|Lee Dong-hoon, managing director of Lamborghini Seoul (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)|
Customers all over the world have to queue for months to get their hands on a Lamborghini, according to the Italian “super sports car” brand.
In key markets, it takes 12 months for the scissor-doored Aventador and 18 months for its roadster version.
However, for the Korean clientele, the waiting time is expected to be reduced by as much as two to three months, thanks to support from its headquarters in Bologna, not to mention Volkswagen Group, which now owns Lamborghini.
“That would be faster than in our other top seller markets such as China and Japan,” said Lee Dong-hoon, managing director of Lamborghini Seoul, in an interview with The Korea Herald.
“Impressed by the recent staggering growth, the head office is well aware of the market potential in Korea. They want to support more aggressively our recent sales momentum.”
He added: “Of course, for Lamborghini owners, the waiting months are not just a tedious time but a time full of anticipation about the car they are about to encounter.”
Amid the surging sales of foreign-brand cars in recent years, global luxury carmakers are piling into Korea, a nascent market for so-called “super cars.”
In the first eight months of this year, sales of high-priced cars worth 100 million won ($93,000) or more soared to more than 7,000 units, with the combined sales amount exceeding the 1 trillion won.
The official Korean importer of Lamborghinis ― whose sticker prices start from 300 million won here ― also saw its car sales jump 50 percent to 23 vehicles last year. This year, the CEO feels confident about selling more than 30 cars, another 50 percent growth.
“German brands have led the rapid growth over the past 10 years. Now supercar makers are joining to heat up the market overall,” he said.
Lee, who joined Lamborghini in April, started his career at BMW Korea in the late 1990s when foreign car owners used to become the target of tax investigations.
Since then, he has never left the industry. He worked with several premium brands such as Ferrari, Maserati and Jaguar. He served as managing director of Jaguar Land Rover Korea between 2008 and 2011.
“Over the years, Korea has become the world’s fifth-largest automotive producer. More Koreans enjoy driving, including running on the racetrack,” he said.
“People’s awareness still needs to be renewed for real progress. Terms like ‘imported cars’ or ‘foreign brands’ show the market’s closed nature and protectionism. They are just ‘cars.’”
About 1,500 people are believed to own a Lamborghini in Korea. This year, the company aims to sell at least 25 of its Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera Edizione Tecnica.
There are some owners who reluctant to reveal their appetite for their pricier toys. But younger generations, equipped with deep insights into the brand and driving, enjoy sharing the excitement with others, Lee said.
“People in their 30s and 40s make up the largest age group of the customers. About 10 percent are women,” he said.
The CEO agrees Lamborghini is a dream car for many. The outlandish machines are more like a fantasy than actual vehicles, while the thrill of the drive is beyond imagination.
“But I think it’s not an impossible dream but a dream that has yet to be realized,” Lee said.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com)