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Lambos to get lighter

Single-minded: Lamborghini president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann .

Global chief commits to a new model every year as Lambo targets weight, not power

Lamborghini logo8 Feb 2008

LAMBORGHINI will not be cutting back on performance any time soon, despite environmental pressures and the recent declaration by AMG that it would no longer chase higher engine outputs.

The Italian supercar company’s president and CEO, Stephan Winkelmann, told GoAuto last week that there is more horsepower to come, but added that future performance gains would more likely be the result of lighter weight.

Mr Winkelmann also said that Lamborghini plans to stay with its current two-model line-up for the foreseeable future, ruling out rumours that the Italian supercar company was about to follow the lead of Porsche and produce its own version of the Audi Q5 SUV.

And the Miura concept car that was shown at the Detroit show two years ago will not be put into production, despite some enthusiasm for a revival of the legendary car that really put Lamborghini on the map in the 1960s.

“The Miura was presented in 2006 to celebrate the 40th anniversary,” said Mr Winkelmann. “We will not do something like this because it is belonging to history. We want to be seen as trend-setters and not as somebody who is running out of ideas.

“We will stick to the two-model strategy. They are still quite young. [The Gallardo was launched in 2003 and the Murcielago in 2006.]

 center imageFrom top: Lamborghini president and CEO, Stephan Winkelmann, Murcielago and Miura concept (bottom).



“What we are doing is having more and more derivatives coming out of the two base models. We have high investment/low volume, so we have to create additional value out of the base investment.

“It’s important to keep the brand young. It’s important to keep the product updated and therefore we are working on having at least one new product coming out every year.”

Asked about the potential for a future front-engined, four-seater ‘GT’ or SUV-style vehicle, Mr Winkelmann said any future model would have to meet Lamborghini’s core brand values of “uncompromising, extreme and entertaining”.

“For the time being we are not planning to have any such model,” he said.

“Our products are lower, larger, sharper design than the competitors and stronger engine, higher speed, all these things, which are very consistent, and this is a message you have to repeat constantly.

“In my opinion we cannot allow ourselves to diversify too much. This can be a step which can be done in a decade or so, but not for the time being. We have to be very consistent with the image and with the message we are giving out, so we will stick to the two models.”

Mr Winkelmann agreed that there is a good point in AMG’s view that there is a limit to chasing power – but quickly added: “We don’t think we have reached the top yet”.

“There is still a race for horsepower, but what we are looking at more and more is the power-to-weight ratio, so we look more at the weight than the power, and have a better balance.

“The Superleggera was an example of building cars with new materials and we are going to develop this further in the years to come.

“I have to admit I see the same trend that there will be a stop in increasing power, but the DNA of Lamborghini is different to AMG cars – AMG is a car which is going from A to B as an everyday car. We have a pure emotional car.

“So for the time being there is still a demand of having more power and faster cars. This is still important. The base of the super sports car is zero to 100 and top speed. This is something you cannot deny. This is our par. This is the alphabet.”

Nevertheless, Lamborghini is considering a number of options for future powertrains that might suit the company’s cars and buyers, including hybrids, turbocharging and even VW’s twin-charge technology that combines turbocharging and supercharging.

“We are having heavy discussions internally about this. Now we have to have the guts to decide and we will do this in the near future.

“Being part of the Volkswagen Group, we have access to the latest technology and we are exploiting every possibility, mainly in three parts of the car that have to be consistent with a super sports car – friction, weight and, of course, the engine and the fuel you put into the engine. These are the three main issues we are working on for the future, being consistent with the DNA of Lamborghini.

“We have to match the taste of potential buyers, but by being socially responsible. If you have a potential of 20,000 people around the world (with you) and there are six billion who are against you, there is no way to survive, but this is the balance. On the one hand there are the emotions and on the other hand is the reality.”

Mr Winkelmann ruled out two options: turbo-diesels (favoured by sister company Audi) and BMW’s hydrogen power (“We don’t see any future in this technology, at least not for Lamborghini – not at all, I can assure you of this”).

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