The Italian government has targeted supercar owners as part of a crackdown on tax evaders, and that has put a crimp in Lamborghini sales there, says CEO Stephan Winkelmann.
"Some of our customers were stopped by the Italian finance police while driving, which they said made them feel hunted," Winkelmann told Automotive News Europe.
The cops report their supercar sightings to police headquarters, which notifies Italy's version of the IRS. The tax authorities then verify that the owners' tax filings show they can afford such a high-priced ride.
"During a time of financial crisis like we have had in Italy, that type of action sends the wrong message, especially against a high-end luxury icon that brings the Made in Italy label around the world," he said.
Winkelmann said things could change under the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who took office Feb. 22. "We have been told that the new government wants to provide some tax relief," Winkelmann said.
So far Renzi has not exactly been a patron of luxury cars, Italian or otherwise. Renzi's government last week announced it is selling off 170 upscale models used to ferry state officials to work and other places under former head of state Silvio Berlusconi.
Among the cars on the block are nine Maserati Quattroporte sedans owned by Italy's defense ministry that each cost over $160,000. And that's without the armor plating.