“Huracan STO is due for launch in India” says Sharad Agarwal, head of Lamborghini India
We talk to Lamborghini India’s head on the new Huracan Evo RWD Spyder and how the business has been for the Italian marque in the country
Lamborghini has just launched the Huracan Evo RWD Spyder in India at Rs 3.54 crore and fans seem to be super excited about this. In addition to the Aventador and the Urus range, the Huracan is now available in India in as many as four variations including AWD coupe, AWD Spyder, RWD Coupe and now the RWD Spyder. “Sometime back we announced the STO, which is due for launch in India soon. A wider range helps us to bring more excitement, reach out to these sets of people and bring them to our family”, says Sharad Agarwal, head of Lamborghini India. He also sheds light on how the brand has been performing in India and once the pandemic related restrictions are eased off, we might get to experience a cool “touch and feel program”, where we will hopefully get to drive some of these super exclusive exotics.
Sirish Chandran: Tell us about the new Huracan Evo RWD Spyder that has just been launched in India
Sharad Agarwal: This car is engineered for individuals who are looking for engagement from the rear-wheel drive set-up and less intrusion from electronics. The enjoyment comes mainly from the hardware of the car rather than the software. In terms of performance, it accelerates 0 to 100kmph in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 324kmph. The soft top can open or close in 17 seconds which you can operate up to 50kmph. We have seen over the years that people love spyders for the lifestyle it allows. It’s also the fourth model into the Huracan Evo family, we have the all-wheel-drive coupe and spyder and now the rear-wheel-drive coupe and spyder. Sometime back we announced the STO, which is due for launch in India soon. A wider range helps us to bring more excitement, reach out to these sets of people and bring them to our family.
The Urus is driving our growth and how we are managing the sportscar business. Urus is contributing more than 50 percent of our business in India. It is not only helping us reach out to new customers but also helping us reach new geographics. If we look at the first hundred deliveries of the Urus, 75 per cent of the customers are first-timers. It is attracting more clientele to the family and to the brand, which is really exciting because it is not only helping Lamborghini grow the business but is also helping the overall growth of the super luxury segment in the country.
SC: What has been your Q1 performance this year? What are your Sales Like?
SA: At the start of 2021, we said we want to have another record year in India. We wanted to surpass our own performance in 2019. In 2020 we all know that the year had an impact both on supply and demand sides. So let’s leave that aside. In the first four months, we were aligned to these objectives. The business was positive, it turned back very strongly after phase one of Covid-19, and from October 2020 until March 2021, our order bank was growing more than 20 per cent vis-a-vis the same period previous year. This was before the Covid-19 wave hit us. This helped us create a strong order bank which is still giving us a strong possibility that we will have another strong year. Most of our models are on a waiting period of 10 to 12 months today. What remains to be seen is how we bounce back from the second wave of Covid-19.
SC: What were your numbers in 2019 and 2020?
SA: In 2019 we declared 52 cars. For 2020 they have officially not declared the numbers but yes, the industry has declined by 30 per cent and our decline was also about the same line actually. We are comparing ourselves to our performance in 2019. We really cannot take 2020 as a year of performance. The factory was shut down, the supply and the supply chain was interrupted.
SC: A big part of your selling tools were your on ground events, at the racetrack, at the Giro, now you've not had anything for more than a year. Has that affected your business?
SA: The customers understand that the situation is not right. One of the key strengths of our strategy was that we were working on two things. One, how do we bring the model faster to the market, and second how do we create unique experiences for our customers. So yes, we want to go back to experiences because this is what Lamborghini stands for. We planned a lot for Lamborghini day this year in Goa in April but we had to cancel two weeks before the program. We had a lot of confirmed attendees. We could have seen approximately 50 Lamborghinis in Goa. I hope that situation improves in the second half of the year.
SC: Are you seeing a lot of resistance from customers with the pricing? Because now the pricing is going up and it is going up in big jumps. Is that affecting the market?
SA: It does make an impact on the market because you always like to keep consistency in the pricing structure. Buying a car is not a one month process. We have customers who really are in touch and we have converted them in three to four years. So, by the time we start a conversation with customers, price points can change by 10 percent or 15 percent. It makes an impact on them. As a brand, we have been conscious about it. We know that the exchange rates are pushing it hard and it is going to make it difficult for us, but i think we are still pulling through it and trying to keep the consistency. We have to be watchful because we know how the currency is moving and that is the impact which we have. We already have a very high tax on our cars including around 50 percent GST. So, we don't expect that to change much in the coming years but at least if the currency is stable.
SC: Recently, globally you all announced your electrified strategy. What is the kind of feedback that you're getting from your customers here in India? Are your customers here in India excited about electrification?
SA: The response was positive. Whatever is being done it is not going to be done on the premises that we are going to make any compromises. We always believed that it is not about being first to do it, it is about doing it right and doing it in the best possible way. And that is what we tried to showcase to the world when we launched the hybrid Sian. We used supercapacitors to generate power. We know that electrification is important because we have to be moving towards a sustainable future. First, we will hybridise our current model range, which we want to achieve by 2024 with the first hybrid coming in 2023. And then during the second half of the decade we are going to have the first electric EV from Lamborghini and this is going to be the fourth model series. It is creating more choices, also, at the same time continuing the electrification in a way we don't compromise the emotions, the driving dynamics and the performance that customers expect.
SC: The Urus Pearl Capsule that you showcased recently, how many orders have you got for that?
SA: We have crossed double digits. Very soon we will unveil another exciting capsule for the Urus in the market. We have a lot of enquiries and orders coming in for that. With the Urus overall we have been able to create a lot of excitement and with the Pearl Capsule we brought traditional Lamborghini colours to an SUV. The response is very positive and we still have orders coming in for pearl capsules after doing such a phenomenal thing in the short period of time of this launch.
SC: What percentage of your Urus sales are the Pearl Capsule?
SA: We have now delivered four Pearl Capsules in India and we are at about 110 odd Urus SUVs in the country. In terms of the order bank and the coverage, it will slowly grow. It is announced for a short period of time, it is not going to go forever.
SC: Also your Ad Persona package that you have, the whole suite of personalisation for the supercars, what percentage of your customers are opting for it and what are the more popular options that they are speccing on the cars?
SA: Most of the Lamborghinis are customised. We don't have two lamborghinis which are identical. Every Lamborghini is unique in its own way, because it's all about personality. You don't buy just a car, you buy a Lamborghini which reflects your personality and lifestyle. It is a very integral part of the ownership experience and every sports car which we are selling, we do have elements from the Ad Persona program. Customers invest upto 25 percent in buying options and adding Ad Persona customisation. It is a significant investment they make in terms of giving their personal touch. The popular customisation options include exterior colours, different colours for leather, stitching, embossing their initials, brake calipers, carbonfibre elements. One third of the Urus sold are in Giallo Inti colour.
SC: I want to touch upon motorsport also. you showcase the Super Trofeo, the Evo 2. When will Lamborghini India be involved in the brand’s worldwide motorsport activities?
SA: This is an area we have not been able to make much impact on. First impact we made was in 2016 when we had Arman, who was selected as Indian representative for the Lamborghini young driver's program. That was a very big achievement and he was very successful. He is still the official Lamborghini driver from the country. Yes at some stage definitely we would like to have a team from India in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo championship. We are not able to make an impact in motorsports in the country, that’s despite having an F1 racetrack in the country. There are some internal and external limitations we are going through. It is one of the things on our agenda and I still hope that sometime soon we should get a team from India to participate in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo.
SC: Recently there was news that the Aventador SVJ, the very first one that was sold in India, is now in the second hand market. It is listed by a prominent used car dealership. How does that affect your business? I remember in the past you're saying that these cars are not available in the open market and it is all in the tight circle. How does this move affect you?
SA: It's an exceptional scenario because generally it never happens. When somebody is buying a limited edition car and we see that in our market, the affection increases, and we see more and more people buying these cars. They want to keep them for a longer period. In the last one year things have taken a toll on different people and businesses in a very different way.
SC: Speaking of limited edition, the Sian, have you got any orders for india? Have you got any allocation for India?
SA: I wish so. Two limitations. One, it is priced at a very different price point. We are only making this in the left-hand-drive set-up. And we can't import a left-hand-drive model in the country. Plus if you pay the duties that we have in India, it is really a steep price. It’s quite unbelievable. It comes to €22 million.
SC: And STO, how many orders have you got for it?
SA: We do have some orders for the Huracan STO and we are planning to launch the car in the country in the second half of the year. I’m sure that it is going to create a lot of excitement. There is a limited allocation for the country. But we are confident that we will see many of them on Indian roads.
Aatish Mishra: You have the Huracan rear-wheel drive and the all-wheel drive, what's the splitting percentage between the AWD and RWD sales?
SA: The AWD model for us is about 65 per cent. The RWD models are still a smaller share of 35 percent. When we look at a rear-wheel-drive, we always recommend it to people who are pro, who have handled the sports cars and they can drive and enjoy these sports cars without the intervention of electronics in the car. Generally our recommendation is to go for the AWD option because that is much safer. The electronics will help them to enjoy drifting and to have the maximum performance.
SC: Is it not the price difference between the RWD and AWD Huracan that makes a difference for the customers?
SA: It is the price which you see but effectively when you start configuring the car it will reach the same level. And you know there are people who say, "I want to buy a rear-wheel drive." They don't change and they will buy a RWD Huracan.