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Lamborghini resets in Australia

Raw Italian: The Lamborghini Huracan is now on sale in Australia from $428,000, plus on-road costs.

Refreshed dealer network and new Huracan the key to Aussie success for Lamborghini

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Lamborghini logo22 Sep 2014

ITALIAN sportscar marque Lamborghini is banking on its new Huracan supercar and a rebooted dealer network to produce record sales in Australia next year.

Automobili Lamborghini has just launched the Huracan LP610-4 in Australia as the entry point to its two-model range, with a starting price of $428,000 plus on-road costs.

The new addition replaces the Gallardo in the Lamborghini range and sits below the $761,500 Aventador supercar that arrived in late 2011.

Speaking with GoAuto at the opening of the new Zagame Melbourne dealership in Richmond last week, Automobili Lamborghini head of Southeast Asia and Pacific Sebastien Henry said he expects the Huracan to top the Gallardo as the company’s best-selling model.

“The Huracan is better performing than Gallardo and easier to drive,” he said.

“Because we knew this, the factory has redesigned the production line of Huracan, so we will be able to produce more every year than what we were able to produce with Gallardo, so we are ready for the success.”

The lightweight Huracan is powered by a 448kW/560Nm 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 driving all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Lamborghini is targeting record sales Down Under in 2015 after hitting a new high last year with 47 units of the Aventador and Gallardo combined, which itself was an increase of seven units on 2012.

Mr Henry said the Volkswagen Group-owned company should record similar results this year, depending on how quickly orders can be filled for the Huracan in the remaining few months.

“In Australia if you look at the three last years, we were stable, selling 40 units per year. Even if we only have four months of sales of Huracan this year, we should be in the same level,” he said.

While Mr Henry did not divulge specific sales targets for the brand in Australia next year, he said it would depend on the output of the factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, and the demand for vehicles in other markets.

“We are targeting a record year in Australia. Test drives are happening now. We know it’s going to be big, we know it is going to be a record year. Give you a number? It’s a little bit too early,” he said.

“We have to wait a little bit, not a lot, for the next couple of weeks of test drives to understand how big it’s going to be. Then the factory is ready to produce more than we were producing of Gallardo. Still the success is so high (globally) that it’s not sure the factory is going to give enough allocation to Australia.”

When asked if there was potential for Lamborghini to exceed 100 annual sales in Australia, Mr Henry said the focus was more on reaching targets for both models rather than achieving a specific number overall.

“We are not having any number in our mind, just for the number. We are focusing on taking orders to quickly cover the 2015 allocation. So now we have 12 months lead-time, if someone wants to place an order for the Huracan now it is going to be September next year.

“The target for the next weeks is to sell completely the 2015 allocation. It’s not about a number, just a record year. It is already a good target for us.”

He also dismissed the possibility of overtaking Fiat-owned Italian rival Ferrari’s Australian sales, which reached 106 units in 2013.

 center image Left: Lamborghini Southeast Asia and Pacific head Sebastien Henry.

“We want to reach our targets for Aventador and Huracan and our targets are very high. But we are not looking at the global sales of the other brands. We only have one factory, we have our capacity of production,” he said.

“We are not looking at who is going to be number one in terms of volumes. Of course, we want to be able to sell full capacity of production. But volume brands look at each other and want to sell one more than each other this is not what we are about.”

The opening of the new Zagame-owned Melbourne premises marks something of a reboot for the brand, following a period of upheaval and uncertainty in Australia that included the collapse of the Sydney dealership in late 2012.

Global Automotive Holdings went into receivership and a number of vehicles were seized by receivers, shortly after being displayed at the Sydney motor show earlier that month.

Autosports Group was appointed last year as Lamborghini’s dealer in Sydney, after Zagame Automotive took over the Melbourne operation, but the uncertainty surrounding the Italian supercar-maker in Australia had an impact on consumer confidence.

Mr Henry said Lamborghini headquarters was aware of this and believes the new dealer partners will strengthen the brand in Australia once again.

“The first point was to appoint new dealers. Not everywhere, but here in Melbourne, we appointed Zagame for example, and we have a new dealer in Sydney that started in January last year,” he said.

“It was about making sure that we have dealers that are well known, professional and that can, of course, sell a lot, but also they can respect the rules and represent the brand in the perfect way.

“So someone here in Melbourne will have no problem in giving a down payment to Bobby Zagame. They know the down payment is safe, he knows the car is going to be produced, it is going to arrive, the service is going to be perfect. So that is very important. This is what we had to change. This is why we are good with the network we have now.”

Mr Henry said that the key to sustainable growth in Australia would come down to desirable product and a successful dealer network that also includes sites in Perth and Brisbane.

“Our network is the other reason why there is a growth potential in Australia.

The new dealership is beautiful, very visible and very Lamborghini, and this is also a change.”

Mr Henry would not comment on global sales goals for 2015, saying only that the internal target was “very challenging and exciting”.

Last year, Lamborghini sold 2121 vehicles worldwide, up from 2083 in 2012, with a record 1001 sales for the V12-powered Aventador via the 129 dealers in the 46 markets in which it has a presence.

The overall sales split between Lamborghini’s three regions was 34 per cent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 36 per cent in America and 30 per cent in Asia-Pacific, which includes Australia.

Last year Lamborghini expanded the Sant’Agata Bolognese facility and hired an additional 100 employees, bringing its workforce at the factory to 1029 by the end of 2013.

The expansion was to ensure adequate production numbers for the Huracan as well as “new projects,” according to a release from the company in January this year.

While Mr Henry declined to comment on future product, the Italian brand has confirmed the debut of a new model at the Paris motor show early next month, however the identity of the car in question remains a mystery.

All that has been revealed of the new model is a teaser sketch of the outline, with the caption: “Once perfection is achieved, you can just double it.”

Some reports have suggested it could point to a two-plus-two model, or a four-door model that was mooted back in 2008 when the Estoque concept was revealed at the Paris motor show.

There has been no update on the progress of the Urus SUV project, with Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann confirming with Automotive News Europe back in April that the high-riding performance crossover was still on the cards.

“We’re not talking much about the Urus because we are fully concentrating on making the Huracan’s launch a success. What I can say is that the Urus project is moving forward as expected,” he said.

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