Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said that its SUV may be launched in 2017, according to a report last Thursday by German business daily Handelsblatt. But before that, Lamborghini wants to gauge public reaction to the concept on April 23 at the Beijing auto show. Handelsblatt said that to help make the brand profitable, this SUV would be a third model line together with the Gallardo and Aventador super cars.
Winkelmann said that high-margin luxury SUV segment considers China to be a key market. He added that in the mid- and long term, there has to be a third line. Handelsblatt said that this Lamborghini SUV would be the first model from the brand to be for daily use and not only for the race track or weekends.
He added that this is a chance to attract new customers. Since 2009, Lamborghini has been incurring losses and is currently being pressured by parent Volkswagen Group to be profitable.
Winkelmann said during the interview that parent VW will have to decide this year if it will permit the brand to make an SUV. He said that typically, a 48-month period passes before an all-new vehicle arrives at dealers. This means that the new Lamborghini won’t be available to be purchased before 2017.
Sources said that they’re sure that this SUV model will be approved for production. Just like Bentley (another VW brand), Lamborghini will be expanding into the super-luxury SUV market. These two brands can choose to use a new version of the VW Group platform that presently underpins the Audi Q7, VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne.
Bentley hopes to launch this SUV within three years. It will be based on the EXP 9 F SUV concept that debuted last March at the Geneva auto show. In 2013, the Maserati brand of Fiat will start selling a production version of the Kubang concept seen at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. [source: Autonews]