PARIS (Reuters) -- Luxury sports carmaker Lamborghini sees no recovery in its markets until 2011 after a 30 percent drop in sales in the first five months of this year, CEO Stephan Winkelmann said on Wednesday.
Still, first-half figures would be positive, and the company, based in Sant'Agata Bolognese in central Italy, would achieve a full-year pre-tax profit, Winkelmann told the Reuters Global Luxury Summit here.
"We could stay profitable with sales that are dropping at 40 percent (in 2009). We are foreseeing a scenario that is staying on the same level next year and coming back in 2011," he said. "I'm prepared to face another tough year in 2010."
Lamborghini was founded in 1963 by Italian Ferruccio Lamborghini. It is now a unit of Audi AG, which is owned by Europe's biggest carmaker, Volkswagen AG.
Lamborghini sold 2,430 cars in 2008 at prices ranging from 170,000 euros to 360,000 euros (about $240,000 to $507,000), Winkelmann said.
Its biggest market is still the United States despite a fall in sales of more than 40 percent there in the first five months. Winkelmann said he expected China to overtake Italy as its second-biggest market in the next three to five years, up from ninth-biggest last year.
Lamborghini boosted pre-tax profit by 27 percent in 2008 to 60 million euros on revenue up 2.5 percent to 479 million euros as it cut costs.
Winkelmann said the company had cut production by 30 percent in line with the sales fall this year. But even so, waiting time for deliveries had fallen to six months from over a year.