Lamborghini SpA will unveil a flagship supercar costing more than $370,000 called the Aventador, its most powerful series production vehicle ever, at the Geneva Motor Show, a person with direct knowledge of the plans said. The Aventador LP 700-4, which has a 700-horsepower V12 engine that surges to 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour in 2.9 seconds, will premiere March 1, said the person, who asked not to be identified before the model is shown publicly. The Aventador, which replaces the Volkswagen AG brand’s top-of-the-line Murcielago model, is already sold for the first year of production, the person said. Lamborghini, which competes with Fiat SpA’s Ferrari, will decide over the next year whether to add a third model to its portfolio to complement the Aventador and Gallardo lines, the person said. “People may be ripping order forms for the new Lamborghini out of salesmen’s hands,” said Christoph Stuermer, a Frankfurt- based analyst at IHS Automotive. “The timing seems right, it’s no longer deemed inappropriate to flaunt your wealth.” Lamborghini is counting on the Aventador to help capitalize on a recovering market for luxury autos costing more than $200,000. Supercar sales in the U.S., the top market for the world’s most expensive cars, may surge 146 percent this year for vehicles costing from $200,000 to $400,000 after plunging 40 percent in 2010, according to IHS. Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy-based Lamborghini is ramping up production of the Aventador and may expand output to build as many as 100 of the cars by March 1, the person said. The brand is already taking orders and will start selling the new model, which has a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour, in the second quarter in showrooms. Lamborghini spokesman Raffaello Porro declined to comment on the carmaker’s Geneva plans.
“Lamborghini’s reason for being is about making outrageous supercars,” said Jim Hall, an analyst at consulting firm 2953 Analytics Inc. in Birmingham, Michigan. “Their new flagship will be critically important to underpin that position.” Supercar sales are growing amid a renewed sense of optimism among bankers after the U.S. economy, the world’s biggest, expanded 2.9 percent last year, the most in five years. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s profits last year were the highest in the bank’s history, and Citigroup Inc. returned money to the U.S. Treasury and reported its first full-year profit since 2007. Workers at big Wall Street banks continued to outpace other professions in earnings even as they took modest cuts in pay in 2010. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan’s investment bank spent an average of $330,212 on salaries, bonuses and benefits for each of their 124,556 workers in last year, according to financial reports released since Jan. 14, a decline of 2.7 percent from 2009.
Lower Weight Cars
Lamborghini, founded in 1963 and acquired by Volkswagen in 1998, aims to produce lower weight cars by increasing the share of components made of carbon fibers as emission standards are tightened in Europe and the U.S. The Aventador will weigh about 1,570 kilograms (3,461 lbs.), a reduction of as much as 95 kilograms compared with predecessor Murcielago LP 640, the person said. The lighter weight reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions about 20 percent, the person said. The Aventador will have a safety frame made entirely from carbon fiber, similar to what’s used in Formula One race cars. Lamborghini set up a center at its Italian headquarters in July 2010 to develop the light composites that complement metals in car frames and in 2009 began a partnership with aircraft maker Boeing Co. to crash-test carbon fiber. “Lamborghini is committed to optimizing the use of light composites,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch-Gladbach, Germany. “Carbon fiber will be key to making high-performance cars in future, the material implies enormous benefits for handling and braking those vehicles.”