I didn’t fly straight to Detroit for the auto show but, instead, bounced through New York (almost literally: I spent around five minutes on NY pavements) to see sales presentations by three of VW Group’s brands. 

First off, in the obligatory converted lower Manhattan industrial building, was Lamborghini. 2012 was good to the brand. It shifted 2083 cars around the world, up 30 per cent on last year’s total of 1602. European sales were up 34 per cent at 608 units and US sales up around 50 per cent at 562 units.  

Lambo boss Stephan Winklemann told us the Gallardo has become the company’s all-time best-seller, with a total of 13,000 being sold so far and 1162 in 2012 alone. An amazing 922 Aventadors were in 2012 and the car is sold out for 2013. 

All of which is good going in a market niche that’s well down. What Lambo calls the global ‘super sportscar market’ saw sales of 35,600 cars in 2007 and bottomed out at 20,200 units during the global crunch. However, despite the the total car market recovering well, this niche only hit 25,000 units in 2012. Much of the blame lies with Europe, which saw ‘super sports car’ sales of 15,400 in 2007 dwindling down to around 8600 in 2012.   

Winklemann remains cautious about the prospects for the niche because it is so sensitive to the prevailing ‘mood’. Indeed, sales in the company’s Italian home market remain down 50 per cent because of the recent crackdown on tax avoidance. Some supercar owners were rumoured to have been investigated by Italian tax authorities.