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VW Group CEOs say sunken cars will be replaced

REBORN: Lamborghini promises to remake 15 ultra-rare models lost to the sinking of the Felicity Ace earlier this month.

Lamborghini scrambles to replace end-of-production Aventadors

21 Mar 2022

LUXURY cars that were sent to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean when the Felicity Ace car carrier sank earlier this month – including 15 out-of-production Lamborghini Aventador LP780-4 Ultimae Coupes – will be replaced, say CEOs of Volkswagen Group’s premium brands.


Speaking to Automotive News, Automobili Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said executives at the supercar brand had to scramble to be able to replace the 15 handcrafted models, while also working to find production slots to fill orders for 70 other Lamborghini vehicles that were lost at sea.


“This was the edition which was closing the production of the Aventador, and there were 15 on board the ship,” said Mr Winkelmann.


“We put our heads together, and luckily, we are able to replace those cars, so there will be no loss for our customers in the United States due to the sunken ship. The Aventador was tricky, but we made it.”


Bentley Motors CEO Adrian Hallmark told Automotive News his luxury brand had “found a solution” to replace more than half of the 189 pre-sold Bentleys that now lay at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and said the remaining vehicles “should be replaced within six months.”


“We have already found a solution for the 100 (cars) that we can rapidly redirect, and we will catch the others up within six months. We’ve promised those customers, and we’re doing some clever things with dealers to keep (those customer) mobile, which I won’t talk about,” said Mr Hallmark.


The statements from both Lamborghini and Bentley CEOs were echoed by Audi CEO Markus Duesmann, who said the German premium brand’s approximately 1800 cars that sunk with the Felicity Ace will also be replaced.


“We are able to replace them. It will take some time, but we will do our best,” said Mr Duesmann.


In total, almost 4000 vehicles were lost with the Felicity Ace, the remainder of which are believed to be predominantly from the Volkswagen Group and bound for US customers. The roll-on/roll-on carrier caught fire at sea en route to the United States on February 16 and sank in rough seas 240nm (444km) off the southern coast of the Azores two weeks later as it was being towed back to port.


The cause of the blaze remains under investigation; however, many have speculated that a thermal runaway incident inside the battery module of one of the many electric vehicles on board may have triggered the incident.


The 17-year-old 6400-ceu ship, which was owned by Japanese Mitsui OSK Lines and sailed under the Panamanian flag, was leased regularly by the Volkswagen Group. It is estimated the incident’s total cost to the Volkswagen Group will be at least $US155 million ($A213 million).


A projection by risk-modelling company Russell Group estimates about $US438 million ($A603 million) worth of goods were on board the vessel when it sank, of which the cars were $US401 million ($A564 million).


The price of the Lamborghini Aventador LP780-4 Ultimae Coupe is $US498,258 ($A582,360), which means the 15 models that were lost at sea accounted for just short of $US7.3 million ($A9.9 million).

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