It’s always an absolute pleasure to interview Stefano Domenicali, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Automobili Lamborghini.
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People, ideas and work combined with technology and innovation are the pillars of Lamborghini. Urus is certainly the most recent expression of all this, but I have the feeling that it represents much more.
Yes, Urus is not only our third model and the first Super SUV on the market, for Lamborghini it is definitely a game-changer.
The Urus is an important part of our strategic investment programme over the last years. We doubled our production site at our factory headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese from 80,000 m2 to 160,000 m2 and created the Manifattura Lamborghini inside the new facilities with new technologies applied. Thus Urus brings about a substantial increase in the company’s production capacity, doubling it to more than 7,000 units a year as well as a significant increase in our workforce with 500 new jobs already created.
The customer feedback is excellent, and we see this in our order portfolio. With the Urus, we are going to broaden our product range and enlarge our customer base: nearly two-thirds of the orders are coming from customers completely new to our brand, confirming that this is a new Lamborghini for a different type of customer. We are very confident to more than double the output of our sales in 2019.
Your role is, without any doubt, really challenging. Does your experience in Formula 1 help you with your current position?
As in a Formula 1 race, when the light turns green, everybody must be ready for maximum performance and especially the cars must be prepared perfectly. Our company is not a Formula 1 team, but we need to act as if it is. We must be quick with our actions and reactions; we need perfect teamwork. Our goal is to adapt to the needs of our customers and to the changes in the market, and consequently, we have to be fast and efficient, like a racing team that wants to win the world championship.
Super Trofeo and GT3 are the flagships of the sports side of Lamborghini, at the intercontinental level. Are some elements still missing?
I think we have all the necessary ingredients so far: with our GT race programme, we are promoting our streetcar range that our customers can enjoy every day. Our Huracán race cars are the optimal expression of our V10 series production model. Both versions share a major part of the technical solutions, and the experiences collected in race competitions go into the streetcars and vice versa.
The success on the racetrack strengthens the quality of our products: during the last years, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo has become a reference within the one-make-series championships.
With the Huracán GT3, we already managed to write important chapters in racing history: with ten international championship titles in only two customer race seasons, the class victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring this year. We are the only brand to have won these two American championships in the same year.
At the moment, we’d like to stabilise our racing platform, because it is the closest to our DNA. Of course, we are always looking ahead and will also assess new interesting opportunities in motorsport once they open up.
Our company is not a Formula 1 team, but we need to act as if it is.
Museum, private track, and hybrid engines – what are the updates?
Our Lamborghini Museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese is a great success. Last year, we had a record number of 100,000 visitors, and in the first months of 2018, we registered an increase of 25% compared to last year, with enthusiasts and groups coming from all over the world.
We just inaugurated the exhibit “Film Emotions – Lamborghini and the World of Cinema” with Lamborghini models that have left their mark on the big screen, from the Miura of The Italian Job (1969) to the Aventador of The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
As you know, a private Lamborghini track doesn’t exist at the moment. We test our new cars in Nardò and at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, and with Lamborghini Accademia, we offer driving experiences to our customers on the most beautiful racing tracks all over the world. If new opportunities arise in the future, we will for sure evaluate them with great intent.
The Urus will be the first Lamborghini with a hybrid engine. The additional weight of the batteries, which compromises vehicle dynamics and the packaging that influences the layout of the vehicle, is less significant on an SUV compared to a super sports car. The additional torque generated by the electrical motors fits perfectly with the mission profile of an SUV.
Nevertheless, on our super sports cars, the hybrid technology will be implemented in the next generation and in combination with the V10 and the V12 naturally aspirated engines, without compromising the character of a super sports car.
What is your opinion on the change taking place in Formula 1, both from the point of view of the brand, the impact on the public and the fans, and the technology?
Formula 1 is in a very important phase of transformation in all relevant sectors, from the commercial one to the technical and sporting ones. Liberty Media, together with FIA, are trying to shape the future of the sport in order to give a strong and healthy direction for the next challenging years. I do believe that we are in the right direction and the choices that will be made in the next months will be crucial.