Automakers are betting more and more on supercars, many of them hybrids
The Bologna brand, in Italy, will manufacture 63 of them, all already ordered.
Lamborghini had given clues about its importance in the last months and described in detail how these special projects are part of the business. Although unconfirmed, the first information prices the car at around US$ 3 million – an astronomical amount, although increasingly common.
“Reventon provoked a great discussion about the dimensions of this segment,” said Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini’s chief engineer, in an interview with Bloomberg at the company’s headquarters, noting that Lamborghini “started” the segment with its Lamborghini Reventon in 2007.
“We were the first to do it that way. As we explored more and more during this period, we began to see how, in this market, you can stretch in terms of price and demand. The Reventon coupon came out for US$ 3 million; the [Reventon] roadster, for US$ 3.2 million; the Centenario, for US$ 2 million. So, in this segment, we know that there is a wonderful market”.
The Reventon, with a V12 engine and four-wheel drive, reached 320 km/h in a test in Dubai, a surprising speed for a car in production at the time. Only 20 were manufactured, plus one destined for the Lamborghini museum.
If it happens, the new hybrid will join a thriving field of extremely limited edition hybrid and electric supercars from luxury giants such as Aston Martin, Ferrari, Koenigsegg, Lotus, Mercedes-Benz and Pininfarina. The models have recently been displayed in dazzling hues on golf courses and during private parties in seaside villages, announced in Instagram fan accounts and orchestrated Rodeo Drive parades for YouTube.
If before automakers used to have only one in “their whole existence” or at most one a year, now they seem to be accelerating at full speed. In the last 12 months, only Aston Martin has debuted and promised several supercars: the super lightweight 1,160 horsepower Valkyrie and the 986 hp Valhalla hybrids, plus the concept car Vanquish Vision and Valkyrie AMR Pro, not to mention the electrical offerings of its Lagonda department. These models follow the One-77 and Vulcan supercars of previous years. It’s a very different scenario from what used to be a sober little car maker hidden in the green hills of the Cotswolds region, England.
Many supercars, such as the $2.72 million Mercedes-AMG Project One hybrid based on the Mercedes Formula One car, are sold as concept cars or rough prototypes and require six- or seven-digit deposits in advance to ensure delivery. Others are sold with even less – some sketches, a rendering. That’s if you can get on the list to buy one. The official slogan of most, like Lambo, is that the models have sold out before they’re even seen.
Some collectors are beginning to find the litany quite tedious.
“We need an awakening and a clean-up soon so everyone can get back to reality,” says Dan Kang, the well-known car collector from Southern California who owns a McLaren Senna, a Guntherwerks Porsche 911 and a Lamborghini Centenario, among other supercars.
“Neither are the new companies, but also the traditional brands, that feel they can demand the new prices without much substance. They need to support what they have already sold – not the [car] they can sell next”.
When manufacturers are launching cars that can’t be driven for many years in the future and the very people who can buy them are excited anyway, this raises the question: have we reached the apex of the supercar?