This Supercar Brand Isn’t Prepared To Let Go Of Its V-12 Engines
Lamborghini will keep using V-12s for as long as its market continues to ask for itby Kirby Garlitos, on
As the automotive world continues its trend of downsizing engines and paying more attention to fuel efficiency, Lamborghini isn’t ready to swim with the fishes just yet. Speaking with Autocar, Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali reiterated the company’s position that it will continue to build supercars powered by its trademark V-12 engines. In no uncertain terms, Domenicali pretty much summed up what Lamborghini customers have been pining for: keep the brand’s identity intact.
It’s an understandable stance to take because Lamborghini isn’t a mainstream brand that relies on sales as a measuring stick for success. It’s a niche brand that caters to a specific market and that market wants it to keep the V-12 engines a core part of the Lamborghini experience. When they speak, Lambo listens.
That said, Domenicali also reiterated that the Italian automaker isn’t completely shutting itself out of advancements in the industry, specifically electrification and autonomous driving. Neither of those things mesh with the company’s core values, but Lamborghini isn’t about to detach itself completely from that world. Eventually, there will come a point when these technologies become relevant to Lamborghini “at a cost level” and the company knows full well that it has to be prepared for when that time comes.
For now, though, the Italian automaker will continue to do what it does best. It will continue to cater to the whims of its core market, a lot of whom remain firm believers in keeping the V-12 engines that have come to define to the company’s legacy as one of the world’s premier supercar brands.
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Why it matters
Is this a surprise to people? I certainly wasn’t surprised to hear what Stefano Domenicali had to say about the Italian brand’s position. It’s always placed a premium on power, performance, and an unfiltered passion for both. That’s a big reason why nobody can fault Lamborghini for doubling down on its long-held position. The company follows a different set of rules compared to other companies and it’s not bound on acquiescing to the technological shifts that other brands are racing to develop.
But Domenicali is also right for not entirely closing the door on adapting those technologies. There’s simply no room for the company to completely ignore what’s going on in the industry. At some point, it has to take a peek at what rivals like Ferrari and McLaren are doing and it has to determine if the road those companies took in developing the LaFerrari and the P1 has a place inside its conscience.
It’s a tricky juggling act but Lamborghini has shown that it’s capable of balancing what it is with what it has to do to keep up with the times. Sometimes, it has to hold its ground and remain committed to its core traits like V-12 engines. But sometimes, it also has to be able to see the forest for the trees and realize that the auto world is shifting towards a future that the company can ill afford to ignore completely. When that time comes, I’m sure that Lamborghini will do what’s best for itself and its loyal niche customer base. But for now, those massive and roar-tactic V-12s will continue to be a part of the company’s brand identity, as well it should.