There is no commodity item on the market quite like an automobile. A car generally receives four years of development, and spends eight more years in production. Your cellphone, by comparison, will probably be replaced with a new model in the next 6 to 12 months. Cars are big business, and Stephan Winkelmann leads Lamborghini forward during one of the most interesting times in automotive world.
Top Gear had the pleasure to sit down with the humbled Berlin native and listen to his thoughts on what Volkswagen-owned Lamborghini means to Italy, and where the exclusive automaker sees itself in the future. One thing strikes through Winkelmann’s words: he is a very down to Earth and passionate guy. The way he speaks for the people of Bologna and the brand feels true in the way he describes what Lamborghini and its workforce do.
Winkelmann will celebrate ten years as Lamborghini CEO in 2015, an accomplishment for any executive who survived the major turbulence of the 2008 economic recession, not to mention CEO of an exotic luxury brand. His guidance has seen profits rise to £404 million in 2013, up from £369 million in 2012. And 2014 is poised to be even better with the successful launch of the Lamborghini Huracán.
When TG brings up the Lamborghini Asterion concept shown in Paris, Winkelmann elaborates on the future of the charging bull.
We all know what we have to do. Down the road, we see turbocharging, we see plug-in hybrids. There is no way out – assuming the legislation doesn’t change. But even if we might be granted an exemption as a small manufacturer, there is also the issue of social acceptance. Things are changing. People are more aware, more sensitive…
The social issues he is referring to are the changing trends in people’s minds about their wasteful habits. Being economical and going green has become a forefront in the 21st century, and the change is ongoing today. That can mean big changes for a brand that’s built a reputation selling stonkin’ hypercars powered by V12 engines. Winkelmann goes on to say that it’s not just about the customers who buy Lamborghinis, but also people’s perceptions of those buyers, meaning that the guy who bought an Aventador one day may not buy another for fear of being outcasted thanks to societal changes and pressure.
The interview expands further into these trends, and also delves into the Lamborghini CEO’s personal life. For the whole interview, check it out at the link here.