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Lamborghini Murcielago heads for Detroit debut

TURIN, Italy — The new Lamborghini Murcielago will make its North American debut at the Detroit auto show on Jan 6.

But the Italian superluxury sports car maker said it had not decided whether to participate in the Los Angeles auto show, which begins Jan. 5.

Whatever the decision, “it will not be influenced by the recent terrorist attacks in the U.S.A.; it will be purely a strategic one,” said a Lamborghini spokesman.

To date, the attacks’ only effect on Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. has been the disruption of its transportation network to North America. That resulted in delays in the shipping of the final lot of Diablos destined for the United States and Canada.

Lamborghini has set a price of $273,000 for the Murcielago in the United States. Lamborghini began production of the Murcielago this month. The first unit will be delivered to a Japanese collector who also owns the first Lamborghini, the 350 GTV, built in 1963.

Lamborghini plans to make 70 to 80 Murcielagos this year and 400 units in 2002, of which about 200 will be for North America.

Lamborghini used the Tokyo auto show to announce the creation of Lamborghini Japan, an offshoot of Audi AG’s Japanese subsidiary. Lamborghini has been a fully owned subsidiary of Audi since July 1998.

At the beginning of this year, Lamborghini terminated all of its private importers, except the one in Japan. Dealers now deal directly with Lamborghini using an Internet build-to-order system.

Lamborghini’s private Japanese importer is expected to continue to sell and service Lamborghini cars through its dealer network.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com

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