Lamborghini is on course for a global sales record for the ninth consecutive year in 2019. Starting in 2020, however, its volume is expected to stabilize at less than 8,500 vehicles a year to preserve the brand's exclusivity and protect resale values. To push annual sales above 10,000 the Volkswagen Group subsidiary needs a fourth model, which isn't due before 2025. Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali discussed these topics and more with Automotive News Europe Associate Publisher and Editor Luca Ciferri.
Is Volkswagen Group considering an IPO or a divestiture of Lamborghini?
Those decisions are made by our shareholders and the VW Group supervisory board. What I can say is that all this interest around Lamborghini means that the team here has done a good job.
What are the biggest achievements?
Last year we increased sales by 51 percent to 5,750 units and revenue by 40 percent to 1.42 billion euros. This year we will set once again new records for sales -- about 8,200 units -- and revenue. Recognition and appreciation of the brand has also grown significantly. To give an example, we have customers who are willing to pay 25,000 euros more than the list price of a new Urus to get immediate delivery of a used model.
Is the waiting time for the Urus still a big issue?
On average, we are at about nine months, which is fine for a high-end SUV. It takes about a year to get the S version of the Aventador while the Aventador SVJ is sold out. It takes six months to get a Huracan. These waiting times are OK in most markets, but we see a growing trend in the Far East, Middle East, California and Florida where customers want to buy the car they see in the showroom. Properly managing dealer inventory is a delicate business exercise with a lineup of cars priced between 100,000 and 300,000 euros.
What percentage of Urus sales are conquests?
About 70 percent of its customers are new to the brand.
What is the retention rate for your supercars?
More than 70 percent are repeat customers.
Are the buyers about the same age?
No. Most Urus buyers are 45 to 55 years old while our supercar customers are between 30 and 45.
The Urus accounted for more than 40 percent of your first-half global sales. Will that number grow or shrink for the full year?
The Urus will account for about 55 percent of our 2019 sales. That is roughly 4,500 units, which it its full capacity for a year.
Could you expand Urus production even further?
We have the capability to do this but not the willingness right now. This year sales in Russia will grow twofold to 126 units and twofold in India to more than 40 units. Sales in Italy have grown threefold to about 200 units. We could eventually boost Urus production to help shorten the waiting times in markets such as these, where the model has performed well above our expectations.