These cars go very fast!
Name the top three luxury cars someone wants and chances are that the Lamborghini is going to be in that list. Unlike many other car makers, the Lamborghini has its origins relatively recently. It was in 1963 that Ferruccio Lamborghini created the car as a refined grand touring car to compete with the Ferrari. The first models were released in the mid-1960s and well-noted for their comfort, speed and refinement.
It all began when Lamborghini, who was quite wealthy thanks to his company being one of the largest tractor manufacturers in all of Italy. One day he noticed the clutch on his Ferrari wasn't working properly. Upon inspection, he found it was the same clutch used in his tractors. He contacted Ferrari to get a better replacement and was told that he was just a tractor maker who knew nothing about sports cars. Lamborghini decided at that point to begin making cars.
After releasing his first car in 1963, the company quickly expanded and grew rapidly over its first decade. His cars were seen as high-quality and as a vehicle the wealthy would own. However, in 1973, the oil crisis caused a severe setback for the company due to new fuel economy laws. In 1974, Lamborghini sold his remaining 49 per cent stake in the company, retiring to his estate where he would remain until his death.
Things would not go well for the company and it would continue to fall due to a series of missteps with its vehicles. In 1978, the company entered bankruptcy.
In 1987, after a series of owners, the company was bought by Chrysler and by 1991, profits were over $1 million. The company unfortunately saw its sales crash in 1992. Chrysler promptly sold the car company to MegaTech, a holding company registered in Bermuda. Audi AG would buy the company in 1998 and begin a slow recovery for it. Under Audi, the company would reach its highest sales figures ever, hitting 2,430 vehicles in 2008. The economic crisis would cause a drop in the sales figures for the company but it would continue to post decent numbers throughout the next few years. In 2012, it produced 2,197 vehicles, well above the 1,711 produced in 2011. The company also posted revenue of 469 million Euros in 2012, over 100 million Euros above the previous year. Currently, the company employs 831 people.
Looking at the corporate affairs for the company, the most important markets for the sports cars are in the United States, where 41 per cent are sold, followed by Germany (13 per cent), Great Britain (nine per cent) and Japan (eight per cent). Prior to 2003, roughly 400 cars per year were made. Sales figures over the years are as follows:
- 1968: 353 cars
- 1991: 673 cars
- 1992: 166 cars
- 1993: 215 cars
- 1999: 265 cars
- 2002: 424 cars
- 2003: 1,305 cars
- 2006: 2,087 cars
- 2008: 2,430 cars
- 2009: 1,515 cars
- 2010: 1,302 cars
- 2011: 1,602 cars
- 2012: 2,083 cars
In addition to selling cars, the company also sells marine engines, including a large V12 marine engine block for use in powerboats. The company also makes a great deal of money through its branded merchandise including scale models of its cars, clothing, accessories and even electronics.
Lamborghini cars are also used today in motorsports despite Lamborghini himself stating that there would be no factory-supported racing of his cars since it was too expensive and too draining of the company's resources.
In the mid-1970s though, the company entered into an agreement with BMW to make 400 cars for the company to meet with Group 4 homologation requirements. They would deliver their first vehicle to them in 1978. Lamborghini was also an engine supplier to Formula One in 1989 and 1993. In 1991, a Lamborghini Formula One was used in the Konrad KM-011 Group C race but only lasted a few races before the project was canceled.
What many don't realize about Lamborghini is that the car had a strong connection to bullfighting in its early years. Lamborghini named a line of cars, Miura, after a well-known bullfighting family and their line of bulls. The Islero was named for the Mirua bull that had been killed by a bullfighter in 1947 and Espada is Spanish for sword. This tradition would continue for several years and even the Estoque concept car of 2008 was named for the estoc, the sword used by bullfighters traditionally.
Despite hard times, the car brand is still going strong and still known worldwide for the quality and style of its vehicles.