Confidence abounds at Calgary Lamborghini despite economic storm clouds

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CALGARY, ALTA. – Automotive retail, like so much in life, is all about timing.

As layoffs start at Alberta-based oil companies and financial analysts float ever-gloomier forecasts for the provincial economy, executives at Weissach Performance Ltd. are about to swing open the doors to Canada’s newest Lamborghini dealership.

By all outward appearances though, management does not seem to be sweating. The reason, of course, is that the adage about timing in automotive retail only holds true if your customers are subject to the whims of the global economy.

Customers who spend hundreds of thousands or, in the case of Koenigsegg, millions of dollars on a car that will likely see less time on the road than a teenager with a newly minted learner’s permit rarely stress about making ends meet.

Proof positive of the strength of Calgary’s luxury market is the brand new Lamborghini store set to open the first of May.

Owned by B.C.-based Weissach Performance, the two-storey dealership tops 17,500 square feet. Lamborghini will call the first floor home; upstairs will host Bugatti, Lotus, used Porsches and the Swedish brand Koenigsegg.

Michael Menchelli, general sales manager, will be running the day-to-day operations. With a month to go before the store opens, he calls the building a “stunning location befitting of the product it will house.”

The store boasts three service bays, one detail bay and a balance and alignment bay.

Construction started in late spring 2014. Costs for the project were not revealed.

Weissach, which made its name servicing and selling used Porches in Vancouver more than three decades ago, notes it had been selling Lamborghinis in the Alberta market from its Vancouver location for years. Menchelli says Alberta represented a “healthy chunk” of the business and that it made sense to open a new point in the city.

“The Albertans are car guys. They are very enthusiastic about their cars, especially considering how short their driving season is. We found that length almost plays in our favour as they get so excited when the weather changes,” he says.

Annual volume targets for the Lamborghini business will be somewhere near 30 units. That tally will align well with the record sales the brand has notched around the world in recent years. Last year saw the Italian super luxury line hit 2,530 units over the 2,121 sold in 2013.

Those same volume goals do not translate to the other exclusive supercar brand at the store, Koenigsegg. Started by Christian von Koenigsegg in 1994 and carrying MSRPs starting into the millions, the made-to-order racing machines are the definition of automotive niche. Still, Menchelli says being the national sales point for all of Canada should result in two to three sales a year.

While the timing is admittedly poor considering the recent dip in the loonie and a steady decline in oil prices, he reports that most of their customers are in privileged positions and the state of the economy doesn’t necessarily have as much of an impact on them as it does on others.

“Obviously it will make some a little more nervous and think harder and longer about spending that kind of money, but our projections in terms of volumes have stayed the same. In terms of the existing order bank of cars, we haven’t seen people cancelling orders or trying to defer, and that’s very positive,” he says.

“We also have a lot of current customers in market and this isn’t their first time going through a dip. On the face of it, they seem very calm.”

A grand opening party has been tentatively scheduled for mid June as they work with the busy schedule of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. chief Stephan Winkelmann.