The COO of Lamborghini makes no bones about what an SUV will mean for the exotic Italian automaker.
“It’s going to change the landscape of the company,” Alessandro Farmeschi told Business Insider when we sat down at the Detroit auto show last month.
When the Lamborghini Urus goes on sale later this year, it will enable Lambo to join the high-performance luxury SUV party – a party that kicked off way back in 2002, when Porsche debuted the Cayenne SUV. In the last year, the festivities have decidedly heated up, as Jaguar, Maserati, and Bentley have all jumped in (even Rolls-Royce is preparing to launch an SUV).
The motivation is obvious. In the US especially, SUV sales have been booming. Anyone selling a luxury version has been raking in the cash. Cadillac brought its XT5 crossover to market last June and within a short period of time was moving 5,000 units a month. Demand is indisputable.
With sports-car sales fading, Lamborghini and teenage-bedroom-poster rival Ferrari have been the main SUV holdouts. But Ferrari continues to steadfastly deny any plants to create an SUV, referring customers instead to its GT4C Lusso two-door all-wheel-driver, or to former stablemate Maserati’s Levante.
Lambo is a different story. The forthcoming Urus will join the Huracán supercar and the Aventador hypercar as the more practical choice in the Lambo lineup.
Expectations are high. Farmeschi called it a “game changer,” adding that it will “double the size of the company” and “enlarge the customer base.”
And by double, he means literally double: Lamborghini’s factory in Italy will expand from 800,000 square feet to 1.5 million to handle Urus production.
Like the Cayenne 15 years ago, the Urus has an obvious challenge: It has to be an SUV that will satisfy Lamborghini enthusiasts. Porsche fans were skeptical of the German carmaker’s SUV aspirations (Porsche and Lamborghini are both members of the Volkswagen Group, by the way), but the Cayenne has been wildly successful for a company once known mainly for its 911 sports car.
Lambo briefly flirted with an SUV in the late 1980s and 1990s, the offbeat LM002, which was more of a Hummer-clone than a proper Lamborghini. The Urus is a different beast. It’s a sleek, aggressive super-SUV that Farmeschi said must maintain the DNA of Lamborghini while serving as a daily driver.
“Lamborghini” and “daily driver” aren’t typically encountered in the same sentence, so you can see what Farmeschi and his company are up against.
That said, the COO envisions a “two-Lamborghini driveway” in the future, with performance and utility parked side by side – and in the case of the Urus, captured in the same vehicle. The Lambo SUV might not be able to outperform an Aventador, but it isn’t going to be Lamborghini’s version of a Jeep Cherokee.
“I’m quite positive it will be a successful car,” Farmeschi said.