Supercar manufacturer Lamborghini's broadening model line-up and unique take on electric vehicles (EV) coupled to HR Owen's drive to deliver a standout customer experience presents a unique set of challenges for a car sales executive.
AM put eight quick-fire questions to HR Owen Lamborghini London's Allan Hines to find out what its like to have a job selling exotic Italian cars.
What are the main responsibilities of your role?
I look after all aspects of the ‘sales journey’ with the customer, from meet and greet through to handover and beyond. A large part of what we do is the events and lifestyle side of the business, the purchase of a Lamborghini is only the start of the ownership experience. We host factory visits, driving events, private dinners, product launches and parties for our customers, all of which really help to strengthen the relationship with the brand and with us as their preferred dealer. Clearly, much of this has shifted in recent months to more digital interaction, but the main difference between Lamborghini and a volume manufacturer is that we’re able to afford our clients much more of our time. Where we might often fly them to the Italian factory in Sant’Agata to help them choose the perfect colour scheme for their vehicle, now we’re using a lot of the digital tools at our disposal.
What are the most significant challenges ahead?
This market is competitive and challenging, even without a global pandemic. All supercar manufacturers offer excellent products nowadays, and a much wider range of models in their line-ups, which are all much more accessible than at any other time in the past due to more flexible funding options etc. One of our (and other brands’) biggest challenges is in the area of electrification of models. A large part of the attraction towards cars like ours is the emotional connection the driver has and a lot of that comes from the incredible sound our V10s and V12s create. I think owners are concerned they will lose this connection in the future. It’s our job to show them that they won’t.
How might these challenges be overcome?
We know the need to adapt to the changing environment is inevitable and so do Lamborghini, who have taken the first steps into hybridisation – firstly showcasing the Asterion concept car at the Paris Motor Show back in 2014, and then more recently with the delivery of the first Sián FKP37s into the market (which utilises a Supercapacitor mated to the naturally aspirated V12 engine). Albeit the Sián is at the very top of the product range it nevertheless demonstrates that electrification is something we take seriously and are committed to developing for forthcoming models. We do not yet know specifics of how the hybrid/electric programme will be rolled out over the coming years, but we hope that even better vehicle dynamics and transcendent design will help to retain our loyal customer base, while also attracting and nurturing new customers.
What attracted you to this area of expertise and how did you get to your current role?
I think everyone in our industry who is passionate about what they do will have at one stage or another, dreamed about working with supercars. Initially, I sent CVs to at least 20 showrooms, but the response was always the same – ‘you need to have experience’, until I saw an advert for an open evening at Morden Volkswagen. I went along with some fresh CVs, in my smartest suit, and was surprised to see others wearing trainers! I must’ve made a good impression because I was offered an initial interview on the night and later offered a sales role. Seven years later my BM at Mercedes-Benz showed me a position at Lamborghini Sevenoaks that had become available, which I was fortunate enough to secure. With a foot in the door, I then moved over to my dream job with Lamborghini London, and here I am seven years later, still working for one of the world’s most successful Lamborghini dealerships.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career, and how have you made use of it?
Be sincere. And, it’s a cliché, but never judge a book by its cover. Never have I found this to be more poignant than while working for Lamborghini. Often, it’s not the sharp looking gent with the £5,000 pinstripe suit and the Hublot Big Bang on his wrist that ends up being a serious buyer, but the unassuming chap that comes in wearing shorts and flip flops.
What drives you?
Working hard for my family, my passion for the brand I work for and the satisfaction of having worked hard to accomplish something. It’s not the same if it’s been handed to you on a plate.
What’s your favourite app?
Is it cheating to say WhatsApp? I’m the biggest technophobe you’ll meet. However, WhatsApp is so useful for keeping in touch and doing business.
How do you relax?
The world is relentless in its demands from you, so I like to sit and watch something gripping on TV in the evening with my wife and a nice glass of wine and just switch my brain off for a bit.