extremely italian
there are only few cars that hold the power to fascinate you at first glance. this aura of stylishly rounded design and seemingly boundless engine power. a feeling of boundless freedom combined with the ideal of beauty and perfection. the italian brand lamborghini unites all these attributes. for more than 40 years, the brand has been standing for elegant proportions, speed and aesthetics.
ferruccio lamborghini didn’t have to think for a long time to come up with the perfect brand symbol for the sports car carrying his name in 1963. lamborghini’s trademark was the bull, a sign which went perfectly with the sports car’s image of boundless strength and proud expression. as a consequence, all but one model of the car have carried the name of famous bull breeders since the 350 hp-powered “miura” model was launched in 1966. even 40 years after the lamborghini company was founded, the bull is still a perfect symbol of the basic philosophy of the italian sports car brand between thoroughgoingness and extremes. an inspiring sports car that conveys the feeling of escaping your dull everyday life – at top speed. in the following interview, manfred fitzgerald, director for brand & design at lamborghini, talks to us about the strong emotional connection of the sports car to the italian attitude towards life and about why the front-seat passenger is only lucky to be part of the ride.

dear manfred, could lamborghini also be manufactured in a country other than italy?
i don’t think so. the italian attitude towards life, the general lifestyle are inextricably linked to all parts of our production and business. the “dolce vita” simply is omnipresent. if you go to a restaurant here, you really celebrate it instead of just doing it for the sake of eating. italians just know how to enjoy life. i think there’s no other country in the world where men can have such lively discussions about food (laughs). italians simply indulge in the beautiful things in life, in the food, the fashion, and that also shows in people’s attitudes towards cars. especially emilia romagna is known as the centre of the car industry, you’ll find all renowned car brands there, like pagani, ducati, maserati, ferrari and of course lamborghini. but despite the love of our country, we always keep a keen eye on what’s happening in other parts of the world ...

how would you describe the basic philosophy of your company?
on the whole, we have seven basic brand values that can be summed up into three basic values which are: uncompromising, extreme and italian. the italian character is an essential part of our philosophy, it influences everything we do and is reflected in our products. you couldn’t export this feeling to anywhere else. italy is usually associated with craftsmanship, design and manufacture and that’s what our customers expect.

apart from the financial background that has to be a prerequisite, is there such a thing as the typical lamborghini customer? do you have a certain kind of person in mind?
not at all. we don’t have a certain type of customer in mind when we develop our products. it is our rather challenging task to give the people a sense of orientation, to set trends, to think in an avant-garde way. in a way, we have to tell people what they are supposed to like. that’s an obligation for the lamborghini brand and for myself. and i guess that our target group expects and values our role of “always being ahead of others”. after all, you want to express a certain kind of lifestyle with an exclusive sports car.

talking about different markets: is there such a thing as local adaptation of the car?
we strictly want to avoid having to adapt our product to different countries or markets because maybe the population there is larger or smaller. the car is just the way it is, in every country of the world, and we don’t want to change that. we even have a very rigorous type of business communication. there’s only one line of approach and that’s determined right here. in the past, the company has suffered various changes of ownership and insecurities, but since the audi ag took over in 1998, we have been following a very stringent direction with precise targets and a good backing. of course, we have to live up to many expectations ...

how many lamborghinis are sold each year?
seven years ago, we sold 265 cars each year, today figures have increased to 1.600. so you can see that there’s been some development. however, we’ve still got a long way to go until we can keep up with our competitors ...

who is your direct competitor in your segment?
the most important one would have to be ferrari, but we’re also talking about brands like porsche or mercedes amg.

the fashion world is characterised by ever-changing trends and innovations. at which intervals do you carry out major changes in your sports cars?
our business isn’t quite as short-lived as the fashion world, we have an average development period of three to five years for a new model. for us at lamborghini, it’s extremely important to stick to our clear product line and architecture. basically, we’re following the principle of “form follows function”. there are no unnecessary parts in our cars, everything is highly functional. if you don’t need it, we won’t have it. an example of this approach is our retractable spoiler that only comes out when it is needed. the car is very much driver-oriented. the front-seat passenger is only lucky to be part of the ride, nothing more.

to what extent does the interior, the engine of the car change during the course of time?
lamborghini is characterised by a harmonious balance between performance and design. i’m sure everybody remembers the happy families card game where the brand always was the trump card that even “outdid” the engine performance. we’re really proud of that and we constantly keep working on it so that it won’t change in the future. the engine is produced right at our company site and it always has been one of our core competences.

what importance does lamborghini have in its home country of italy?
i know this might sound strange, but actually we’re more popular abroad than in italy. we’re currently working on shedding our image as little league players and trying to achieve some social acceptance among people. currently, we see it as one of our main goals to define the car as a kind of consumer good in italy.

do italians actually care about speed limits, to be a bit ironic?
well, we don’t really care so much for speed limits as maybe the swiss would. and that’s another reason why it’s so lovely to live in italy ... enjoy and drive fast.
helmut wolf