Lamborghini had its most profitable year ever in 2020, despite a two-month shutdown of its Italian factory during the pandemic.

While sales were slightly lower than the previous year, Lamborghini sold more expensive, customised supercars, pushing profits higher.

“We were surprised,” said chief executive Stephan Winkelmann.

China has fuelled a lot of demand and would overtake Germany as its second-biggest market this year.

Lamborghini’s new sports utility vehicle (SUV) is called Urus and has been hugely successful, accounting for 59% of the company’s sales worldwide last year.

Chinese car buyers have developed an appetite for ultra-luxury SUVs from the likes of Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Lamborghini.

“Urus is giving us peace of mind in terms of return on investment and also earnings, and the earnings are giving us the confidence to reinvest in the future,” Mr Winkelmann added.

The carmaker, which is owned by Volkswagen, sold 7,430 cars worldwide in 2020, second only to the 8,250 it delivered in 2019.

But Lamborghini saw strong income from its highly profitable “limited special series” models.

“We have already covered with customer orders nine months of the year for 2021,” Mr Winkelmann said. “So we are looking at the year 2021 in quite a positive bent.”

He told CNBC: “It’s a bit like with the stock markets: the buyer’s spirits are up. They can’t wait to the moment to get out again and to enjoy life.”

Electric cars and China

China is expected to become the company’s second-largest market this year, replacing Germany for the first time. The US is Lamborghini’s biggest market, with delivery of 2,224 cars in 2020.

The biggest challenge for Lamborghini is the tightening of emissions regulations around the world and the shift to electric vehicles.

Lamborghini has not announced plans for an electric supercar, although an announcement could be coming in April.

“We have to anticipate also a change of mind of our customers and the enthusiasts as well. This is a very crucial moment for super sports cars, where you have to really set the marks for the future,” Mr Winkelmann added.

Reacting to speculation that Volkswagen could sell-off Lamborghini, Mr Winkelmann said that the “Volkswagen Group is the perfect match for Lamborghini”.

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