Stephan Winkelmann, a seasoned automotive executive, has made a highly-anticipated return to Automobili Lamborghini as the President and CEO as of December 1, 2020. He succeeded Stefano Domenicali, who moved on to take over as CEO of Formula 1 starting from 2021.
During his first tenure as the President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini from 2005 to 2016, Winkelmann played a significant role in establishing the company as a major player in the super sports car market.
Under his visionary leadership, the company introduced several iconic and technologically advanced models, starting from the Gallardo and its derivatives to the V10 Huracán and the V12 Aventador, as well as limited-edition models and one-of-a-kind cars. These models set numerous sales records and positioned Lamborghini as a leading manufacturer of high-performance vehicles.
In 2015, Winkelmann announced the introduction of the Super SUV Urus, marking the start of a new chapter for the company. The Urus marked Lamborghini’s foray into the luxury SUV market, further expanding the company’s reach and solidifying its status as a global leader in the automotive industry.
Stephan Winkelmann, born in Berlin on October 18, 1964, is a well-known figure in the world of luxury sports cars. Despite being German, he speaks perfect Italian and has lived in Italy for over 30 years.
He has been the president of Bugatti since 2018, after serving as the president of Audi Sport from March 2016, where he achieved over 20,000 units sold for the first time in the sports division’s history. Prior to that, he led Lamborghini to its current success, where he closed his career in 2015 with a turnover of 872 million euros and the production of 3,245 units, marking the fifth consecutive year of growth. He has also worked for Alfa Romeo and Fiat.
Winkelmann holds the highest titles in the Italian Republic and is a Lieutenant Reservist of the German Army, thanks to his outstanding work achievements. He holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Munich and began his professional career in the world of finance in 1991. He worked for Mercedes-Benz before joining the FCA Group in 1994, and in 2005 he took on the role of President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., which marked a significant leap in his professional career.
Setting new course
Beyond his professional duties, Winkelmann is a man of dreams and is known as “The “Man”. The VAG Group chose him to lead Bugatti because of his successful record with Lamborghini and Audi, and his deep understanding of the luxury sports car scene and the brand.
Winkelmann was chosen to turn around Bugatti after the company saw negative results following the transition from Veyron to Chiron. The Volkswagen Group was losing 4.58 million euros for each of the 450 units of the Veyron, an unacceptable result for a group used to success and sales records. Winkelmann’s mission was to lead the French car manufacturer towards goals in line with the brand’s coat of arms.
So far, his efforts seem to be paying off. He has applied his “recipe” in Lamborghini, which includes larger numbers (from 450 units of Veyron to 500 units planned for Chiron, with a higher cost of about 3 million euros per model), special series, additional equipment, limited editions, unique examples (such as the recent “La Voiture Noire”), and strategic partnerships. All of these elements are in the name of exclusivity and performance, which is at the heart of all Bugatti projects.
Winkelmann has a deep understanding of the brand and a sensitivity to its exclusive customers, which is why he is the right man for the job. Under his leadership, any luxury car manufacturer is poised for a successful future.