Horrors! China to Unseat Italy in Lambo Sales

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Undeterred by the alleged frugality trend, Reuters held their Global Luxury Summit in swanky Paris. At this occasion, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, CEO of the pricey bubbly that goes by the same name, said: “I am a happiness producer. Figures do not interest me.” The Chinese are taking the same posture.

China will overtake Italy as the second-biggest market for Lamborghini behind the United States within three to five years, Lambo CEO Stephan Winkelmann said at the conference.

Right now, the Chinese associate luxury more with chauffeur-driven cars than sports cars, Winkelmann mused. But the sports car culture will gain ground in China, he said, as road infrastructure develops fast, as Chinese consumers aspire to own well-known European luxury brands, and after Jack Baruth had visited China, gave an introductory course, and returned alive. Okay, I made the last one up.

“They change so fast. They change in a year like we changed in two decades in the past,” quoth Winkelmann. “They have such a knowledge about the brands and what is going on in Europe. They love what is coming out of Europe.” Lamborghini had been bought by Volkswagen in 1998, when Piech went on a shopping spree and also acquired Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Bugatti. Later, they had to let Rolls go to BMW over a trademark dispute. Lamborghini sold 741 cars in the US last year, 230 in Italy and 72 in China.

China overtook the United States as the world’s No. 1 auto market in January. At least the United States lead the world in Lamborghini sales. For the foreseeable future.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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4 of 6 comments
  • TonyJZX TonyJZX on Jun 11, 2009

    yes... Maximum Street Speed should be translated into Mandarin

  • NN NN on Jun 11, 2009

    anyone who's spent time in Hong Kong can vouch that there are tons of Rolls', Ferrari's, Lambo's, etc. It's almost as absurd as Monaco.

  • Fellswoop Fellswoop on Jun 11, 2009

    Seems I've left my trousers in my lambo. Good thing I also forgot to shut the door.

  • Wsn Wsn on Jun 11, 2009

    What's the horror? China was the largest market for MB S-class since a couple years ago.