Just How “German” Is Lamborghini?

By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG by BusinessWeek

OR Bentley and Bugatti for that matter?

Catching up with the latest on “German” auto news as I’m prone to do over at the respectable German Car Blog, I continually find myself questioning the site’s self described focus of “delivering news and opinion about Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, VW and Porsche.”

Apparently, BMW and Mercedes-Benz aren’t German enough for inclusion which leads one to suspect the obvious – the blog really just covers the marques associated with the VW-Audi Group.

Fine, but back to the “German” point. Does foreign ownership of a nameplate dictate nationality?

Did anyone claim Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, or Volvo as American brands just for being members of Ford’s Premier Auto Group? Or might we have really thought Lamborghini as made-in-the-USA when Chrysler owned the raging bull?

I think not. So why insist that the British Bentley, the Franco-Italian Bugatti, or the Italian Lambo as Teutonic? As a concept, it seems oddly foreign.

[Linked: German Car Blog]

September 09, 2008

About the Author: Gunnar Heinrich is publisher of Automobiles De Luxe online and is executive producer of the Automobiles De Luxe Television series on PBS member station CPTV.

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  1. Obviously, German Car Blog really is a Blog about the Volkswagen Group…actually, now it’s the Porsche Holding…I just wonder what hapened to Seat and Skoda.

    Anyway, I guess it comes down to your definition of “nationality” (if there is such a thing in the auto industry).
    The new Bentleys are basically Volkswagens, while the Lambo line-up was designed by Audi.
    On the other hand, both marques are historically British/Italian. Which begs the question, can a car actually have a nationality? The individual parts come from suppliers all over the world, there are design teams on every continent and even assebly isn’t limited to individual countries anymore.

    Personally, I wouldn’t consider Benley and Lambo to be German, but it’s hard to say why. I guess it’s for historical reason. Maybe the rule should be that the nationality of a marque should be the location of its headquarters.

    But even then some problems occur. Staying with VW, what’s with Bugatti for example? It was founded by an Italian in a part of Germany that would become a part of France after WW1. To make things more complicated, Bugatti’s now owned by German Volkswagen and unlike Bentley or Lambo it was only a nameplate when Volkswagen acquired it. Volkswagen built a new company and its headquarters in Molsheim, France are pretty much only a proxy (recognize the German name of the town?) So what is it? German, French, Italian? I’d still go with French accordin to my headquarters rule, but you can see that it’s somewhat shaky.

    The BMW/Rolls Royce story is quite similar. BMW also just bought the nameplate and essentially built a new company around it.

  2. Tom, your observations are really quite apt. I think I’d follow your HQ rule of thumb, myself.

  3. old ppl

  4. Lamborghini is not German

  5. Lamborghini is an Italian automaker based in the small township of Sant’Agata Bolognese.The design,powerful eye catching style and performance makes it known worldwide.

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