The Volkswagen Group has received a €7.5 billion ($9.2 billion) purchase offer for Automobili Lamborghini.
The non-binding offer, made in a letter of intent sent earlier this month to the German automaker, sets out terms for the purchase of Lamborghini by Quantum Group SA.
The newly established Zurich-based holding company has formed a consortium with London-based investment firm Centricus Asset Management with the aim of creating what it describes as a “technology and lifestyle investment platform” under the working title Outlook 2030.
The acquisition of Lamborghini, including its storied Sant’Agata manufacturing headquarters in Italy as well as its motorsport operations, is claimed to be central to Quantum Group SA’s investment interests, which is seeking discussions with the Volkswagen Group as a formal step toward carrying out initial due diligence on the company.
Both Volkswagen Group Chairman Herbert Diess and Audi Chairman Markus Duesmann are claimed to have knowledge of the acquisition offer for Lamborghini, a copy of which along with other confidential documents, including a so-called Vision Book outlining key elements of the purchase proposal, has been obtained by Wards.
Despite the offer, an Audi spokesperson contacted by Wards says, “Lamborghini is not for sale.”
Lamborghini is controlled by Volkswagen Group-owned Audi. Founded by Ferruccio Lamborghini in 1963, its current models include the Huracán, Aventador and Urus – all of which rely heavily on Volkswagen Group components.
Under the vision set out by Quantum Group SA, the Lamborghini brand would become a “spearhead for innovation by consistently implementing new clean drivetrain technologies.”
Together with the proposed acquisition of Automobili Lamborghini, the letter of intent sets out terms for a strategic partnership between Quantum Group SA and the Volkswagen Group for the future operations of the 58-year-old Italian supercar manufacturer, including a 5-year supplier agreement with Audi.
The proposed partnership calls for sharing intellectual property and electric vehicle technology as well as establishing a so-called Advanced Automotive Innovation Center based in the German state of Lower Saxony for the development and production of battery cells and battery packs.
The Lamborghini development center envisioned by Quantum Group SE also would develop software and autonomous driving technology as well as so-called green materials, including e-fuels and hydrogen.
In a deal that would see the Italian car maker cut loose from its German parent company of the past 23 years, the Quantum Group SA says it would retain the existing Lamborghini management.
Its purchase offer includes job assurances for existing Lamborghini employees for a period of up to five years. It also suggests up to 850 new jobs would be created through the establishment of the German-based innovation center.
The business plan outlined by the Swiss-Anglo consortium in the letter of intent provides for an “upscaling” in volume and “an EV solution” for Lamborghini by 2025.
Audi purchased Lamborghini in 1998 from Megatech, an Indonesia-based company jointly owned by Hutomo Mandla Putra, the youngest son of the country’s then-President, Suharto, for a claimed $110 million.
Earlier indications suggested the Volkswagen Group, though Audi, was interested in selling the Italian supercar manufacturer as part of cost-cutting initiatives to fund its entry into the electric vehicle sector.
Diess, who previously told Wards the costs of developing successors to today’s Lamborghini models, including the Aventador, were running beyond budget, suggested Lamborghini might be rolled into a “legal structure” with Italian-based Volkswagen Group-controlled companies Ducati and ItalDesign.
However, the German automaking giant officially denied a proposed sale of Lamborghini following a Volkswagen Group supervisory board meeting in December 2020, where it was decided the day-to-day operations of Lamborghini would remain under the control of Audi, together with those of Bentley.
Shortly before, the Volkswagen Group appointed Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann as CEO of Lamborghini – a position he had held between 2005 and 2016 before moving to head of Audi Sport.
Quantum Group SA is represented in the acquisition offer for Lamborghini by Rea Stark (pictured above, left), a co-founder of Piech Automotive, the Zurich-based company behind the Piech Mark Zero GT revealed at the 2019 Geneva auto show.
Also among Piech Automotive executives are Anton Piech, son of former Volkswagen Group Chairman Ferdinand Piech, and ex-Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller. However, it is not known at this stage if they are involved in the acquisition offer.
Lamborghini recorded 7,430 sales in 2020, a decline of 775 from its record annual sales of 8,205 in 2019. Despite the drop, largely attributed to a 70-day shutdown at its Sant’Agata factory due to the COVID pandemic, profits increased to an unspecified record on 2020 revenues of €1.61 billion ($1.97 billion).