Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini President

Next stop: Calgary.

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The company’s full title is Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., and his title is president and chief executive officer, so when Stephan Winkelmann makes time to visit Canada, in this case for a new dealership in Calgary, it is a big deal for those who know and love the brand. Calgary is the fourth dealership in the country (Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto being the others), and things are looking very good indeed, with sales indicating healthy growth worldwide, reflecting Lamborghini’s worldwide impetus to more than double its sales over the next three-to-five years.

Winkelmann, with both his wrists bedecked in arrays of colourful wrap bracelets, cuts quite a figure when he enters a room, but he is also a passionate and articulate brand ambassador. “We are engaged in innovative strategies to grow our brand, without ever compromising quality,” he says. “There is a long-term plan in place, but we would never increase production at the expense of quality.” He looks out a window onto the Southeast Calgary landscape, a row of seven Lamborghinis basking below in the evening sun, before explaining further: “Research in the automobile industry is so expensive, so when we embark on developing our new SUV, for example, we still tell the same story about our brand, all the time. We do want to emphasize the driveability of our cars, and increase awareness and approachability, too. This is the logical way to grow, for our brand.”

Lamborghini will never become a mass production car maker. Last year’s production was just over 2,500 cars, and even with the new SUV coming on stream during 2018, the amount will not quite double that figure. The cars, all hand-built, are done at the same factory, with expanded floor space for the new SUV. Even such specialty items as the new Aventador SV, with its 12 cylinder engine and one of the best power/weight rations in the business, are made at the same factory. “We want our customers to think of the brand as cutting edge, visionary, in terms of how we define ourselves,” says Winkelmann. “Innovation in technology and design are important, of course, but overall, we simply want Lamborghini to grow. We have great regional balance across the globe, but we do see room for more of our vehicles.” He proceeds across the dealership floor, ready to take the podium and address the assembled guests. When he does so, he says with all sincerity that “we at Lamborghini could not be more pleased with the Canadian market. You seem to understand our brand, our cars, very well indeed.” Fair enough. The roots of the company remain solid, from its beginnings in 1963 through some worldwide economic turmoil and energy crises, and on to its current, confident, and thoughtful approach to growth. Now what to do about Canadian highway speed limits?

Photos by Kelly Hofer.

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July 10, 2015