Lamborghini SpA unveiled its first sport-utility vehicle in almost two decades as the Italian supercar maker looks to expand its lineup to tap rising demand from emerging markets.
The Volkswagen AG (VOW) unit unveiled the concept SUV, called the Urus, in Beijing yesterday before this week’s auto show in the Chinese capital. Lamborghini sees potential sales of 3,000 vehicles a year for the SUV, Chief Executive Officer Stephan Winkelmann said at a company presentation. A final decision to produce the vehicle hasn’t been made, he said.
“If you’re going to enter a new segment, you have to remain true to your core values,” said Winkelmann. “Our core values are uncompromising, extreme and Italian.”
Lamborghini joins Bentley Motors Ltd. and Fiat SpA (F)’s Maserati in super-sizing their supercars a decade after Porsche broke with tradition and rolled out the Cayenne in 2002. The German maker of the 911 sports car now counts on the SUV for half its deliveries.
Demand for luxury SUVs, including the Cayenne and Mercedes- Benz GL-Class, is forecast to climb 49 percent in China to 265,200 units in 2015, almost three times the 18 percent growth in global sales for those vehicles, according to IHS Automotive.
Bentley, another Volkswagen luxury brand, displayed its own SUV concept at the International Motor Show in Geneva last month. China became the company’s biggest market in the first quarter after sales surpassed deliveries in the U.S. for the first time, according to Chong Got, executive director of Bentley China.
Maserati will start production in 2013 of a Jeep-based SUV, currently called the Kubang, while Ferrari SpA last year added the 260,000-euro ($344,000) FF family car, its largest model.
Porsche, which expects to double global sales to 200,000 units by 2018, counts China as its largest market for the Panamera four-door sports car and the Cayenne. The carmaker expects the number of Chinese dealerships to reach 60 by the end of the year from 41 now, Bernhard Maier, the Stuttgart, Germany- based carmaker’s sales chief, told reporters in Beijing yesterday.
Lamborghini discontinued the boxy LM002 SUV -- dubbed the Rambo Lambo -- in 1993 after a failed effort to make military vehicles.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at email@example.com