Ec: Lamborghini is on a roll. We're told projected sales could easily double within the next few years. A good time for the company, but how do you intend to satisfy customer demand without diluting the brand image?
SW: It's true we have experienced phenomenal growth. To meet these demands and maintain our delivery times-no more than 12 months for the Murcilago and eight months for the Gallardo-we have invested heavily in additional tooling to satisfy the increase in production. In the past 40 years, we sold an average of 250 cars a year. Within the last three years, we exceeded 1000 units annually, and this year we will surpass 2000. It is important to remember we are still a niche within a niche, and we remain an exclusive builder of extreme sports cars.
Ec: Most praise parent company Audi AG for Lamborghini's overall success.
SW: There's not one leading super sports car maker without a strong parent. If I could choose a good mother for the brand, there is no better example than Audi. Like a good parent, Audi has nourished Lamborghini and we've grown strong and healthy in the process. It's important to note that, at the same time, Audi has benefited greatly from Lamborghini. It goes both ways. We are a good match.
Ec: Proper sales and service is obviously a huge priority. How do you intend to fulfill the needs of all of your new and existing customers?
SW: We have increased our dealer network from 65 worldwide in 2005 to close to 100 today. Twenty-nine of these are here in the States, with three or four more in development. So we've made a major step in maintaining the best possible service through these additional locations, which also include emerging markets such as Russia, China and India.
Ec: You chose to officially launch the drop-top version of the LP640 in Los Angeles during the International Auto Show. Any special reason?
SW: The LP640 Roadster is the follow-up for the coupe. It's the most extreme car we've ever built and LA was an ideal place for its unveiling. The United States is our most important market, and will receive more than half of the 100 Roadsters scheduled for 2007 production, many naturally going to the warmer climates of California, Texas and Florida.
Ec: Regarding new models, is there a possible 2+2 GT in the works?
SW: We are planning to offer more variants of the Gallardo, like the Nera. The platform lends itself to other special-edition-type models, such as lightweight and rear-wheel-drive versions. There's also our individualization program, which offers varied degrees of personalization. We made 185 units last year with various color combinations, custom interiors and so on. The Gallardo has sold over 5000 units to date, surpassing the highest volume sales record of 3000 units set by the Diablo.
Ec: The Gallardo and Audi's R8. Is the new Audi coupe Germany's version of a Lamborghini?
SW: The R8 is a completely different car. There is no overlapping with the Gallardo. Many of our customers own more than one car. In many cases they will own multiple sports cars.
Ec: So what's your daily driver?
SW: I split time between an Audi A8 and a Gallardo.
Ec: Lamborghinis have become more reliable. There are some people who drive a Gallardo daily. Is this something new in Lamborghini ownership?
SW: Well, we invested a lot in the product and it shows. We have more than 40 people employed in quality control alone. We have great suppliers, the best engineers. All these things together make for fabulous cars.
Ec: Whatever Happened To The Miura Concept?
SW: We have a reputation as innovators, not as a company known for its revivals. We always look forward, never back.
Ec: Lamborghini's rich history has spawned some amazing cars. What's been your favorite?
SW: The next one [long pause]. Though I'd have to say the Miura has a special place in my heart.