Winkelmann says in a few "weeks" all will be revealed when it comes to Lamborghini’s future with regards to electrification and hybrid technology. Fans of the brand are waiting with bated breath, but I have a feeling Winkelmann and his team will produce something that will have fans clamoring for more.

After all, success is all Winkelmann has known across two different stints as Lamborghini's CEO, leading that famous charging bull back to relevance.


Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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