TURIN - Volkswagen Group Chairman Ferdinand Piech has rejected Zagato Design's styling of the 1999 Lamborghini SuperDiablo, delaying its launch by 12 to 18 months.
VW bought Lamborghini in July from Indonesian businessman Hutomo 'Tommy' Suharto, the son of former Indonesian President Suharto, and a Malaysian company, Mycom Bhd.
Company insiders said that Lamborghini managers disliked Zagato's bulbous shape for the car, code-named L147. But they could not convince the previous owners to change it. Zagato is a Milan-based styling studio.
Lamborghini executives considered the Zagato design to be out of proportion and not in the Lamborghini style.
The previous owner agreed to make only minimal changes, mainly to the huge air inlets for the rear water radiators.
Now several designers are being consulted in a rush to define a brand new style for the L147. Among them are Heuliez, the French coachbuilder and design house. It is showing a Diablo-based concept car at the Paris auto show. Other Italian designers being consulted are Carrozzeria Bertone, Italdesign, Leonardo Fioravanti and Marcello Gandini, designer of the Diablo. Lamborghini has decided to carry over the existing scissors doors in a bid to save time and money.
The SuperDiablo could appear in 2000, either at the Geneva show in March or the Turin show in June.