If James Page wrote a book on how an English language instructor morphs into the Asia-Pacific marketing chief for Italian automaker Lamborghini, then it'd probably be a best-seller.
Page's quantum leap in his professional career wasn't planned. Fresh out of college, the New Hampshire native just wanted to see the world beyond the borders of the US, and the obvious way out for Page was to teach English in China.
"I had always wanted to travel the world and see what was outside the United States," he said of his decision to go to China in 1993 to teach English in the western region of Yunnan _ the place where chairman Mao Zedong finished the Long March.
"Great friendships were formed there and I learned to speak Chinese, which progressed to [taking on] small marketing projects with the British American Tobacco (BAT) company," recalled Page, who was later recruited by BAT.
As a result of his new position, Page moved to Hong Kong in 1996 where he was responsible for BAT sponsorship related to the Beijing Olympics.
This drew the attention of the marketing division of Volkswagen AG and also that of a local woman who would later become Mrs Page and the mother of his seven-year-old daughter.
Page now oversees Lamborghini marketing for Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A in 14 Asia-Pacific markets _ China, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Indonesia.
"I work with dealerships and country managers in marketing activities that focus on dynamic track and media events," explained Page regarding Lamborghini track days, which require professional instructors and Lamborghini cars at dedicated racecourses. These events play a significant part in introducing the customer to the brand's lifestyle and to the product.
"Lamborghini's core values focus on being Italian-made, extreme and uncompromising. There is the issue of Audi AG [a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG] being our parent company, but we are Italian and most important of all, we are Lamborghini," said Page, whose story is a good analogy of how a simple event can lead to greater things in life. Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. itself is a treasure trove of stories about simple events that grew into something more significant than its original intentions.
For example, it was the simple case of a broken clutch in a Ferrari that gave rise to the birth of the Lamborghini supercar. When company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini was unceremoniously rebutted by Enzo Ferrari merely for requesting a "better replacement" for a clutch, Ferruccio, a successful tractor maker and businessman in his own right, felt the only way to respond was to build his own namesake sportscar.
Ferruccio himself built tractors from leftover military hardware from World War II and became one of the largest agricultural equipment manufacturers in Italy by the 1950s.
Last year the Lamborghini sportscar had global sales of 1,602 units with the Thai market selling 29 units for a 30% growth, and a 30% growth forecast for 2012. China is the biggest market for Lamborghini, selling 342 units last year, followed by the United States market selling 340 units.
"Our production never exceeds demand, so there's no excess stock. We are a small company, which is why we have to anticipate certain market growths and prepare the appropriate production volume," Page said.
- What is your favourite car?
- Favourite watch?
- Favourite athlete?
New York Knicks NBA player Jeremy Lin.
- Favourite destination in Thailand?
- Favourite person?
- Favourite restaurant?
Ding Tai Fong in Beijing (Taiwanese dumpling chain).
- Favourite electronic gadget?
- Favourite US president?
- Greatest achievement?
- If in charge of automotive policy, what would you do?
Lower vehicle tax rates.
About the author
- Writer: Alfred Tha Hla
Position: Motoring Reporter