As I confessed in person to Andrea Baldi, who leaned forwards wearing tortoise shell sunglasses, “It’s quite hard to know where to begin when discussing Lamborghini. It’s arguably the pinnacle of aspirational luxury and commands a global band of loyal disciples.”
It was the final day of the UK’s 2020 Indian Summer and an unseasonal warmth accompanied by a Jay’s egg blue sky was an unexpected treat for a September afternoon. I sat opposite Mr Baldi at the Salon Privé, the UK’s most luxurious motor show, and glanced to my left and right to discover I was flanked by the, almost shockingly, sleek Aventador on the one side and the handsome and powerful new upstart, ‘Urus’, to the other.
The effect was quite daunting but it served to highlight to me that this is not just an automotive company at the height of its game, but a brand which represents the epitome of opulence and a zeal for those finer things in life.
Mr Baldi has now been at Lamborghini for almost exactly a decade, and has seen the company go through some fascinating modernisations and exciting changes, with this metamorphosis still in its relative nascence. Andrea is an Engineer by education, and is an Alma Mater of the University of Bologna, but unlike many with this kind of quantitative background he is equally entranced by the beauty of Lamborghini; it’s sizzling, ferocious power but simultaneous breathtaking elegance. This wonderfully balanced reverence for the company’s mechanics as well as its grace was disarmingly charming.
“I think that we are currently enjoying the highest level of popularity that we’ve ever had. It’s due to a combination of factors, of course after almost sixty years of making outstanding cars then this is the consequence. This being said, what really consolidates that popularity is the fact that right now there the widest product range that Lamborghini has ever had.”
It’s clear that what Lamborghini has so successfully achieved is a very, very gradual cross pollination into new concepts, new designs, new cars, but without ever compromising on the brand’s merciless commitment to excellence as standard. “We still have this ‘Lamborghini language’ which is very consistent”, Andrea explains, “but now it is talking to a much wider group of people who might not have expected to see Lamborghini to produce a range of cars which is so versatile.”
We chatted a little about the clients of Lamborghini, and about what draws them to purchase a car and become a part of this thrilling and constantly evolving brand narrative.
“It’s amazing how the younger generation have developed such an appreciation for Lamborghini. It is an effect which spans the ages as we see that this appreciation grows for our customers over several decades. In fact, one of the most common things we hear from most of our customers is that ‘I used to have a Lamborghini poster, or model, when I was a child! It’s a passion which isn’t just spontaneous, it is inside each and every client for a long time leading up to their eventual purchase…’
I delved into the grizzly issue of that-which-must-not-be-named but is a global scourge and the grim reaper of businesses. The virus has had a brutal effect on almost every company, from businesses specialising in the super luxury to those supplying every day essential basics. It seems that Lamborghini’s tactic to combat the ravages of the pandemic was simply to understand every single minutiae of their supply and demand dynamic, leaving them in the enviable position of still managing excess demand for their exquisite cars on a day to day basis.
“If you look at the situation today then of course there are some winners and some losers in this market place, and one of the reasons why we have been winning is because we manage to never need to push cars… our demand always outstrips our supply.”
Andrea gestured over towards the bright green Lamborghini a few metres away, “Look, here is the Aventator and it is sold out until the end of next year. In fact”, he shrugged, “it’s been sold out since the end of 2018. We understand the supply and demand dynamics because we are so careful with shaping our production capacity, we understand what will be the potential number of future buyers, but what we always try to do above all is to make sure the customers do feel like they’re buying something which will retain its value, or even increase it.”
Before leaving Andrea to continue with his action packed day I wanted to try and get a sense of what those at the very top think is so utterly mesmerizing about Lamborghini, it’s hard to think of another car which commands such attention, and arguably such envy.
“How can you distill the feeling of driving a Lamborghini”, I asked, “what makes it such an unforgettable experience?”. Andrea chewed this one over for a good minute, pondering the best adjectives which could be used to be describe a near ineffable experience, eventually he responded “It’s intense, it’s physical and it’s confidence giving. These cars are so comfortable to drive, and so forgiving, you find they give you confidence, they’re supportive, they make you feel safe.”
It struck me that Lamborghini is, following on from Andrea’s own summary of the driving experience, almost like a suit of armour. An analogy which is particularly profound given that the shape of the car is so spectacularly muscular, like a Roman Centurion’s breastplate.
“We’re breaking the ice with many new customers now thanks to the Urus”, which is Lamborghini’s reasonably new SUV. “Some potential clients could find that the design language of the super sports cars is intimidating, so Urus really gives them what they want. It’s a car which is continuing to expand a lot of new opportunities for us, and we think this will continue into the future.”