The Lamborghini: the latest endangered species?

August 4, 2008

A Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 is displayed during the first media day of the 78th Geneva Car Show at the Palexpo in Geneva March 4, 2008. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (SWITZERLAND)Are European sports cars the latest ‘endangered species’ because of climate change?

Read my colleague Pete Harrison’s fascinating feature about how automakers fear tougher restrictions intended to slow global warming could mean the end of the road for supercars such as the Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari F430 or Porsche 911.

They argue that the motoring icons need protection from European Union rules that will limit carbon dioxide emissions from new models from 2012.

Would you buy a car that looked like a Maserati but roared as loud as the family hatchback? Would sitting in a Lamborghini make your heart race if it had the tyre-shredding acceleration of a Fiat Uno? Would a Porsche engine purr if it had to match the emissions of a Mini?

“As a high luxury brand we are representing Europe to the world,” Lamborghini Chief Executive Stephan Winkelman said. “We are a species to protect”.

Environmentalists say that the sports cars should cut their emissions and that their makers find new ways to create thrills — new lighter materials, better engines, even a zip of electric power?

Who’s right?

Please tell us what you think.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

I think that elite auto car makers should continue breaking ground on ways of providing the same excitment with more green in the design.
for example as posted above, new designs with cutting edge plastic and metal composites, hydrogen turbocharged engines, silent engines with engine revving sound simulation in the cockpit

Posted by Ricardo Font | Report as abusive

These high end sports cars are a small portion of what is on the road, leave them alone. How many can afford them? Not enough to hurt the planet get a grip….A well tuned machine does not pollute like they want us to believe.

Posted by DONT | Report as abusive

How can you make exceptions for one car make and model and not be expected to make exceptions for all? Even the super wealthy should be expected to make sacrifices for the future of the planet just like everyone else. Maybe the case is that they don’t really care about global warming because they have an unlimited air conditioning budget, but it’s important to the rest of us.

Posted by ATG | Report as abusive

The Tesla Roadster is faster than all of those cars above at half the price or less($100,000 U.S.). It is a Lotus Exige with an electric motor produced in California. Sugar based alcohol and natural gas emit 90% less CO2 than gasoline. Liquid hydrogen has no carbon emissions. Where and when recharging might be impractical, cars with fuel injected engines can be modified to run on any of the above fuels. Scrapping all of our current vehicles might not be necessary. We need choices.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Since all of these cars are already prohibitively expensive, why not just slap a huge non-compliance tax on the companies who continue to produce them and pass the cost along to the arrogant bastard who already pays a half million dollars for a car?
Incidentally, I do prefer greener leaner technologies, but it is not like we tell NASA to stop polluting the air with rocket boosters. Why tell Lamborghini not to build supercars? A small portion of the total population is wowed by both endeavors.

Posted by Eric | Report as abusive

Please read-Americans need to know!!!!!!!!

NHTSA Hearings 8/4/08

I just returned from the NHTSA hearings held on August 4, 2008 in Washington D.C., regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for NEW Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFÉ) for years 2011-2015.

IMPORTANT FACTS: You will not believe what you are reading.

1) The 414 pages DEIS analysis was based on an average gasoline price of USD $2.16/gallon for 2011-2020. A calculation approved by the NHTSA administrators/managers. Would you believe it???????????

2) The new CAFÉ rules were also established, negotiated and pre-approved by the NHTSA’s management and clearly with the influence of domestic automotive companies and their lobbyists. We have now established fuel standards for 2011-2020 that are presently and already met throughout the rest of the Western world today (see below).

As one guest speaker said today “are they on another planet?”

NHTSA “NEW Fuel Standards” (2011-2015) decision:

Automobiles are to achieve 31.2 mpg by 2011 and 35.7 mpg by 2015. Light trucks are to achieve 25 mpg by 2011, and 28.6 mpg by 2015.

The NTHSA is also setting a goal of 35 mpg on average for 2020.

America needs to know:

The European Union is currently establishing standards, with a goal of reaching 48.9 miles per gallon for new passenger vehicles as early as 2012. The current EU standard already requires more than 40 miles per gallon about 15% higher than the U.S. goal set for 12 years from now.

Japan currently has a standard of about 40 miles per gallon. Japan aims to further improve fuel efficiency by 17% by 2015, reaching 46.9 miles per gallon.

China has a current average of slightly under 35 miles per gallon. Chinese fuel standards are on target to reach the government’s goal of 35.8 miles per gallon by 2009. China will not only meet, but exceed, the goal just established by the United States for 2020 — more than a full decade earlier.

Australia is targeting 34.4 miles per gallon by 2010.

Canada is targeting 34.1 miles per gallon by 2010.

Under the current administration, purchasing an electric vehicle is becoming more of a necessity rather than an alternative.
BG Automotive Group, Ltd.

Posted by BeGreen | Report as abusive

It is technically possible for the sports car industry to evolve beyond high-polluting and inefficient vehicles without sacrificing performance.

See, for example, Tesla motors.

BTW I am not in any way involved in their work. I write software at a science lab.

Posted by Phil | Report as abusive

Funny thing about global warming, I recently talked to fishermen from Alaska that are suffering from a lack of Salmon because the waters are too cold for spawning, at the same time the glaciers are increasing in size in other areas we dont hear about.Natural cycle or global warming? A great debate amoung scientists and ridicule for the educated that argue it. I am no scientist but like to hear both sides. This is from the working class that live there but we dont hear about this in the news…wonder why?

Posted by DONT | Report as abusive

If they are truly supercars then their makers should be able to adapt to the new restrictions and if supercars are icons that represent Europe then they should start acting like it by going green and cutting emissions. The supercars of the future will all be electric- clean, quiet and fast. I believe that supercar companies who insist on clinging to the dirty oily past of the industrial era are doomed. What’s the matter Lamborghini afraid you will not be able to compete with the Tesla?

Posted by Karl | Report as abusive

Enviromentalists should be chasing corrupt governments like China and Russia as well as corrupt Corporations that pollute with impunity instead of expecting race/sports car enthusiasts to make up for their corruption.

Posted by Stephen Trochym | Report as abusive

the survival of the planet seems just a tad more important than the survival of performance sports-cars…but maybe that’s just me.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

The Tesla Roadtser is not faster than any of the aformentioned cars. My 13 year old Subaru is faster. The Tesla does accelerate quickly but only because of the bennefits of torque that you get from a electric motor. Keep exotics arround and allow them to become fuel efficent at their own pace. And who cares if they pollute more? Require owners to pay an extra tax or plant a few trees. The world won’t end if this so-called “man made” global warming trend continues. Everything will just have to learn to adapt, just like they have in the past.

Posted by Will | Report as abusive

I’m tired of putting up with jerk hot rodders on the roads. A 6 year old kid was hit on my street two weeks ago. If you jerks want to race do it on a track.

Posted by bob gomez | Report as abusive

People who argue this from a strictly scientific stand-point are missing the point the car-makers are trying to make. These cars, to some – many, in fact – are works of art. They represent technological achievements in efficiency and design while carrying the flag of the countries they are made in on the world stage.

At the same time, many of the technologies used to make these cars lighter and more efficient (smaller engines making more power) are too expensive to be used in commercial vehicles that have a large impact on carbon emissions. In a few years, however, many companies slowly figure out ways to put the technologies into mass-production cars, therefore POSITIVELY affecting the environment. Why do you think super-chargers and turbo-chargers were developed? To help a Toyota Prius go faster? No, to make SPORTS cars go faster. Now, many companies like VW and Volvo use forced induction (turbos or spuer-chargers) to squeeze more power out of smaller, lighter engines. Size and weight do directly affect consumption, while power does not necessarily affect it.

Why don’t we limit the size of mansions first? The ratio of electricity use between mansions and small apartments is higher than sports cars vs. small, economy cars. Besides, a person uses his home every day, needlessly turning on air-conditioning, leaving lights on, etc.

If you really want to help the environment, why don’t you slow down to the speed limit and generally drive more calmly. If a driver slows his/her car from 70 mph to 55, then he/she can save up to 15% on gas, and that’s a bigger improvement than any government is trying to do through legal limits. And sport cars aren’t on the road every day anyway – hell, even if they are, my 98 minivan gets worse average mileage in city than driving than practically any of those cars. Why don’t we try to get rid of old, inefficient cars before forcing companies into bankruptcy. Does anyone think if these laws are forced through without exceptions, the thousands of people who depend on these companies for their living will be able to find jobs? In the current economy? I doubt it.

Posted by Sia | Report as abusive