November 20, 2007 / 6:58 PM / 10 years ago

Lamborghini to cut air, not noise, pollution

<p>Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Italian car manufacturer Automobili Lamborghini talks to journalists during an exclusive interview at the Reuters Auto Summit in Frankfurt November 20, 2007.Alex Grimm</p>

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Lamborghini, maker of some of the fastest and costliest cars on the road, is ready to cut back on air pollution, but there will be no compromise on the roar of its powerful engines.

At the Reuters Autos Summit on Tuesday, its chief executive vowed never to sacrifice the hallmarks of a super sports car.

Besides the design of the car, he said the sound of the engine, the top speed and the sprint from nought to 100 kilometers per hour were integral to Lamborghini's image.

"You have to see what the DNA of the brand is all about," Stephan Winkelmann said. "It is all about emotion."

Car makers are coming under pressure from European authorities to reduce the CO2 emissions from vehicles. They face a planned deadline to cut them to 130 grams per kilometer by 2010.

Although makers of humbler, cheaper cars face the most pressure, Lamborghini will probably be expected to make a contribution, given that its cars emit more than 400 g/km of CO2.

Winkelmann said the power/weight ratio was the one area where Lamborghini could improve, trying out lighter materials for the body and chassis of its cars, for example.

"We have to look at what is suitable and what is best for a super car brand like Lamborghini," he said.

Apart from the car's startling noise as it races down the street, he did not think it posed much of a danger to the environment because owners tended only to drive on the weekends, he said.

"If we look at the real impact, it is close to zero," he said.

(For summit blog: summitnotebook.reuters.com/)

Reporting by Gilles Castonguay, editing by Will Waterman

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