In the 11 years since Stephan Winkelmann became president and CEO of Lamborghini, the Italian supercar-maker has grown tremendously while weathering some tough economic times.
This week, Lamborghini’s parent company— Audi— confirmed that Winkelmann will become the new head of its Quattro subsidiary in March.
The outgoing Lamborghini boss will now be responsible for Audi’s high performance R and RS models.
He will be replaced at Lamborghini by former Ferrari F1 boss Stefano Domenicali.
During Winkelmann’s tenure, Lamborghini launched a new flagship model — the Aventador — as well as a new entry-level car, the Huracán.
And in 2018, the VW Group-owned brand will introduce a new SUV: Urus.
Together with the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce’s as-yet unnamed off-roader (code-named Project Cullinan), the Urus will form a new ultrapremium SUV segment.
In November, Winkelmann sat down with Business Insider at the opening of the company’s new New York showroom at Manhattan Motorcars.
Here are four big takeaways from the interview:
On how the Urus will change the Lamborghini
The arrival of the company’s third model will mean major changes for the company.
“It’s a major step for Lamborghini because we are almost doubling the size of our company,” Winkelmann said.
“If you have 10 models and you add one, it’s a major effort, but it’s not as difficult as what we are doing [with the Urus].”
The addition of an SUV could have the same effect on Lamborghini that it did for Porsche more than a decade ago. SUVs represent roughly 60% of Porsche’s US sales.
In 2014, Lamborghini had its best year in company history with 2,530 cars sold worldwide, a 19% increase over 2013.
On the performance of the Urus “It will be the supercar among the SUVs,” Winkelmann said.
But it also adds a different dimension to the company’s lineup of cars.
He said: “Our supercars are not meant to be used as daily drivers. Even if they are very daily drivable, it’s not their mission.
With the Urus, it’s a car that can go fast, but it’s not designed with a focus on the top speed or acceleration.
It’s a car designed to be comfortable and be a daily driver with a cruising attitude. This will be the key to its success.”
On the contrast amongst Ferrari and Lamborghini
"We are a brand that is altogether different from Ferrari," Winkelmann said.
"From the earliest starting point we did a GT auto, a 2+2 in the Espada and we fabricated the LM002 [a Hummer-like SUV], before."
He included: "We are not just a super-dons auto organization, and in the most recent 10 years we truly centered around this."
On why there won't be any electric or half breed Lamborghinis soon
In spite of the fact that the interruption of the car business by cutting edge newcomers, for example, Tesla, has been great, battery-fueled autos have far to go as far as extent and top speed, the Lamborghini President said.
A lot of this can be credited to the additional weight of the autos' overwhelming battery packs.
Winkelmann called attention to that additional weight bargains the treatment of battery-controlled autos.
He said: "You may have the capacity to go quick, however driveability all through the corners is not there.
The ability to-weight parity is one of the key components for our autos. It's insufficient to go quick.
In the past [the request of importance] was top pace, speeding up, and taking care of. Speeding up is still No. 2, yet beat speed and taking care of have changed spots."
Therefore, Lamborghini does not plan to have an all-electric or half and half powertrain in any of its supercars, yet future eras of the Urus SUV may get a mixture framework.
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