There will be fewer trips like this
Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy - Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A announced plans to make the company more environmentally friendly by 2011. The company currently produces just two models; the Gallardo powered by a 10 cylinder engine and the flagship Murcielago, which is powered by a 12 cylinder engine producing an astounding 633 bhp. All that performance comes at a price however - poor fuel economy.
Communication Director, Sergio Fontana states "We are concerned not only about the rising costs of fuel, but with global warming as well. Or cars average less than 10 MPG when driven in the city. They perform much worse on the track. We would like to improve those figures dramatically so that we are more in line with the other manufacturers."
Lamborghini says that it plans to achieve this by changing the car's power plant. The Gallardo is slated to receive a 4 cylinder turbo charged engine capable of 135 horsepower while the Murcielago is set to receive a hybrid 6 cylinder engine that will produce a peak of 210 horse power. "The cars will look the same as they always have, however they will perform much better in terms of gas mileage" states Fontana. "We will also be able to pass along a significant cost savings to our customers since these engines will be much cheaper to produce. We estimate that the Gallardo will cost between $65,000 to $72,000. The Murcielago will be slightly more, but we hope to keep it under $110,000."
Enthusiasts argue that they are destroying Lamborghini's legendary heritage. "No one will buy these cars. Period." says Csaba Csere, editor of Car and Driver magazine. "Seriously, you could purchase a Chevrolet Corvette for under $60,000. This is a car that currently gives the Gallardo of today a good run for it's money. How could anyone justify spending that amount of money on a car that will be shamed by a Hyundai Accent at a green light? They're going to kill this brand if it goes forward. It will be a sad day for the automotive world. I really hope they change their minds."
Fontana disagrees, "By lowering the cost of the automobiles, we are effectively opening the door to whole new set of customers who were previously unable to purchase our product. Our research tells us that people are less concerned about performance than they are with the style a Lamborghini evokes. It's sexy, It's exclusive, and now it will [be] attainable. Furthermore, we have also found that people are growing more concerned about the environment and the effects of global warming. We feel that we can be pioneers in the auto industry. Let's face it, no one really needs 12 cylinders - or even 10 for that matter. What we do need is clean fresh air, and this is Lamborghini's contribution to that."