On the road with Lamborghini APAC CEO Matteo Ortenzi

Matteo Ortenzi shares where Lamborghini APAC is headed to next, as he cruises down Singapore in a Lamborghini Huracan EVO

Photography by Ashbel Chioh

Matteo Ortenzi behind the wheel of the Lamborghini Huracan EVO

Matteo Ortenzi was appointed CEO of Lamborghini APAC in April 2018. He first joined the company in 2004 as a key team member in the financial department and moved up the ranks to Head of Business Analysis and Control in 2012, then led Lamborghini’s Project Management department for close to three years from September 2015.

Although Matteo is CEO of the APAC region, his vision doesn’t steer too far from Lamborghini’s President and CEO Stefano Domenicali’s. Lamborghini may be renowned as a luxury sports car brand, but Matteo understands that Lamborghini must head towards lifestyle now in order to grow its share of the market. Matteo shares these insights with Jetgala in this interview.

You have been CEO of Lamborghini APAC for just about more than a year now. How has it been like?
The position has been quite challenging because it is a very complex region with very different countries within the region. I look after markets in China, Japan, India, Australia, etc. and each market is so completely different. Working here has exposed me to what the customers think about us and also what dealers are expecting about Lamborghini.

Where is there more growth for Lamborghini in APAC?
We are lucky that Lamborghini does not depend on market trends. I see China coming back; Japan is also an amazing market for us that we see potential and we are expecting results in the future; we may be expecting growth in the mid-term also in India. India is a large country that is still not at where it should be in the luxury market, but I think something will change in the next year. As for the other markets, there is nothing too explosive, as we are really checking to limit our production overall. Right now, we would like to increase the quality of the sales and to assess the success we had in the past years.

Why do you say that the luxury market is not where it should be in India? How are you changing that?
We have to create a luxury market there that is not just about putting sports cars on the road – there will be too many constraints due to the infrastructure and road conditions are not very ideal. How we are dealing with this is by introducing the Lamborghini Urus, our super SUV. It’s not just us, it’s a lot of the luxury players in the market as well that want to see a maturity of the luxury market in India.

Lamborghini Huracan EVO

Something exciting that has developed recently is the Lamborghini Sian, a ground-breaking hybrid super sports car. Is this a trend you see coming into play in the supercar luxury market?
Electrification is a trend – that is a fact. What is in discussion is how to implement electrification in automotives and what is the timing of these. [At] Lamborghini, [we] did things our own way. We did not want to do a hybrid car just to follow what others are doing. With the Sian, we wanted to show that the laboratory we have can produce a different kind of electrification. We don’t use ion batteries but super capacitors; it is a 48-volt system that doesn’t just work on the auxiliary services of the engine but is transferring the motions between gearbox and engine in a completely different way. And this is how we see that differentiation in our segment that does not compromise the emotions, performance or driving agility of the Lamborghini car.

Would completely clean energy be something we will see from Lamborghini?
Sooner or later, full electric will most likely happen in our segment. I don’t see now that we are technology ready but like with the hybrid, we will want to do it our own way still.

What other trends do you see happening within the industry?
We’re really seeing more customers wanting to personalise and customise their car. Nobody’s buying a Lamborghini; everyone’s buying their own Lamborghini. Every buyer wants to have just a touch of their personality in the car with a special colour, or special writing in the interiors and even special requests with the internal materials. Almost 70 percent of the sports car we deliver to our customers have at least one configuration from our Ad Personam, which is our customisation programme. To accomplish this and to meet the demands of our customers, we are opening next year in Tokyo, our first lounge in Asia Pacific with a special Ad Personam corner where customers can configure their own car with our experts.

Lamborghini’s President and CEO Stefano Domenicali was the one who suggested bringing in the Urus to expand the sports car market to include families and more women drivers. How do you see that play in APAC as well?
We have a clear worldwide strategy with this. The Urus opened the Lamborghini brand up to the lifestyle segment and that is where we are focusing on. One thing we have noticed is that 70 percent of Urus buyers are coming from different brands. These are not Lamborghini customers who are just looking for the best performance on the racetrack with our sports car, even though we still are producing the best, but we are also doing other things. We are holding lifestyle events where customers can get a taste of Lamborghini in a safe environment with our experts so that we can communicate better with our customers and potential customers on what they’re looking for.