Lamborghini has broken its own sales record by delivering over 10,000 automobiles in 2023. While that’s still less than mainstream manufacturers are pushing out the door in a given week, it represents a major shift in how the brand does business and will likely open it up to additional regulatory scrutiny.
Sales were primarily driven by the Urus, with 6,087 vehicles delivered, and the Huracán, boasting 3,962 units. Analysts have suggested that something like this may not have been possible a decade ago. But with global wealth being transferred upward in recent years, Lamborghini was afforded an opportunity to draw in additional customers with its entry level products. Though, despite these being Lamborghini’s most affordable models, both the Huracán and Urus retail well above $200,000.
The distribution of vehicles delivered was balanced in the three macro-regions, with EMEA showing a 14 [percent] increase over 2022 with a total of 3,987 cars, immediately followed by Americas with a 9 [percent] increase (Total: 3,465) and APAC up 4 [percent] (Total: 2,660). In detail, the United States continued as the top market with 3,000 cars delivered, followed by Germany (961), Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Macau (845), the United Kingdom (801), Japan (660), the Middle East (496), South Korea (434), Italy (409), Canada (357), Australia (263), France & Monaco (255), Switzerland (211), Taiwan (131) and India (103).
In terms of model split, the continuing success of the Urus Super SUV was confirmed (6,087 vehicles delivered), followed by another notable record for the Huracán, of which 3,962 cars were delivered. In addition, 63 cars equipped with the iconic V12 were delivered, including the last 12 Aventadors and 51 Few-Offs.
“It’s a true source of pride for the whole company to have surpassed the 10,000-car delivery mark. Playing a role in achieving this milestone for Lamborghini is an honor for me and for all the people who work tirelessly to achieve this goal,” stated Stephan Winkelmann, Chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “This is a success made possible by the commitment of everyone, a major accomplishment based on true teamwork. But as always, we’re not stopping at single milestones, and we’re ready to take on more exciting new challenges in 2024.”
While the sales are good news for the brand, breaking the 10,000-unit barrier could come with some complications. The European Union had previously considered allowing specialty, low-volume manufacturers leeway when it comes to adhering to ever-tightening emissions rules. But it has started to move away from the scheme and is still planning to force all manufacturers to stop building everything but all-electric vehicles by 2035. While companies building fewer than 10,000 vehicles annually weren’t subject to the same emissions standards as the big boys, they’re still supposed to prepare for electrification if they want to continue doing business in Europe.
A subset of boutique manufacturers have attempted to convince the EU to rethink the plan by offering exemptions to low-volume brands on the grounds that their products aren’t transportation products but mobile works of rolling art. The premise is that they’re different from mainstream automobiles and should be treated as such.
“We create art pieces that exist for 100 years or more, so they’re not mass-production cars you throw away after 15 years,” Donkervoort Automobielen Managing Director Denis Donkervoort said early in 2023. “We know this because more than 99 [percent] of the cars we’ve ever built are still drivable, and we know this because we still service them.”
Donkervoort and a handful of other low-volume manufacturers are hoping to get around European regulations that would force them to halve CO2 emissions by 2030 and go fully electric by 2035. But they’re targeting an indefinite exemption for automakers building fewer than 1,000 vehicles per year, which wouldn’t pertain to Lamborghini even if it stopped selling the Urus tomorrow.
The theory here could be applied to companies like Lamborghini, however. Boutique brands have alleged that they produce vehicles in such small quantities that the overall carbon footprint is minuscule. Though the kind of people that buy those products are likely to have a much larger impact on the environment than your neighbor who drives an Honda CR-V and won’t need to heat a 10,000 square-foot mansion or fuel the private jet they also don’t own.
Regardless, Lamborghini now sells enough cars to put itself into a different category unless industry regulators are swayed by corporate lobbying efforts. But the Italian brand has fielded several all-electric concepts in recent years and has claimed 2024 will represent its first big push into transitioning its fleet to EVs, now that the time it allotted itself as a “celebration of the internal combustion engine” has concluded.
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