Lamborghini Reopens Northern Italy Factory

Date: 2020-05-07 16:28:56

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Back on track, but not back at top gear.

Workers returned to work Monday (4 May) at Lamborghini’s Sant’Agata Bolognese factory in Italy’s hard-hit Emilia-Romagna region, but with new safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including masks, gloves and social distancing.

The factory had been closed since 12 March, but was allowed to re-open following an announcement by Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte on 26 April.

CEO Stefano Domenicali says for the next two weeks they will work at around 75 percent capacity to see how workers respond to new measures, before ramping up production.

So far, they have no plans to offer employees antibody blood tests as competitor Ferrari has.

“In the production line, what we were able to do is that we will not change our line of production,” says Domenicali.

“In every single post of assembly, there are two people working and they keep the distance of more than one metre, as is predicted by the law, and they work in a way that they really keep the same distance.”

It’s a challenging time for car makers around the world.

According to forecasts by research firm IHS Markit, the global auto industry is expected to witness an unprecedented stall in demand this year, with global auto sales expected to fall more than 12 percent to 78.8 million units.

Domenicali says Lamborghini has not had any order cancellations, but dealerships closures around the world due to the pandemic is a challenge. He hopes the market will rebound in “a couple of months.”

In South Korea, where dealerships did not close due to the coronavirus outbreak, the demand is “very strong”, he says.

“To use this car you need to have the right mood, you need to have the right condition. And so far, that’s not what we are living, you know, all restaurant are closed, the people cannot really move in the right way. So in the short term, I would say, I would expect, that the curve will slow down.”

According to IHS Markit, a fall of 12 percent for 2020 would be considerably worse than the two-year peak-to-trough decline of eight percent during the global recession in 2008/2009. Domenicali believes the situation is not as grave as in 2008.

“Structurally in 2008 was really a big, big problem in terms of fundamentals on the economy, fundamentals on liquidity and finance,” he says.

“Therefore, I would say, with regard to our kind of customer that was, I would say, if we can compare, even if they are totally different, much worse than the situation than the one we are in today. At least in terms of a possible recovery.”

Lamborghini is part of the Volkswagen Group, which includes less luxurious brands Seat and Skoda. Domenicali foresees challenges for that segment, but also opportunities.

“For sure, this segment the situation is more difficult,” he says.

“Cars in this phase can give the tranquility to be driven along with your family and keeping the distance and be safe. Therefore, that would be an opportunity to relaunch the market in this segment in the right way.”

Lamborghini plans to launch its new Huracan EVO RWD Spyder with the help of augmented reality technology Thursday (7 May), rather than a traditional glitzy event.

The annual Geneva International Motor Show was cancelled in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Domenicali says they chose to skip the show before its cancellation, they’re now exploring other ways to showcase their new models.

“For us, the motor show season was already over, I would say, before this crisis,” he says.

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