As Volkswagen Group shifts its focus to high-volume electric cars and self-driving technology, the costly bill to electrify its niche performance brands like Lamborghini and Bugatti is becoming harder to justify.
After reporting Tuesday that the long-term fate of the brands will be discussed at a meeting in November, Reuters reported Thursday that a possibility for Lamborghini is a spinoff—similar to what Fiat Chrysler Automobiles did with Ferrari in 2015.
Citing two sources familiar with the matter, Reuters reported that VW Group is looking to make Lamborghini more independent within the group, in terms of parts sharing and access to suppliers, in order to make an initial public offering possible down the road.
No decision has been made and should the green light be given, VW Group is likely to retain a controlling stake in any independent Lamborghini, the sources said.
There’s greater urgency to electrify as governments around the world are proposing bans on sales of cars powered solely by internal-combustion engines around the end of the decade. There are also plans being considered by some cities to ban cars that don’t have zero-emission modes from city centers.
However, combined sales of supercar models at Lamborghini and Bugatti were just 3,325 units in 2019, making it difficult to invest in new platforms with sufficient return. There was talk of VW Group developing a platform for electric sports cars as recently as 2018, though a year later we heard plans for the platform had been abandoned as the automaker focused on volume models.
A third source told Reuters that other options include restructuring the niche brands or forming technology partnerships. The comments follow a report from September alleging that VW Group may sell Bugatti to Rimac in return for an increased stake in the Croatian EV technology firm.