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Quick summary: Lamborghini is owned by Volkswagen AG, which means the stock ticker for US investors to access is VWAGY. Investors should be aware of the pros and cons of investing in an unregistered ADR and also the fact that Lamborghini accounts for a minuscule amount of its parent company’s total business.
Introduction: Who Owns Lamborghini?
Lamborghini is one of the most distinctive luxury sports car brands on the planet. Catering to the ultra-luxury market, only a few thousand are produced each year, with price tags reaching as high as $500,000. “Lambos” are often the aspirational trophy of crypto and meme stock investors who hit it rich with their investments.
The Italian car company has had numerous ownership changes through the years and has seen its fortunes rise and fall with those of gas prices and the broader economy. The company seems to be on surer footing today, with the addition of a popular SUV to its lineup, growing profitability and the future hybridization of its full lineup starting in 2024.
Currently, Lamborghini is owned by Volkswagen AG, as part of the company’s Audi division. The Lamborghini company, known in Italian as Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., also includes some other notable brands, including Ducati motorcycles and also handles distribution for all Volkswagen vehicles with Italy.
Lamborghini was acquired by Volkswagen AG in 1998.
Lamborghini: A Brief History
Lamborghini was founded in 1963 by Italian designer Ferruccio Lamborghini, originally with the aim to compete with fellow Italian car company Ferrari. After an initial decade of success, the company struggled during the 1973 oil crisis. Lamborghini sold his namesake company in 1974 and by 1978 Lamborghini was bankrupt. After a period of years the company was revived in the early 1980s, with new models released and an aggressive expansion in sales.
In 1987, the Lamborghini brand was acquired by Chrysler, who introduced the Lamborghini Diablo, a premier sports car. The late 1980s also marked Lamborghini’s entry into Formula 1 racing, as an engine supplier to race teams. In 1990, a Lamborghini model placed third in the Japanese Grand Prix, its best ever performance.
In 1994, Chrysler sold Lamborghini to a Malaysian investment group. This ownership period lasted only until 1998, when the Asian financial crisis drove the owners to sell to Volkswagen AG.
Under Volkswagen’s ownership, Lamborghini has expanded the number of models it offers, as well as produced notably more cars per year than in the past. The introduction of Lamborghini’s SUV model, the Urus, has expanded interest in the brand with both younger and female customers, according the company’s CEO.
Lamborghini has also committed to making all of their cars hybrid models by 2024, which puts it on track to be the “first super sports car manufacturer to have a complete hybrid lineup,” according to CEO Stephen Winkelmann.
Lamborghini Stock Symbol
As Lamborghini is owned by Volkswagen AG, the correct stock symbol for Lamborghini is: VWAGY.
This stock symbol is how US investors can most easily access Volkswagen shares, as the company’s primary shares trade on its home German stock market. While accessing the VWAGY share class is a reasonable option for US investors, they should be aware that these shares trade over-the-counter and the VWAGY share class is an unsponsored ADR. For more information on the risks of OTC shares and unsponsored ADRs, read this article.
More importantly, investors seeking exposure to Lamborghini through VWAGY should understand that the Italian brand is an extremely small slice of Volkwagen’s business. Beyond Volkswagen’s own large brand of cars, the company also owns and produces Audi, Porsche and Bugatti. Volkswagen AG’s total revenues in 2020 were about $272 billion, compared to the Lamborghini division’s revenues of just under $2 billion.
This ultimately means that investors will need to be comfortable with the full portfolio of Volkswagen’s business and view the Lamborghini brand as a nice bonus, but not something that will move the needle much in terms of the overall performance of Volkswagen’s stock.
Lamborghini Stock IPO Prospects
For those interested solely in investing in the Lamborghini brand, it may make sense to wait. There has been speculation that Volkswagen could slim down its large portfolio of brands and perhaps spin off the Lamborghini brand in the future.
In 2021, Volkswagen AG turned down a bid from an investment consortium consisting of Swiss and UK investors that also have a stake in Piech Automobile. The bid was reportedly worth $9.2 billion, showing that the Lamborghini brand is very much valued by outside investors. Volkswagen AG ultimately turned down the bid stating that “Lamborghini is not for sale.”
While Volkswagen appears to be keen on keeping Lamborghini for the time being, there are two intriguing possibilities for those hoping that a Lamborghini stock IPO could occur in the medium term future.
- Volkswagen could decide to spin off Lamborghini as a separate company, perhaps retaining a majority or minority stake in the company. In that case, Lamborghini would be its own company with its own stock symbol and represent a much better pure play for investors solely interested in the brand.
- Volkswagen could eventually accept a bid from a private equity or investment group that would take the Lamborghini brand private. While this situation would require more patience for hopeful stock investors, typically private equity investors will eventually list promising investments on the stock market as a means of realizing profits on its investment. This process can take five years or more to play out, so it’s not ideal for investors eager to invest in Lamborghini today.
We will keep this article updated if anything changes on the prospects of a Lamborghini stock IPO.