Before we get started on this, I do want to point out that marketing cars to women buyers, when applied correctly, does have its merits. There is truth to the fact that women have only recently become the primary drivers of car-buying decisions, and that they tend to gravitate toward crossovers and SUVs. That much has been widely surveyed. Lamborghini wants in, which is great because this means more Lamborghinis. But some of the language and visuals it uses to justify this move are... questionable!
Bloomberg’s Hannah Elliott spent some time with Lamborghini and its new boss Stefano Domenicali to talk about the Urus SUV and got some insight into the company’s “women and families” target for future sales. It was perplexing.
Here are some of the more memorable quotes from the story.
Lamborghini wants to show you a softer side of Italian supercars.
Off to a great start there! As soon as women enter the equation, things have to be “soft” and “gentle.”
“A bull is always aggressive, but I would like to give us a new philosophy toward the future: A bull can be gentle,” [Domenicali] said.
I don’t see what’s wrong with making fast and badass SUVs like all the other fast and badass cars you’ve made before, but okay, sure. The bull must be gentle now.
“A bull can recognize people with a glimpse of the eye and be smart. He is not always aggressive in a negative way. He’s aggressive because he is very strong animal, but the Lamborghini of the future is an animal that can recognize the beauty of people, can recognize the fact that we are going to a family-oriented business with an SUV.”
It paints the bull out to be this violent and virulent creature, but don’t worry ladies, he always softens up for his women. It’s like some kind of sinister fetish fantasy. Full of minotaurs, or some shit.
The goal will be to make Urus immediately identifiable as a Lamborghini, both in how it looks and in how it drives, and to make it immensely “personalizeable” for a young (30-45) target audience whose members view themselves as the “protagonists” of their own lives, Domenicali said.
Just, what? Who isn’t a protagonist in their own life? Does anyone see themselves as a bystander or an antagonist?
“I don’t think anybody has captured the heart and soul of the female luxury buyer” in the supercar arena, said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a Manhattan-based research firm. “It’s not a question of money for women in that segment. The money is not going to be the issue. It’s going to be: ‘Show me you know me.’”
I’m really not sure what the “heart and soul” of the female luxury buyer is. I hope it isn’t “soft.”
“Lamborghini is going in the right direction here,” Pedraza said, noting the success of Porsche and its wildly popular Cayenne SUV. “Anybody can be convinced, as long as there is substance to the argument. If Lamborghini puts out a product that is female-friendly, women will definitely flock to it and will change their minds.”
I’m not clear on what a product that is “female-friendly” would even look like. I’ve thought about it and the only things that come to mind are tampons and pads. Perhaps we expect a Tampax By Lamborghini to hit shelves in CVS soon.
The key to success in this new segment for Lamborghini, Pedraza said, will be to produce a product that women can use comfortably and often. (“If you are going to do an SUV, you better understand that there will likely be children in the back; women transport kids, whether they are working mothers or not.”)
The brand will have to get women into the showroom and then communicate the quality of the product: “When women get to the showroom, the people who are ambassadors to the brand and the experience have to be impeccable,” he said. “It all has to be seamless and honest and relevant—and by the way, human. If it can do that, I believe Lamborghini has a great shot.”
I agree with the comfortable and often part, because that translates into practicality. I think everyone wants a practical car somewhere in their fleet. But this bullshit about women transporting kids? Not every woman has kids in her life. Don’t assume that. I deal with kids maybe once a week, and that’s when I share an elevator with them. That’s it.
I would simply love to be in the showroom during one of these pitches. I imagine it to go something like this:
“You can fit kids in the back.”
“But I don’t have kids.”
“...You can fit your neighbor’s kids in the back.”
“But they don’t have kids.”
This will entail revolutionary thinking at the 53-year-old brand, which started out making tractors in an industrial center in rural Italy. Domenicali said he’s more than up to the challenge.
You mean women aren’t the clueless buyers of yesteryear anymore? They have opinions and stuff? Money? Revolutionary.