SINGAPORE - Lamborghini unveiled its new model on Monday during a world preview held in a showroom in Singapore.
Lamborghini's new Aventador LP700-4 Roadster goes from zero to 100 kph (60 mph) in 3 seconds flat, but the loss-making Italian firm sees sales of supercars stuck in neutral next year due to the global slowdown and uncertainty in China.
Unveiling the open-top variant of the Aventador model in Singapore, home to the world's highest concentration of millionaires, chief executive Stephan Winkelmann said the city state was one of their best markets.
"Singapore is one of our most important markets around the world. It's amongst the top 10. It's, it sounds silly, but it goes hand in hand with markets like the US, China, the UK, the Middle East, so it's not about the amount of people living in one country. It's about the wealth they are able to get out," Winkelmann said.
He said it has been a better year for Lamborghini in a tough environment after global sales of 1,602 cars in 2011 and 1,302 in 2010.
"After a deep drop after the peak in 2007, a very slow recovery but lets say, a very low end of the recovery chain, because we had a global sales more or less of the supersports car of 36000. This year we are at about 25000 and even next year it will be not more than this, so we have a slowdown in Europe, an increase in the US, South east Asia is going well, the Middle East is running well, China we don't know," he said.
Automobili Lamborghini SpA, owned by Germany's Volkswagen AG, is still confident about China, its second-biggest market after the United States with nearly 350 cars sold last year and 20 dealerships set to be running by this year.
"We entered this year in the Philippines, for the first time we are selling a reasonable number in Indonesia and Malaysia. There might be an opportunity to enter Vietnam next year, so there are sale opportunities. But it's nothing compared to what we see in China, the Chinese market is making the difference, not only in Asia but worldwide," he said.
As for the pure pleasure of driving a Lamborghini, Winkelmann said he had tested the new model himself at top speed and in every possible condition.
"I've driven it,... top speed. When we test the car, we test the car in every condition and also in top speed so it's quite amazing. It's fun," he said.
The Roadster - with a 12-cylinder, 700-horsepower engine that takes it to a top speed of 350 kph - will hit showrooms in the late spring to early summer with a list price in the United States of 445,000 USD (280,000 GBP), Winkelmann said.
Luxury cars are fixtures of conspicuous wealth in places like Singapore and Hong Kong.
BMW and Mercedes are big sellers, but even more exotic makes are routinely seen outside pricey restaurants and top hotels, despite there being few stretches of road in Singapore or Hong Kong to really air them out.
In Singapore, 45 Lamborghinis were bought in January through September, along with 64 Ferraris, 63 Maseratis, 41 Rolls Royces and 29 McLarens, according to bestsellingcarsblog.com.