If the returning Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann can optimize the model range and financial performance of the Italian supercar company so that they are as good as the exquisitely tailored designer suits for which he is known, he will be a winner.
The stylish German-Italian dedicated supporter and fashion leader – both automotive and sartorial – today headed the publication of the company’s annual results, which “despite all adversities” withstood the Covid pandemic: “The most remarkable financial result is the achievement of the highest profitability of all Times, ”he said.
This is next to the second highest year for both sales and sales.
Lambo’s electric future: We sat down with returning boss Stephan Winkelmann (56) to discuss how the Italian super sports car brand will switch to more environmentally friendly models in the next decade
Although Winkelmann, 56, was not in office when decisions were made that led to these results, the encouraging numbers obscure the scale of the challenges the Italian supercar company now faces if it is to continue to grow rapidly. changing world.
With the UK, the fifth largest global market for the supercar brand, and even ahead of Italy, I had the opportunity to speak exclusively – face to face over the internet – with him about how he intends to address these challenges.
These include: accelerating plans to launch Lamborghini’s first all-electric car; Adding a delayed fourth model to the lineup; the widely anticipated Lamborghini flotation; Expansion of the company’s highly lucrative special editions; and a much-signaled sale or transfer of Bugatti to become an electric supercar brand.
Dapper Winkelmann, who has been the face of Lamborghini for more than a decade since 2005, left his beloved company in 2016 to head the Audi Sport division of today’s parent company Volkswagen and to add Bugatti President to his portfolio in January 2018.
To his great joy, he returned to Lamborghini last December with a challenging inbox with important decisions and priority actions. This was followed by the departure of Stefano Domenicali, who headed the F1 race and whose stamp is on today’s results.
However, Winkelmann’s gaze is firmly on the future, not just the present or the past, and he knows that if Lamborghini – founded in 1963 by industrial and tractor manufacturer Ferrucio Lamborghini as a rival to Ferrari – is to accelerate just as quickly as his super sports cars Keeping pace in a rapidly changing automotive world.
Winkelmann is not only President and CEO of Lamborghini, but is also keeping the Bugatti presidential letter for the time being. This is a clear signal from the Volkswagen bosses this week that responsibility will soon be transferred to Porsche as part of a partnership agreement with the Croatian electric vehicle specialist Rimac, in which Porsche recently increased its own stake to 24 percent.
Winkelmann was born in West Berlin in October 1964 at the height of the Cold War – and only one year after Lamborghini was founded. He grew up in Rome at the age of one, where his father was a diplomat for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. His German parents had fled to the West from Russia-controlled East Berlin shortly before the Wall was built in 1961: “If they hadn’t escaped, I would have been born in East Berlin,” he said. “Fortunately they did.”
After graduating from the German School in the Italian capital, he studied political science in Rome and Munich. He did community service for two years and reached the rank of lieutenant in the West German parachute regiment at a time when fears of a Soviet invasion of the north German plain were all too real. His career in the automotive industry prior to Lamborghini mainly included advancement at Fiat.
Although Germany is his birthplace, Italy remains his spiritual and actual home, while a large part of his soul is clearly with Lamborghini.
Winkelmann can hardly be described as a returning prodigal as his financial record has always been solid at Lamborghini and elsewhere. But he’s happy to be back and enjoying the challenges ahead, he told me.
Despite the impact of the pandemic, Lamborghini sold more cars in 2020 than all but a year, it confirmed this afternoon
We saw him on a computer screen at the end of a very long table that was written in huge letters under the name of the company he runs in the small town of Sant’Agata Bolognese near Bologna and Modena in northern Italy.
It rattled through finances. Despite the Covid epidemic that hit Italy particularly hard and resulted in a 70-day production stoppage in the spring, 2020 was still Lamborghini’s best year for profitability and the second best year ever for sales and revenue, he said.
However, since Lamborghini is a wholly owned subsidiary of Audi AG (which in turn is owned by Volkswagen), the actual profit numbers are not published.
Revenue of EUR 1.6 billion (£ 1.4 million) declined 11 percent compared to pre-Covid 2019, but was still the second highest in history.
Sales of 7,430 cars delivered last year were the second-best ever after a record 8,205 last year – a 9.44 percent decrease from 2019 – despite a record high in the second half of 2020.
The United States was the largest market with 2,224 deliveries, followed by Germany (607), China (604), Japan (600) and Great Britain (517), followed by Italy (347).
China is expected to put Germany in second place this year on a backdrop of further global sales growth, he said.
This year started with a “very positive outlook,” he said, noting: “The first two months of this year have already exceeded those of the previous pre-pandemic period, and orders placed so far already cover nine months of production.”
The Urus SUV is by far the brand’s best-selling model. In fact, three out of five Lamborghinis bought last year were the Urus
The £ 159,925 high-performance Urus SUV, which posted an overall production record of 10,000 sales last year, was the top-selling model with 4,391 vehicles sold.
Both super sports car lines also made a significant contribution to global volume: the V10 Huracán recorded 2,193 cars sold (up 3%) and 846 V12 Aventadors delivered worldwide.
Six new model variants were launched, including expensive and profitable limited editions, which they refer to as “Few”. The six were the Lamborghini Huracán EVO RWD Coupé and Spyder, Sián Roadster, Essenza SCV12, Huracán STO and SC20.
But it’s the future that Winkelmann is looking for, starting with three new cars in the short term – a new V10 based on the Huracan around May or June, as well as two new V12 models.
Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann is known for his position in the automotive sector, but also for his keen sense of clothing
An overdue plug-in hybrid Urus PHEV needs to be sorted, as does a much-discussed fourth model range – expected in the form of a sporty, low-slung Grand Tourer GT or possibly a small SUV: “It’s a little early to discuss it. ” , he said.
Lamborghini has already launched its first hybrid with the Sian – a limited edition of 63 cars sold – each costing £ 2.5 million and powered by a mighty 6.5 liter V12 engine powered by a Hybrid supercapacitor, which together produces 819 horsepower and propels it from 0 to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds to a top speed of 217 mph.
In the longer term, Lamborghini will fall back on the growing electrical engineering from Audi in order to use synergies, just like the British Bentley VW, which is increasingly falling under the control of the premium automobile manufacturer based in Ingolstadt: “We are discussing the degree of electrification, the timing and also that Numbers behind it, “he said.
Once considered unthinkable, a fully electric Lamborghini is now firmly in the pipeline. Further details will be revealed “within a few weeks”. Winkelmann said: “It is something that is now conceivable, I have to admit.” It’s part of our strategy. “
But it has to be a “solid” strategy, he emphasized: “We have to have the conversation. Not only does this have to be a dream, it also has to be realistic in terms of a business case. “
He noted, “This has certainly been a big discussion over the last year. It affects every brand. “
Winkelmann was born in West Berlin in October 1964 at the height of the Cold War – and only one year after Lamborghini was founded – and raised in Rome at the age of one
While Winkelmann has his eye on Lamborghini’s green transition, there is still a future for the howling V10 and V12 engines the brand is known for
Despite the UK’s 2030 ban on fossil fuel engines, there was still a future for V10 and V12 engines. He insisted, “It’s all a matter of timing.” I don’t think they’re dinosaurs. I think these cars still have a future. The big challenge for us is to keep the rules by developing cars that are better than today and that make our customers’ dreams come true. “
When he returned to Lamborghini after a hiatus of five years, he said: “I am delighted to have a second stay here at Lamborghini. The reception of the people was very enthusiastic.
Lamborghini: Key performance indicators 2020
Sales: 7,430 (minus 9.44% compared to 2019: 8,205)
Sales: 1.6 billion euros (minus 11%, but second best of all time)
Profitability: “Record win” but not disclosed
Top Lamborghini Sales by Nation 2020
1. United States: 2.224
2. Germany: 607
3. China: 604
4th Japan: 600
5. Great Britain: 517
6th Italy: 347
Lamborghini sales since foundation: 1963 to 2020
1963 to 2000: 250 per year average
2001 to 2011: 1,800 per year average
2020: 7,430 (year of the pandemic)
“But it’s a big responsibility. The people who work here expect a lot.
“Fulfilling the dreams of people who can buy what they want is a big challenge. But I’m happy to be a part of it. “
Regarding the turnaround, he said, “In the next few months we will have to work on defining our strategy. It typically takes five years to renew all models. “
However, this will include another additional line – a fourth model – to complement the existing Aventador, Huracan and Urus.
After the pandemic, it took him a year of “stability” to plan a life after 2030. He said, “We have a very tight schedule in terms of planning.
“A small company doesn’t run for sales. It has to be profitable – a dream maker – and able to meet the challenges of the future. Investments have to come out of pocket. “
He stated, “This year is a year of stabilization, strategy and clear commitment to what we need to do for the future. It’s been a tough year for everyone.
“We have to keep taking a cool approach. We need to be clear about when we are going to do what. “
And the company had to deal with the present when planning for the future: “Talking too much about electrification can be misunderstood by our customer base and our fans. You have to do things at the right time and then you have to be the best at doing it. “
:: There has been much speculation about an IPO of Lamborghini – currently owned by Audi, which in turn belongs to Volkswagen. This can be a high risk strategy for a supercar company. Ferrari made it, but Aston Martin’s attempt failed. Winkelmann did not dispel the rumors, but said it was still being considered: “It is something that needs to be discussed with the shareholders.”
“We are in a good situation with the (Volkswagen) Group. Lamborghini’s value is certainly very high. That is clear.’
Although Winkelmann was also diplomatically informed about Bugatti’s future, VW boss Herbert Diess said this week that “Porsche is preparing a partnership with Rimac” and stated that “responsibility should be transferred from Bugatti to Porsche” and that Porsche will most likely “establish it “a joint venture with Rimac with a minority stake. ‘
Lamborghini is working on the introduction of a plug-in hybrid version of the popular Urus SUV
In 2020, six new model variants were launched, including expensive and profitable limited editions, which they refer to as “Few”. This includes the Sián Roadster (picture)
The rebirth of Bugatti in his boutique factory in Molsheim on the French side of the Rhine was a favorite project of the former Volkswagen boss and autocratic scion of the Porsche dynasty, Dr. Ferdinand Piech. His recent death can loosen these emotional ties. Significantly, VW’s most profitable publicly traded Porsche has increased its stake in Rimac to 24 percent.
Winkelmann, a social animal, admits that he misses traditional motor shows, especially Geneva, which would have taken place this month before the pandemic: “Geneva is very close to my heart. Here we have customers from all over the world. You immediately got feedback from the fans. I hope this type of show doesn’t die. “
What does he want his legacy to be? ‘It is not up to me. That judgment is for others, ”he said.
“But it is important that the company has a future. All we do is keep the dream alive and provide our employees with a solid future for them and their families. “
What if he had to choose between his passion for fashionably elegant suits and his love for Lamborghini and its cars? “Why should I choose?” He laughed. “I can’t walk around naked. But at the end of the day it’s always the cars. ”
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