Speaking to CarAdvice at the Lamborghini stand at last week’s Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winklemann said: “we currently have a two model strategy and we need to stablise the company. Every luxury manufacturer has at least three models.”
Mr Winklemann is adamant that without a third model the Italian manufacturer would not survive in the long term.
“In the last few years we did an average of 2,000 cars a year more or less, it’s clear that we need to do something that is more than this otherwise it’s not worth it” he said.
The Lamborghini SUV, which is expected to be officially unveiled in concept form at this year’s Beijing Motor Show, will still be at least four years away from production, according to Mr Winklemann.
“It would take us years to make the third one, we are a very small company we have less than 900 people. If we decided today to build the SUV, it would still be more than four years (away from going on sale). We need to find the space for ourselves to get engineers working and we need also in terms of life cycle for other two models to get it started.”
He was reluctant to confirm a potential for a 2+2 Lamborghini or another model apart from the SUV to join the supercar lineup. “Once we do the third one, I think if we get there and we have the third one, even if we would think about something else, it would not be something that would be (done) this decade.”
Given the recent unveiling of a Bentley SUV concept at Geneva Motor Show, Mr Winklemann was adamant that his company would produce something very different. “Lamborghini has something that the others are not even thinking about. The car I have in mind if you’re talking SUVs will be very different (to Bentley).”
As to why an SUV model would be a better fit for Lamborghini instead of other potential (and more traditional) models, Mr Winklemann said “We want to be consistent, we are not a micky mouse company, we want to be (a company that is) reliable, has its own money, earning the money. Therefore we are analysing different segments which are big enough and geographically distributed in a balanced way which are able to create luxury business, which are fitting with the brand and last but not least are enabling us to have synergies in group platform (Lamborghini is part of the Volkswagen group which also includes Audi, Bentley and Bugatti). Without this we would not even think about it.”
The as yet unconfirmed Lamborghini SUV will be targeted to buyers in the USA, UK, Germany, Russia and most importantly, China. Mr Winkelmann said that markets such as Australia would still be a good fit for the model.
“Australia is a very complex one (market), there are all these brands, they are far away and you have less than 1 million vehicle sales (excluding LCVs). We have a huge fan community and I know that sometimes we had problems with our partners and problems with on going governments that are changing their minds on taxation. But (at the) end of the day we are stable in Australia since few years ago and even in Australia this (SUV) would be a good car” Mr Winkelmann said.
A Lamborghini SUV will be a huge change for the Italian supercar manufacturer, which has seen its Gallardo, Murcielago, and its replacement, the Avetandor models focus the brand’s attention directly on traditional supercars.
Mr Winkelmann believes that Lamborghini will always be a dream car manufacturer, a brand that will continue to surprise. “You have to continue to be somebody who is able to surprise the crowd. It will always be a brand for a few blessed or lucky, but it has to be more than just a luxury brand”.
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(Please note: The computer generated SUV photos are the Conquisto Lamborghini SUV Concept by Belgian designer David Cardoso and used for illustration purposes only - the scanned SUV photos are artist illustrations by Italian car magazine Quattroroute - neither are a true representation of the yet unseen Lamborghini SUV concept).