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Lamborghini CEO says luxury consumer still 'going very strong'

In the world of sales, it often comes down to being where your customers are. And for a luxury automaker like Lamborghini (VOW.DE), that means setting up shop at Art Basel Miami, where the well heeled flock to buy high-priced art and possibly high-end automobiles.

While also celebrating its 60-year anniversary, Lamborghini took the opportunity at the glitzy event to debut a one-off version of its hybrid Revuelto supercar in front of the high-net-worth Art Basel audience. The "Opera Unica" features a special paint job that took over 400 hours to complete.

“So the year 2023 is very important for us, and the most important thing we did for the 2023 year was the launch of the Revuelto,” Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said in an interview with Yahoo Finance from Miami. “And coming to the Art Basel here in Miami, we wanted to have something really special.”

The Lamborghini Revuelto 'Opera Unica' (credit: Lamborghini)
The Lamborghini Revuelto 'Opera Unica' (Lamborghini) (Lamborghini)

Lamborghini is in the midst of another record year, at least through three-quarters of 2023. The US is still leading the charge as the top market, but globally the brand is very strong.

With his pulse on the luxury consumer, and working the crowds in Miami, Winkelmann offers up his take on the state of the high-end buyer, and the luxury market.

“I have to say that it's still going very strong. I think that at least, we have reached a plateau,” Winkelmann says about the luxury consumer. “We are looking very carefully, always, into the residual values of the car, of the length of the order bank, of the solidity of the customer base, and I have to say that we are still quite confident also for the months to come.”

The Lamborghini Revuelto 'Opera Unica' (credit: Lamborghini)
The Lamborghini Revuelto "Opera Unica" (Lamborghini) (Lamborghini)

That also means examining costs, and that’s one area where Lamborghini made headlines away from the glitz of Miami and back at the factory in Sant’Agata, Italy. Lamborghini and Italian auto unions FIOM and FIM-CISL struck a deal on Tuesday to introduce a shortened workweek for its production workers, the labor unions said.

"Work less and work better, this is the principle that guided this negotiation, and which is part of a comprehensive reasoning," the FIOM and FIM-CISL said in a statement. This means Lamborghini factory workers will use a rotating two-shift schedule that will alternate a five-day week with a four-day week, and thereby cut 22 workdays each year.

While some in the press have were calling it the inception of a four-day workweek, Winkelmann said that's a misnomer.

“I don't know why [they are saying it's a four-day workweek] ... because it's not what we're doing. We are maintaining the same productivity,” Winkelmann said. “It's a very simple recipe: We are improving the efficiency, we are going to have longer shifts. So this means that they will work the same hours, but they will be spending [fewer days] in the factory.”

With business strong at the moment and looking into the next year, Winkelmann believes this labor deal is a good one for both the company and the auto workers who will have more days off. It also means the company will be able to hire upwards of 500 new workers in the “years to come,” with rising wages as well.

And, in a nod to the company’s 60-year anniversary, Lamborghini is giving its workers a special bonus of 1,060 euros (around $1,145).

While that won’t be enough to buy one of the company’s sports cars (or likely a contemporary piece of art in Miami), workers certainly won’t be saying no grazie when the check appears in the mail.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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