Lamborghini is Set to Jump Into the SUV Market
After a hiatus that lasted almost two-and-half decades, a SUV is “expected” to return to the Lamborghini lineup for the 2017 model year. CEO Stephan Winkelman announced that the “Urus” may in fact enter the market after first being introduced as a concept vehicle at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show. Winkelman made the announcement at this year’s Detroit Auto Show.
Over 200 mph in an SUV?
The Urus is expected to be equipped with a 584-horsepower turbocharged 5.2 liter V-10 power plant supplemented by an electric motor. One is tempted to ask exactly what the electric motor will do to significantly add to a 584-horsepower beast of an engine. The top speed of the concept vehicle introduced in Beijing was reported to be 205 mph. The last Lamborghini SUV, often called the “Rambo Lambo,” was the LM002 that was produced until 1993.
This move may be seen as part of an overall trend for high-end automakers with Porsche’s Macan SUV going on sale this year and a Bentley SUV set to be released in 2016. Porsche certainly established a foothold in the luxury SUV market with its Cayenne, introduced a full decade ago in 2004.
Is a Lamborghini SUV Good for the brand?
The question that some may ask at this juncture is: Does an SUV help or hurt the Lamborghini brand? The leap from those rather upright tank-like Bentley automobiles to the concept of a Bentley SUV is not so far-fetched, perhaps. However, the road-hugging, race-car profile that one associates with the Italian supercar manufacturer is not particularly well served by an upright SUV, no matter how sleek, sculpted and aerodynamic the design may be. However, the fact that the company initially chose to debut its SUV concept in Asia is perhaps telling. Traditional Lamborghini branding in the U.S. and Europe is not nearly so well-developed in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Perhaps, the Urus will be more well-received in the newly emerging markets where the uber-wealthy may embrace a Lamborghini SUV with less hesitation. As for in the U.S., is the proverbial soccer mom really ready to show up at the field in something as ostentatious as a Lamborghini SUV? Most will probably demonstrate a greater sense of decorum than that. Of course, on any continent, ultra-luxury automakers count their annual sales in the thousands, not the millions, so even modest global sales of the Urus will eventually be deemed a success in all likelihood.