Lamborghini is slowing down

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PARIS: Italian super sports car maker Lamborghini is bracing for flat vehicle sales next year as the global economic slowdown weighs on luxury purchases in key markets including China.

Lamborghini, owned by the German Volkswagen automotive group, expects 2012 sales of its two model lines, the new Aventador and the Gallardo, to post double-digit growth from last year’s 1,602 global deliveries, chief Executive Stephan Winkelmann said at the Paris Motor Show on Thursday.

Sant’Agata-based Lamborghini, part of VW’s ultra-luxury stable with Bugatti and Bentley Motors, sees signs that the rich are holding back on purchases in China, the brand’s No. 2 market after the United States, Winkelmann said.

Conversely, the United States, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and parts of Europe are adding momentum to sales, the CEO said.

The current order bank for the Aventador accounts for 15 months’ production, according to Winkelmann.

Lamborghini still awaits a final decision from parent VW to produce its first sport utility vehicle in almost two decades.

The so-called Urus model, unveiled in Beijing in April, is designed to tap rising demand for SUVs in emerging markets.

Winkelmann, who sees potential for about 3,000 unit sales of the Urus per year, said that even if approved by VW, the model wouldn’t hit showrooms until 2017. -Reuters