Lamborghini: five models that became the legend of the car manufacturer
In 1948, in post-war Italy, Ferruccio Lamborghini was a thriving tractor manufacturer. The mechanization of agriculture enabled this Bolognese engineer, born in 1916, to become the second largest tractor manufacturer in the country after Fiat in less than a decade. A failed racing driver makes up for his frustration by buying Lamborghini Ferraris… Provided he finds them less reliable than Alfa Romeos or Mercedes. In 1962 he complained to Commendatore: “Ferrari, your cars are rubbish!” The latter replied to him disdainfully: “Lamborghini, you can probably drive a tractor, but you will never be able to drive a Ferrari properly.”
Frustrated, Lamborghini only seeks revenge. It will find engine engineer Giotto Bizzarri at the origin of the Ferrari 250 GTO’s V12. Wanting to step out of Ferrari’s shadow, Bizzarrini accepts a mission: to design a V12 engine that is more powerful and less fragile than Ferrari’s. At the same time, Ferruccio Lamborghini called on designer Franco Scaglio, who had just left the famous coachbuilder Bertone.
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On October 30, 1963, Lamborghini presented its first car at the Turin Motor Show: the 350 GTV. This large coupe is then announced at a price of 5.8 million liras (equivalent to 73,000 euros in 2021). Then it cost twice as much as the Ferrari 250 GTO… But it remained a prototype. The last version was released in 1964. Changing its name to 350 GT, it kept the general line of the prototype. Its price is finally around 9 million lira (US$13,990). Lamborghini released. Around 120 copies will leave the factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese (a district outside Bologna).
The brand is developing rapidly and diversifying its models: Miura, Espada, Jarama, Urraco… The common point of all of them is bullfighting, hence the name. The problem: the productions remain secret. If he makes a lot of money with his tractors, Ferruccio Lamborghini loses more with his cars. He stops, but nevertheless sells all his holdings and retires to his villa in Perugia in 1974, where he will die in 1993.
That year, the brand introduced the iconic Countach, which combined design and power. “Even today, these are the two arguments that make a potential customer sign an order form. This is above all what a Lamborghini driver is looking for, “explains Federico Foschini, the number 2 of the brand. After many financial adventures, the bull manufacturer became a subsidiary of Audi in 1998. And the reliability of the German brand was reflected in the Italian brand, maintaining the exclusive and brutal character of the models. .Audi rationalized production and allowed it to explode.Lamborghini sales quintupled in ten years!
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The manufacturer’s commercial strategy is simple: it relies on its SUV, Urus (see below) as a volume model (accounting for 60% of sales, 15,000 units sold since 2018), Huracan and Aventador as hyper sports coupes. and roadsters and at the top of the pyramid, limited edition hypercars. The latest model to date: the Countach LP 800. 120 copies of this revival of the most famous “Lambo” were sold in less than two months. They were paid 2 million euros each, excluding taxes (that’s 450,000 euros for the French client!).
Lamborghini’s strength compared to Ferrari is secrecy. The brand has never excelled in major motor racing (neither F1 nor Le Mans), but it attracts; Without a doubt, it is a machine of advantages. Its degrees start where others leave. Unlike the French Bugatti (which also belongs to the VW group), “Lambo” has fun with its extravagance. While a good portion of customers chooses the black color of Bruce Wayne on the Batmobile, the other chooses bright colors and accepts them.
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Surprisingly, unlike other luxury car brands, Lamborghini does not create any feelings of jealousy and enmity. On the contrary: people give thumbs up as they pass by; at the parking lot they ask to take a selfie with him as if he were a star. And this interest is also reflected in social networks: Lamborghini has 30.8 million fans compared to Porsche’s 25.7 million and Ferrari’s 20.8 million. If naturally rich, the customer history is young, on average 45 years old. The logic: to be able to slide into this car with elytra doors at ground level, you almost still have to be flexible, reach the limit of curvature.
There are five Lamborghini dealerships in France. It’s like in Italy. But Monaco is also worth adding. “The situation is unique in the world. We have two non-competing dealers within 50 kilometers. Every year we sell 50 cars in Cannes and about 70 in the principality”, explains Federico Foschini. As with the Dacia at the other end of the price spectrum, you can’t hope to get even the slightest discount here.
A Lamborghini customer does not argue about prices… On the other hand, he will look for tax optimization measures for his racing car. The simplest (and legal) solution: buy it with the equivalent of a SCI (real estate civil society) for cars in Luxembourg. More than two-thirds of buyers of badly damaged cars have used this technique, as the environmental penalty exceeds €10,000 (€40,000 in 2022). The result: while allowing points to be retained, the State of Luxembourg pockets the VAT that should have remained in France.
Paradoxically, an “ultra-rich car” like the Huracan EVO doesn’t pollute that much. The owner of such a model drives about 5,000 kilometers per year behind the wheel of a racing car, which means that it emits only 1.66 tons of CO2 per year. This is the same as the emissions of a gasoline-powered city car driven 15,000 kilometers per year.
If the maximum penalty reaches €50,000 in 2023, the Italian manufacturer’s wealthy customers should not be affected by the car tax exile from 2024. And Federico Foschini added: “On this date, half of our engines will be electrified. We will offer hybrid or 100% electric vehicles to reduce our carbon footprint. As a manufacturer, our approach has always been to stay ahead of our competitors. If Aston Martin and Ferrari are introducing Super-SUVs today, well, we’ve got a head start. We intend to keep it.”
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5 models that became the legend of the manufacturer
1. 350 GTV (1963)
The first ever Lamborghini, its V12 engine would be acquired and improved with every new model until the Diablo, which was discontinued in 2001.
2. Countach (1974-1990)
With its Elytra opening doors, it is an iconic Lamborghini model and the brand’s first model to exceed 300 kilometers per hour.
Using the Countach’s 450bhp V12, the first ever luxury SUV whose design made it the Neanderthal of 4x4s.
4. Murcielago (2002-2010)
In the first model of the Audi era, the principle of doors opening at a height is used. Fifty of the more than 3,000 copies will be roadsters.
5. Sian (2019)
The hypercar shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show is limited to 63 copies (plus 19 roadsters). This is the brand’s first hybrid.
Urus: not really a green car
Super-SUV Urus (primitive bull from Latin, auroch) is a pet of environmentalists: it weighs 2.2 tons empty, is more than 5.10 meters long, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in only 3.6. per second and can reach 305 kilometers per hour thanks to the twin-turbo V8 with 650 horsepower.
Average quoted price: €250,000 excluding taxes. “Unlike our coupes, this is a car we use every day. The Urus is often the second or even the third Lamborghini for our customers,” says Federico Foschini, number 2 of the brand.
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