Lamborghini bullish on U.S. and India as crackdown hits China sales

Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:27am EDT
 
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By Anurag Kotoky

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Italian car maker Lamborghini will struggle to find another China as sales of its super sports cars in the world's biggest auto market have hit the skids due to a government campaign against conspicuous spending.

Automobili Lamborghini SpA, owned by Germany's Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE: Quote), however, sees long-term potential in the nascent Indian market and hopes better-than-expected sales in the United States, its biggest market, will offset the China sales slowdown, Chief Executive Stephan Winkelmann said.

"Unfortunately, there are not so many Chinas around the corner. And China for us is a challenge right now," Winkelmann told reporters in New Delhi.

"Still it's a big market, it's our number-two market. But I think, you know, as much as I know about the local policies, and what the government is doing, for the time being it is a little difficult to buy these type of goods."

Lamborghini sales in China grew steadily in recent years to about 230 cars last year, making the country the 'fighting bull' brand's second biggest market after the United States.

Sales of the car are expected to be around 200 this year, said Winkelmann, who was in the Indian capital to launch Lamborghini's second dealership in the country.

The China slowdown is due in part to the new political leadership's campaign against lavish spending and graft.

Super luxury brands, such as Lamborghini, are seen as especially vulnerable to the crackdown on lavish spending as pricey sports cars have come to symbolize corruption in China.   Continued...

 
Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Lamborghini, speaks with the media next to a Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550 during an opening ceremony of a new dealership, in New Delhi September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee