Despite a 70-day lull in production because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Italian supercar maker Lamborghini achieved its second-best year in terms of sales and the best-ever year in terms of profitability in 2020.
It delivered 7,430 vehicles, down from 8,205 in 2019, generating a turnover of 1.61 billion euros ($1.92 billion).
The United States ranked first globally again, with 2,224 sold; Germany followed with 607; and the Chinese mainland as well as Hong Kong and Macao came in a close third with 604.
"But this year, and this is something we are already seeing, the China market will be No 2 for us in terms of sales," said President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann in an exclusive interview with China Daily last week.
He said, by the end of last year, Lamborghini had received orders to cover the first nine months of production in 2021, and China is outperforming the average of the other markets.
Three new models are to be launched or hit the market this year. The first is the V10 Huracan Super Trofeo Omologato, which is scheduled to hit the market by the middle of this year.
Two new V12-engined cars will be announced in the second half of this year.
"So, we will easily have a better year in 2021 than the previous two years," Winkelmann said. "China is increasingly important for the future success of Lamborghini."
He gave the example of the Urus SUV, its most popular model. Lamborghini did an analysis of its opportunities in China and that proved to be one of the reasons why it decided to invest in the segment.
Despite its growth potential in China, the United States will remain the largest market for the brand in the foreseeable future.
This is because of a combination of elements, including a shorter history in China. The brand did not make its way into the Chinese market until 2005.
He said, thanks to the internet and social media, people can get to know a brand much faster than before. But it will be one of the company's priorities to explain the brand better in the countries where it is newer.
"A Lamborghini is more than just an engine with a nice body and beautiful design. It is a car with cutting-edge technology that delivers ultimate value.
"If we make this connection for customers, then the customers we anticipate will rise both in terms of knowledge about the brand and also in terms of age," Winkelmann said.
Statistics show that the average age of Urus owners in China is 37, younger than those in the United States and European countries.
"Wherever there is more history with the brand, the wider the customer base seems to be and the more diverse customers are," Winkelmann said.
But he said it is a perfect thing to have young customers because the young generation represents the future.
"Lamborghini needs to continue to be trendsetters, to be a brand that is always looking to the future. Not as a brand that is just fashionable, as fashion goes out of style soon.
"Now, what we have to do is retain those customers as they evolve through life. In my opinion, this is key and this is something we have to work especially hard on in countries like China where our brand has a relatively fresher history," Winkelmann said.