Steering The Raging Bull: Stefano Domenicali
Lamborghini has been making some giant leaps in automotive engineering for over five decades now. In spite of being proud of their heritage and their past, the man at the helm of the company, Stefano Domenicali knows that they cannot dwell on their past and need to keep reinventing themselves, staying ahead of their competition as well as the changing times. Edited excerpts from an interview with the man himself:
How do you plan to go forward as far as electric cars are concerned, given Lamborghini’s heritage of V12 engines?
I would say that the mega trend of the world so far has been moving in the direction of the electric vehicle. But, our legacy is our V12 engines. However, because of environmental regulations and the rising concern for better fuel economy, we have to supplement the engine with an electric system soon and move towards a hybrid one. Needless to say, for at least a decade, the V12 is here to stay till we get connected to hybridisation. But like I said, our engines are our legacy. Our V12s will find a place in our roster.
Lamborghini was a part of Formula One in the past but withdrew from the sport. Will we see a Lamborghini make a comeback?
If I were to follow my heart, then sure, we as a division would jump right in. It would turn out to be a prominent part of our motorsports platform. However, we need to stay concurrent with what is essential to the brand. We also need to remember that unlike Ferrari, Lamborghini wasn’t birthed by a team of racers and pit crew members. As much fun as it would be for our customers and other Lamborghini loyalists, we need to see if the investment that Formula One demands is justifiable or not, because competing and being competitive are two completely separate things.
People have often said that cars cannot be a work of art. What are your comments on that?
It is a matter of different position. Cars are pieces of art. You need to consider that they have the ability to appeal to a lot of senses, be it your vision, touch as though the materials that have been used, the sensation while driving, the smell and of course, the exhaust note. So, if someone comes up to me and says that cars are not works of art, they don’t know what they are going on about.
We have had some of the most iconic cars come from the engineers and designers at Lamborghini. What instructions do they get?
The beauty with Lamborghini is that we are open to all kinds of ideas, as long as they are in line with our legacy. Keeping that in mind, if one of our engineers or designers finds inspiration from somewhere like that, then there is nothing like it. Let me give you an example. We took quite some time with the Urus because for us, it was uncharted territory. Yes, we made an SUV some time back, but it was a one-off thing. The Urus, even though it is a super SUV, is deeply connected to the essence that Lamborghini represents. The design is cutting edge, sharp, and dramatic, whereas, in terms of performance, it is like no other car.
How important is the Asian market to Lamborghini? Where does India fit into the scheme of things?
If we look at the supercar segment, one will find that it is stagnant. We, on the other hand, are growing exponentially, and are getting stronger. The Urus was very well received here in India. We have taken a lot of initiatives for our customers here, to give them an enriched experience of owning a Lamborghini. We see a lot in common between the people and Lamborghini in terms of values. Needless to say, India is a key market for us.
What are Lamborghini’s plans for 2019?
Globally, we plan to keep growing, just like we did in 2018. It has been an incredible year, as we grew over 51 per cent more than the year before. However, with that, we also plan to stabilise this growth. We need to stay an aspirational brand and we need to stay exclusive, or else we will end up diluting the value of our brand.