Volkswagen subsidiary Automobili Lamborghini is carving out a bigger niche in the exotic car market now that it's under the wing of VW's Audi brand. The automaker has seen sales in the first half of 2006 jump 45 percent, from 655 to 952 units, on strong sales of its new Gallardo Spyder, expansion of its dealer network, and a growing international market for exotic automobiles. Sales in the key U.S. market are up 68 percent so far this year.

CEO Stephan Winkelmann confidently predicted that 2006 will set a new sales record for the company, with both the Gallardo Spyder and the Murcielago LP640 models sporting 12 month backlogs.

The company has expanded into new markets in Asia and Eastern Europe, as it increased its worldwide dealer network 35 percent in the first six months of 2006. Winkelmann is shooting for 100 dealers by year-end.

[Source: Italiaspeed]