Stephan Winkelmann reflects on Lamborghini as he heads to Audi's performance division
Steve Cropley Autocar
10 February 2016

Lamborghini president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann is poised to take over as the head of Audi’s Quattro performance division after more than a decade in his current role.

Speaking to Autocar in a Q&A, Winkelmann, whose replacement is ex-Ferrari F1 team principal Stefano Domenicali, reflected on the state of the company:

Lamborghini volume has nearly trebled its volumes since the recession. How did you go from 1300 sales to 3300 so quickly?

“The end of the financial situation helped, but mostly it was because we improved our models. The first kick came with the Aventador in 2011, and since 2014 the Huracán has had a huge effect. We increased by nearly 25% last year.”

What do you see as the future of the super-sports car? The market isn’t expanding, is it? And Lambo has new rivals…

“It’s a fierce battle, and it’s great for the customer. The world market is still only around 31,000 units, well short of the 35,000 we saw in 2008. We think anticipation is key. You have to visualise what people are waiting for and exceed their expectations.”

How long will Lamborghini avoid turbocharged engines?

“Going to turbos is about reducing CO2, not improving air quality. We can clean our exhaust with after-treatment. So we can go for a while yet. We think buyers see the sound and response as one of our USPs, but we’re not glued to naturally aspirated engines. If we have to change, we will.”

When will we see the production Urus SUV? Will you show a concept beforehand?

“We showed a concept in Beijing in 2012. We’ll be ready to launch the car in 2018 but we still wouldn’t want to lessen the impact of the launch. We might show it about a year before, some time in 2017.”

What will be the major challenge with that car?

“Undoubtedly it will be making sure it carries Lamborghini’s DNA. It helps that there’s an SUV in our past, but we have to make certain it connects with our existing products.”

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