Wednesday, January 3, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Audi may roll out a leaner, less-powerful Lamborghini

The Detroit News

A smaller, more "affordable" Lamborghini? Don’t laugh.

That’s what Volkswagen/Audi officials are contemplating, just a few years after VW purchased the Lamborghini brand and assigned it to the Audi division.

Lamborghini is the fabled Italian marque that Audi of America vice president Len Hunt describes as "complete testosterone on wheels." The logo is the raging bull, and it’s among the priciest of auto exotica.

A Lamborghini Diablo 6.0, with an aluminum body and a V-12 engine, has a base price of just less than $300,000.

Hunt said Audi dealers will not sell Lamborghinis — ever.

But Audi eventually may develop engines for smaller Lamborghinis. That’s how the Bavarian-based manufacturer may expand the coveted Lamborghini brand and capitalize on the growing market for exotic automobiles.

A more mundane analogy is the Audi TT. Had it not been for the economical Volkswagen Beetle/ Skoda Octavia/Seat Toledo chassis, he said, there may never have been such an exotic spinoff as an Audi TT.

"What’s the future of Lamborghini?" Hunt said. "No. 1, you must keep it as a brand in its own right, so you don’t sell it through an Audi dealer. That would be wrong.

"Maybe we’ll look at Audi developing engines for smaller Lamborghinis. Maybe start bridging the gap. Because the envelope of Lamborghini can be very easily expanded."

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