By Samuel Ee
The good times are back and as proof, more than 50 units of the latest $1.5 million Lamborghini model have been ordered in the space of a few months - higher than the total 2010 sales of the Italian super sports car's entire model range here.
The new Lamborghini LP700-4 is the long-awaited replacement for the flagship Murcielago model. Last month, a pre-production unit was brought in for a day for a private preview, according to Melvin Goh, the boss of Lamborghini Singapore. The Republic was the car's first stop in Asia, followed by Hong Kong, China and Japan.
Its world premiere will take place at the Geneva Motor Show in March, when its official name will also be announced.
In Singapore, Mr Goh declined to reveal how many units of the LP700-4 were ordered but it is understood to be more than 50. If so, this will be at least the same as or higher than what his company will deliver this year.
As of last Friday, Lamborghini Singapore has sold 49 Murcielago and Gallardo models, including four unregistered Reventon limited edition cars. Mr Goh expects to end the year with a couple more units.
When asked about the reason for the overwhelming response, Mr Goh replied in typically modest fashion that the Lamborghini product is 'more trusted now' and the brand's visibility and image have improved. 'In the last five years since the arrival of the Murcielago and Gallardo, people now understand the cars better and realise the products are good, so they are willing to book one even when it's new and before it is here,' he explained.
Of course the booming economy is another reason and the strong orders for the LP700-4 should take about two years to fulfil after the first unit arrives in Singapore in June next year.
One prospective buyer said that the LP700-4's stunning looks and revolutionary technology have also been instrumental in getting the mainly Lamborghini enthusiasts to fill up the order books. 'The LP700 can go from zero to 100 kmh in 2.9 seconds,' he said. 'How many cars can do that in under three seconds? You're talking maybe about the Bugatti Veyron but that will cost at least $4.5 million.'
The new mid-engined Lambo will have a lightweight body powered by a new 6.5-litre V12 engine pumping out 700 hp and 650 Nm of torque. Top speed is said to be almost 350 kmh. The V12 is mated to an all-new ISR (Independent Shifting Rod) transmission. This seven-speed single-clutch automated manual gearbox is said to be so fast that each gear shift takes only 50 milliseconds. By comparison, a Formula One car takes 30 to 35 milliseconds to change gears.
Apart from outright performance, the LP700 has also incorporated styling cues that are immediately associated with Lamborghini, such as the show-stopping scissor doors.
The strong economy has seen the ultra high-end sports car market zooming this year. According to data by the Land Transport Authority, there were total registrations of 59 units of Ferrari, 32 of Aston Martin and 47 of Bentley in the first 11 months of this year.
These mean that the year-to-date sales of these three makes have already overtaken their respective 2009 figures of 32, 25 and 45 units.
This article was first published in The Business Times.