Automobili Lamborghini SpA will introduce a high-performance sport utility vehicle in 2018 in the Italian supercar brand’s bid to more than double deliveries.
The new model will be built at Lamborghini’s headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese and create 500 jobs, the unit of German carmaker Volkswagen AG said Wednesday. Vehicle development and expanding the plant will cost more than 700 million euros ($762 million), Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said in Rome at a signing ceremony for the project that included accords on tax breaks and other state benefits totaling 80 million euros.
“Today is a beautiful day, a day of joy,” Renzi said. The project “is an important sign for our entire country: that there can be investments of quality, that it is possible to relaunch a car sector which has suffered much in recent years.”
Lamborghini, known for low-slung, two-seat models like the $237,000 Huracan, is seeking to broaden its appeal to families and buyers in emerging markets such as China, where road conditions can be poor and sports cars aren’t popular. Italy’s government under Renzi, in a budget passed in October, offered tax breaks to companies that expand hiring, part of an effort to bring the country out of recession.
The new SUV will be priced at about 180,000 euros, said Luca de Meo, the marketing and sales chief at VW’s Audi division, which oversees Lamborghini.
The SUV will be Lamborghini’s first since production of the boxy LM002, the so-called Rambo Lambo, ended in 1993. The new model, based on the high-riding Urus prototype displayed at the Beijing Auto Show in 2012, is part of a wave of elite crossovers coming from Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Maserati.
The increasing wealth held by the world’s rich led to record sales last year for most major luxury-car producers. Lamborghini projected annual demand for the SUV at about 3,000 vehicles, with the top markets including the U.S., China, the Middle East and Russia. The Italian company’s deliveries in 2014 rose 19 percent to a record 2,530 cars.