Interview with Matteo Ortenzi, CEO, Lamborghini Asia Pacific

Interview with Matteo Ortenzi, CEO, Lamborghini Asia Pacific

How’s the growth of Lamborghini in the Asia pacific region?
It’s going good as 2018 was a very good year. I am hopeful of 2019.

How does the India market look to you with the Urus is doing well and the Indian market wanting more allocation?
India is a big market, keeping in mind different road conditions, such that those who love to drive sports car will have some problems. The Urus is flexible and helpful in fixing this problem, which is a part of this success. The Urus is there in all (market) regions, but more successful in Indian market.

So is that why India will get more allocations and priority?
Let’s see. The overall region has requested a lot of cars, so we’re putting some more stress on this quarter as possible. India, as the market, is big, so we can anticipate the changes in trend better from here.

And how are the sportscars doing in India?
Very well, as this is something we’re taking more care of. We have to balance them with the sales of the Urus. The Huracan Evo was introduced to the press in a worldwide event in Bahrain 15 days ago, and then the first market we showcased in after that was India. So we cannot forget the sportcars. The Urus itself is a sportcars in an SUV shape, something which is always very clear to everybody. Before the Urus was launched, nobody believed us. But as more journalists started driving the car, they found out that it is true. The Lamborghini DNA is very important to us, and that continues in the Huracan. Then the Performante pushed the limits just a bit higher.

What have the production numbers been for Lamborghini and do you look at the Chinese markets as well?
Speaking about the first part of the question, our sportscar sales are at about 4000 cars a year and about the same number for the Urus. Also, we do not want to go up very much, as we want to stay within the range.

How big is china for Lamborghini?
China is a very important market for everybody. It has a very big potential but a change of regulation was hitting everyone in general (not just us) especially for the big cars, so the introduction of the China 6B (emission regulations) was giving us some trouble in introducing new engines. But I think that in 2019, thanks to the Urus that was reaching the market, we can expect it to be a new start in china.

You also showcased the  Lamborghini electric car last year. What is Lamborghini doing in this regard?
Last year it was not a Lamborghini car, it was more of a vision. We don’t think the technology can fit a real sportscar. So, firstly we want to be sure to maintain and preserve the emotions and things like the engine sound, or driving feel, and with the right technology, we will move step by step towards electrification. Till then, our cars will have conventional engines.

And when do you see that happening?
A shift towards hybridization can come no later then the next generation of sportscars.

Your rivals have all moved to hybrids, even their flagship cars have hybrids.
I think what is important for Lamborghini is to make a statement and make real sportcars. Once we’re confident this can be achieved through hybridisation, then we will take the step. What we see now is that there is no durability of performance, and we do not want to compromise on our image of the one with the best emotions and performance. An electric car can do fantastic 0-100, but that’s not all that we’re looking for. An electric car cannot survive many laps on a racetrack. And that’s what we’re keeping in mind with respect to our future racecars.

So is it safe to assume that next V12 will be a hybrid?
This was something pre-announced by our CEO Stefano Domenicali, and this could be the right moment to do the first shift. But it’s still not 100 per cent fixed, but we’re discussing it.

What plans do you have fro the Huracan EVO ? What kind of volumes are you expecting
It’s still to early to say. Once potential customers drive it, only then can we say anything. But I don’t see any reason why this car should perform less than the Huracan, because we’re already able to do double-digit volumes, so I think that this car will again improve upon the sales figures of previous years

Is pricing still a big concern for India?
Not the price itself but the context that we’re adding in this car for almost the same price is very good. What we need is a real consistency in the taxation. The luxury market is highly taxed, so the only point we should underline is consistency, with a long term approach, else it can disturb the market. If there’s a clear path, then its fine.

Do you think that the fact that you no longer need to homologate a car if it has European homologation will make it a bit easier?
Yes, that means we can more easily bring in our products, a customer could really buy a Lamborghini easier.

Are you going to ramp up your dealer network for india?
Actually we have two dealers, and the dimensions we’re doing seem right. What we’re taking more care of is that the business of our other top brands is good. We don’t want to rush. For sure we see potential in tier 2 and 3 cities that are not covered at the moment. It’s not a secret that we are evaluating other openings in the near future but I want to take a bit of time and do proper analysis and then take any further steps.

How many dealerships do you have across the asia-pacific regions?
It’s 45 at the moment.

On the motorsport front, you have the Asia series, but do you have any further plans on this in india, as you have one Indian driver?
I need to see the market progress over here before justifying any commitment. At the moment we’re offering a different product to our Indian customers to participate in the Super Trofeo, let’s see if in the future we can offer a weekend for Indian customers and brand lovers. We’re evaluating it at the moment, but there’s no concrete plan.

Any plans for more experiential activities or track activities
Yes! That is for sure. We have already done tack events in the past years, such as the women’s drive in 2016 which we have done in Delhi and Mumbai. We’re also focusing on women customers, we’ll also do a Lamborghini day in month and a half or so. SO there are a lot of events to involve our customers, because this is the right phase for us, we have the right cars, so it’s the perfect time for an effective brand offensive, involving the top version of the cars

DO you see a lot of demand for the special editions coming from India?
India is still not a very big market, but there are signs for the luxury market to grow a lot because when you launch a very special model, the interest becomes very high. The high interest in the SVJ is a clear sign that the market is poised to grow.

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