Lamborghini’s $1.6 mln Reventon defies recession image

Lamborghini SpA, Ferrari SpA and Bentley Motors Ltd. are shrugging off the economic recession by flaunting some of the most expensive high-performance vehicles they’ve ever produced.

Undeterred by a 40 percent slump in the luxury-car market in the past 12 months, Lamborghini is using the Frankfurt Motor Show to unveil the 1.1 million-euro ($1.6 million) Reventon Roadster supercar, the costliest model it has ever made.

“We genuinely trust that this market will come back and we want to be ready when it happens,” Chief Executive Officer Stephan Winkelmann said in an interview at the trade fair, where the Reventon Roadster is the most expensive model on display. The Italian unit, part of Volkswagen AG, has collected orders for about 12 of the 15 cars it plans to produce. Buyers include U.S.-based celebrities and the Swiss owner of a butcher chain.

Ferrari, Bentley and Bugatti are among companies following Lamborghini’s lead at Frankfurt show, which runs through Sept. 27. While mainstream automakers tout small, cheaper city cars and “green” alternatives, the supercar market “is essentially recession-proof” because demand exceeds supply even in a slowdown, said Andrew Close, an analyst at IHS Global Insight in London.

“At worst they’ve shortened their waiting lists, but their volumes are so low and there are still plenty of emerging-market millionaires waiting to buy the latest models,” he said.

Ferrari 458

Ferrari unveiled the 458 Italia model, which was developed in consultation with record Formula 1 world champion driver Michael Schumacher and carries a 197,000-euro price tag.