Stefano Domenicali joined Lamborghini as chief executive officer in February, in the midst of the company’s most successful six months to date.
Now five months into his new job, Domenicali sat down to discuss his vision for the company with Autocar.
How is your new job progressing?
“I’m very excited about this challenge because Lamborghini is in transition. We are consolidating the brand and stabilising our sales volumes for the Aventador and Huracán. Then, of course, we are preparing for the Urus SUV, which will be a game changer for us. It is a new market with new customers and we need to prepare our dealerships to sell this new car in 2018.
“On the other hand, we don’t want to lose the DNA of our cars as regards to the future of the Aventador and the Huracán. We need to grow this company in the right way. We will never, ever chase volume. We need to be a brand of a certain exclusivity.”
Do you see a limit to how many cars Lamborghini should make?
“Last year, we sold 3245 cars and this year we will grow for sure, but I want to stabilise. There is always a need to keep Lamborghini desirable, so with a two-model portfolio, I want to be around 3500 cars, no more. Urus [sales] will be on top of that and our aim in that segment is to be aggressive but, above all, we need to make sure that we have the right product in terms of design and values.”
How will Lamborghini address electrification?
“We cannot be disconnected to the world of the future but we want to be balanced. We have clearly identified the values that are fundamental for our brand in the super-sports segment. Our major customers and dealers around the world say: ‘Please do not touch the V12’. So we will continue to work in that direction.
"Then we need to make sure that as soon as the technology of electrification is relevant to our car at a cost level, and will add value, we are flexible to shift in that direction.”
When competitors are downsizing, can you continue to make a case for a V12?
“Our niche is small and it is sometimes easy to run off following everyone else, like in football: all the players run off following the ball. That is a mistake that we do not have to make. In the short term, there is still a lot of development potential in the V12.
"Of course, we need to understand what the market is doing in terms of emissions and legislation, but I don’t see that will be a problem. We are always very open to how the market might evolve.”
What is Lamborghini’s position on autonomous driving and connectivity?
“If you own a Lamborghini, you want to have the passion of driving it and we need to keep that. But new technology could have some relevance to the driver. For example, if you are on a race track, you could have a head-up display which shows you how to maximise your performance [around a corner], using the telemetry we have now. That’s an approach where I see that technology could be very useful for our customer.”
Lamborghini recently opened a new carbonfibre research centre in Seattle, home of the Boeing aerospace company. Why is that deal significant?
“Lamborghini was the first automotive company to believe in carbonfibre application in the road car industry. This new investment shows that we believe that technology will be an even stronger part of our portfolio in the future. It will help us to save weight and to have a modular, flexible approach to our cars, and that’s why we want to have a ‘technology antenna’ in the aeronautics industry, where carbonfibre is very important.”
How does your experience in motorsport enhance Lamborghini?
“It teaches me that we have to always move quickly. The approach of racing shows us that no matter where you are, at 2pm on Sunday there is a race, so you cannot delay even five minutes or one minute. That is an approach that I’m trying to bring into our culture.”