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Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A, commonly referred to as Lamborghini, is an Italianautomaker. The company was founded by manufacturing magnate Ferruccio Lamborghini in 1963, with the objective of producing a refinedgrand touring car to compete with established offerings from marques like Ferrari.
The company's first models were released in the mid-1960s, and were noted for their refinement, power, and comfort. Lamborghini gained wide acclaim in 1966 for the Miura sports coupé, which established mid-engine design as the standard layout for high-performance cars of the era. After a decade of rapid growth, hard times befell the company in the mid-1970s, as sales plunged in the wake of the 1973 world financial downturn and oil crisis. After going through bankruptcy and three changes in ownership, Lamborghini came under the corporate umbrella of the Chrysler Corporation in 1987.
The American company failed to return the automaker to profitability and sold it to Indonesian interests in 1994. Lamborghini's lack of success continued through the 1990s, until the company was sold in 1998 to Audi, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, a German automotive concern. Audi's ownership marked the beginning of a period of stability and increased productivity for Lamborghini, with sales increasing nearly tenfold over the course of the 2000s, peaking in record sales in 2007 and 2008. The world financial crisis in the late 2000s negatively affected luxury car makers worldwide, and saw Lamborghini's sales drop back to pre-2006 levels.
Assembly of Lamborghini cars continues to take place at the automaker's ancestral home in Sant'Agata Bolognese, where engine and automobile production lines run side-by-side at the company's single factory. Fewer than 3,000 cars roll off the production line each year. The company currently offers two variations of a single model, the V10-powered Gallardo coupé and roadster. The flagship V12-poweredMurciélago coupé and roadster were discontinued at the end of 2010, with a successor expected in 2011.
Automobili Lamborghini was founded by Ferruccio Lamborghini, the child of viticulturists from the comune (township) of Renazzo di Cento,Province of Ferrara, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. After serving as a mechanic in the Regia Aeronautica, during World War II, Lamborghini went into business building tractors out of leftover military hardware from the war effort. By the mid-1950s, Lamborghini's tractor company, Lamborghini Trattori S.p.A., had become one of the largest agricultural equipment manufacturers in the country. He was also the owner of a successful gas heater and air conditioning manufacturer.
Lamborghini's wealth allowed him to cultivate a childhood interest in cars, owning a number of luxury automobiles including Alfa Romeos,Lancias, Maseratis, and a Mercedes Benz. He purchased his first Ferrari, a 250GT, in 1958, and went on to own several more. Lamborghini was fond of the Ferraris, but considered them too noisy and rough to be proper road cars, likening them to repurposed track cars. Lamborghini decided to pursue an automobile manufacturing venture, with the goal of bringing to life his vision of a perfect grand tourer.