Company reverses decision to abandon motor shows; all VW Group brands expected to exhibit at Middle East event.
Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann has confirmed the brand will exhibit at the inaugural Qatar motor show in October – but said the firm will no longer make long-term commitments to shows.
The new GIMS Qatar event is being run by a partnership between organisers of the Geneva motor show and tourist chiefs in the Middle East country and is scheduled to take place from 5-14 October alongside the Qatar Grand Prix.
As with last year’s men’s football world cup in Qatar, the announcement of the motor show sparked some backlash, with homosexuality illegal in the country and concerns about the welfare and treatment of migrant workers.
Show organisers have said 30 “global automotive brands” will exhibit at the event, although they have yet to name individual manufacturers. Speaking to Automotive Daily Partner Autocar at the Goodwood Festival of Speed recently, Winkelmann confirmed that Lamborghini would attend, making it the first brand to publicly do so.
The Italian brand announced in 2020 that it would no longer attend large-profile motor shows, instead targeting more intimate interaction with customers and fans through smaller-scale private events.
Qatar Holding, the direct investment arm of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, currently holds a 17% stake in the Volkswagen Group and previously owned a significant number of Porsche shares. Autocar understand that all VW Group brands will attend the show as a result.
Asked about the value of the show, Winkelmann said: “We will see. It is the first time [it has been staged], so we must look at it. But the Middle East is an important market to us.”
Winkelmann said concerns over the viability of some motor shows – for example, the Geneva show itself has not run since 2019 but is scheduled to return in 2024 – has prompted Lamborghini to eschew long-term commitments in future.
“There are different types of events, some of which are tailor-made for our type of customers,” he said. “Goodwood attracts a bigger crowd: in the UK there is a huge enthusiasm for cars in general, and supercars, and this is not true in every market.
“We have to see year by year how [a show] develops and then make a decision. These days, we never make long-term commitments on shows, because things are changing very fast. A lot are going down the drain and are not successful any more, so if attendance is going down and there’s no press, there’s no need to go.”
Before Qatar, Lamborghini will have a major presence at next month’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California. Winkelmann said: “For us, Pebble Beach is the biggest auto event in terms of importance. All the types of people who are customers or could become customers go there. It’s growing in terms of presence from outside the US, and so it’s going to keep growing in importance.”