VW's CEO isn't even denying it.
Rumors of Volkswagen Group's potential sale of Lamborghini date back to last year. Then, early last month, a possible Lamborghini spin-off was being discussed. And now VW Group CEO Herbert Diess has officially commented on the matter. Bloomberg reports the German automotive giant is preparing all of its Italian divisions - Lamborghini, Ducati, and ItalDesign - for possible initial public offerings. No final decision has been made, but VW is laying the groundwork in case it decides to proceed.
"We are, let's say, bringing it into a legal structure where we could act," Diess said. "It's probably a bit of a slower process," he said, but "it's on our agenda." Fiat Chrysler Automobiles very successfully spun off Ferrari back in 2016 and VW, among others, have been watching very carefully.
Aston Martin, for example, tried to replicate that success when it issued its own IPO in 2018 but has ultimately failed to do so; its stock was down a troubling 75 percent this past August. VW actually began to quietly discuss a Lamborghini sale or spin-off, along with some of its other niche brands, in 2016 following the Dieselgate scandal the year prior.
The world's largest automaker realized it might need to become a smaller automaker by streamlining its overall structure. Bugatti, another ultra-niche VW brand, could change hands with Croatia's Rimac Automobili possibly taking a controlling stake, though VW likely won't completely divest itself. But unlike Aston Martin, Lamborghini is in a prime position for a spin-off.
The Lamborghini Urus SUV was the brand's best-seller last year and will be again this year. Its other two models, the Huracan Evo and aging Aventador S, continue to sell very well within the supercar segment. Like Bugatti, it's doubtful VW would want a complete divorce from Lamborghini because it remains a profitable and powerful brand.
If VW manages to successfully undergo numerous structural changes by focusing on core brands like the namesake Volkswagen, and luxury players such as Audi and Porsche, some analysts predict VW could potentially increase its market value to around $237 billion, thus putting it closer to Tesla's $400 billion valuation. A final decision regarding Lamborghini's future, and its Italian compatriots, could happen by the end of the year.