They’re the fastest cars on the market but their prices have shot up in recent years, not that it’s stopped people queuing to own them.
It can blast to 100km/h in 2.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 350km/h – but get ready to blow your retirement because Australians will pay up to $350,000 more than overseas buyers for the fastest Lamborghini ever produced.
The Aventador is a cool $754,600 – plus on-road costs – representing a hefty premium over the same car in the United States (US$393,695 before state taxes, or $370,000), the United Kingdom (242,280 pounds, also $370,000), and throughout Europe (which has varying prices due to differing taxes).
The Aventador is also 51 per cent more expensive than the equivalent V12-powered Lamborghini Diablo sold 10 years earlier.
Unlike widescreen TVs, consumer electronics and many other cars, supercars just keep getting more expensive.
And it appears to be because Australians are willing to pay. So much so they’re queuing for the privilege; the wait on the Aventador is almost two years, while Ferrari’s 458 has a queue stretching more than a year.
The pricing has been enough to turn one man off the prospect of buying his third Lamborghini.
“I was considering buying one but I’ve given up because I’ve discovered the dealers are blaming Italy [for the pricing] and the people in Italy are saying they have the right to rip us off because everyone else does it,” says businessman Ray Hazouri, who says a senior Lamborghini executive in Italy said the pricing would be reviewed “but they still haven’t got back to me”.
“They’re doing it because they can – and they told me in an email that the price is ‘locally positioned relative to competitors, product features and brand values’.”
Lamborghini’s sales manager for South East Asia and Oceania said pricing must be stable over many years and cannot swing with wild currency changes including the recent strengthening of the Australian dollar.
“We have to ensure the price is fair compared with Porsche, Maserati, Aston Martin, Ferrari [and other competitors],” said Andrea Baldi, who said there were internal price reviews every three months to “ensure we have stable, long term pricing”.
As an example he said the drop in the value of the UK pound meant Lamborghini was “very close” to losing money there.
“It’s always a difficult balance. There are markets where you can be fairly profitable … Australia and the UK are opposite [in profitability] at this moment.
“It’s difficult to finds a solution so that everybody’s happy. We cannot simply play with the price [depending on currency changes] each year. ”
The move to charge Australians more for top end luxury cars or high performance sports cars is familiar to anyone lucky enough to be able to splash out more than half a million dollars on fine transport.
While Ferrari is set to reduce the price on an upcoming new model in line with similar moves by sister brand Maserati, its volume selling V8s have been rising. When it arrived last year Ferrari’s 458 Italia was almost $70,000 – or 14 per cent – more expensive than the F430 it replaced, yet the currency has swung in favour of Australians when it comes to imported goods.
Go back a decade and the equivalent Ferrari 360 Modena was a $355,300 proposition.
The controversial luxury car tax has increased from 25 to 33 per cent in that time, but import tariffs have reduced from 15 to 5 per cent. There’s also inflation to contend with, although many popular models – including the Toyota Corolla and Holden Calais – have actually reduced in price over a decade.
The general manager of Ferrari importer European Automotive Imports, Kevin Wall, said pricing for the brand was handled in Italy.
“Ferrari have an international policy on pricing however they were unavailable to make any comment due to it being a public holiday in Italy,” he said.
Much of Porsche’s range also carries a hefty premium here compared with places such as the US, although the Australian arm partly justifies that with additional equipment compared with vehicles sold in other markets. Porsche’s prices also haven’t skyrocketed like more exotic and exclusive marques.
Yet even if the value of the Australian dollar plummeted by one-third the Aventador would still be more expensive here than in the UK and US (even considering local taxes) given the current markup.
While few Australians may sympathise with those wealthy enough to splash out on such four-wheeled extravagance, critics argue that penalising the top end of the market slows the introduction of the latest technology, including potentially life-saving features or fuel saving measures.
Price swings: then and now