On Monday, Lamborghini unveiled its Urus SUV at its headquarters in Sant’Agata, Italy, and it’s already generating a huge amount of buzz.
While an SUV is not the type of vehicle one would consider synonymous with Lamborghini, it makes sense that the supercar maker would want to get in on the growing luxury sports vehicle market, which already includes the Mercedes G-Class, the Bentley Bentayga and the Porsche Cayenne (and is soon to be joined by Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and Ferrari).
“I think if you look at those brands’ image, I think you would look at an SUV—especially a Lamborghini—as almost a sell-out move, ” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president at LMC Automotive in Detroit, told USA Today. “I don’t think that is the case anymore. There is some risk to the purist, who can only see one view of the brand. But as long as they don’t move too far out of who they are, a lineup can include an SUV in these brands. I wouldn’t have said that five years ago.”
From a business point of view, the decision to create an SUV for the luxury brand is a no-brainer, since the utility vehicle the fastest-growing overall segment of the car market, with sales tripling over the last decade and expecting to continue surging. With the Urus, Lamborghini has the opportunity to get in on astronomical profits, as well as attract brand-new customers, even if its rough-and-tumble image ends up alienating some purists.
“[The Urus] will make Lamborghini relevant to customers who never considered us before,” CEO Stefano Domenicali told Automotive News Europe. “We are also currently investigating a 2+2-seat GT that would add space and comfort to the super sport performance we offer in that sector. At the same time, we are shifting toward electrification, first with plug-in hybrids and, when battery technology will permit Lamborghini-style performance, also pure EVs.”
Since the average Lamborghini customer owns four to six cars, Domenicali isn’t worried that the one will replace the other, as the URUS is meant to be part of a collection that includes cars for the family, for the weekend, and for a solo night out on the town. But in addition to adding to the collection of their current customers, the new SUV widens their net to more than just urban yuppies looking to speed through the sleek streets of Manhattan.
“They are aiming to have a vehicle which epitomizes what the brand’s core characteristics are: sport, high performance and accessible to customers who had to give up a sports car because they are having children, or just couldn’t get into a sports car any more or it wasn’t practical,” IHS automotive analyst Ian Fletcher said.
And when it comes to looks, well… it’s a Lamborghini.
“My philosophy is always ‘expect the unexpected,’ and first of all the Urus is the Lamborghini because it looks also unexpectedly beautiful,” Mitja Borkert, Head of Design at Centro Stile Lamborghini, said of creating the vehicle’s image. “The car is outstanding in terms of architectural proportion. We took a lot of inspiration from two models: one is the Countach and the other is the LM002.”
Lamborghini’s new 641bhp SUV will hit the market in Spring 2018, with prices rumored to be starting at less than $200,000.
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