Much has been made over the new Lamborghini SUV Urus concept revealed the other day at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show, and it certainly is a striking concept that has fairly successfully merged two seemingly diametrically opposed design aesthetics, that of Lamborghini's low-slung, aggressive supercars and the beloved-by-footballers-and-rap-stars luxury SUV. And the merger makes good business as well as style sense.
The supercar-turned-SUV has been around for a while, most notably in the form of the Porsche Cayenne, which is stylistically a poor substitute for the illustrious Porsche 911, like a box of Easy Mac for your mom's macaroni and cheese. The Lamborghini Urus, when it finally sees the light of day as a production car (2015, according to Slash Gear), should be a so-called super-SUV that actually manages to preserve its supercar heritage.
Of course the Cayenne is a whole lot cheaper at $107,100 for the performance Turbo than the projected price of around $200,000 for the Lamborghini Urus. Despite the price tag, though, Lamborghini Automobili of Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy believes the Urus will make a big impact for their bottom line, and the company projects an annual production volume of around 3,000 vehicles.
The Urus is a very concrete idea for the future of Lamborghini -- as a third model line and as the perfect complement to our super sports cars ... SUVs make up one of the most successful market segments worldwide. The Urus is the most extreme interpretation of the SUV idea; it is the Lamborghini of the SUVs, Stephan Winkelmann, Automobili Lamborghini President and CEO said.
An additional 3,000 vehicles a year would represent an annual sales increase of almost 200 percent for the Italian automaker which sold just 1,602 cars in 2011. Lamborghini saw the writing on the wall for growth in supercar sales back in January as the European debt crisis continued and growth in the Chinese economy slowed.
Lamborghini has prepared to the utmost level in order to respond flexibly to market uncertainties, but we work to make our business bullet proof to volatility and future crisis and protect ourselves from potential downturns in various markets, Winkelmann said in Lamborghini's 2011 sales report.
The debut of the Urus concept shows that Lamborghini believes part of becoming bullet proof lies in the luxury SUV market. Lamborghini, which is owned by Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen AG, has been under the gun to perform and is reportedly happy with how the Urus concept has been received by its parent company.
The successful design of the Urus means that we were really able to define a completely new concept for the Lamborghini brand. We were able to translate what is recognizable about Lamborghini sports cars, Lamborghini research and development director Maurizio Reggiani said on the sidelines of the Beijing Motor Show, according to Automobile Magazine.
The relationship with VW, and Lamborghini's sister brand Audi, will be key in bringing the Urus to market and making the super-SUV a successful business proposition. The Urus will probably use an existing platform, mostly likely from the Audi Q7 SUV, according to Automobile Magazine, a move which will likely streamline development of the production vehicle.
Lamborghini is leveraging its relationship with VW and Audi with its supercar heritage to bring the Urus to market. The proven, mass-produced Q7 platform would provide Lamborghini with an established starting point, upon which the company hopes the Urus will beat all comparable competitors when it comes to CO2 emissions. One important prerequisite for this is low weight. The Urus will be considerably lighter than its competitors, sticking firmly to the Lamborghini lightweight design philosophy.
The combination of Lamborghini's lightweight supercar technology with Audi's Q7 base could ultimately prove to be a profitable and innovative long-term move for Lamborghini and VW.