Lamborghini unveiled its first sport-utility vehicle in almost two decades as the Italian supercar maker looks to expand its lineup to tap rising demand from emerging markets.
The Volkswagen unit unveiled the concept SUV, called the Urus, in Beijing on Sunday, a day before this week’s auto show in the Chinese capital.
Lamborghini sees potential sales of 3,000 vehicles a year for the SUV, chief executive Stephan Winkelmann said. A final decision to produce the vehicle hasn’t been made, he added.
“If you’re going to enter a new segment, you have to remain true to your core values,” Winkelmann said. “Our core values are uncompromising, extreme and Italian.”
Lamborghini joins Bentley Motors and Fiat’s Maserati in super-sizing their supercars a decade after Porsche broke with tradition and rolled out the Cayenne in 2002. The German maker of the 911 sports car now counts on the SUV for half its deliveries.
Demand for luxury SUVs, including the Cayenne and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, is forecast to climb 49 percent in China to 265,200 units in 2015, almost three times the 18 percent growth in global sales for those vehicles, according to IHS Automotive.
Bentley, another Volkswagen luxury brand, displayed its own SUV concept at the International Motor Show in Geneva last month. China became the company’s biggest market in the first quarter after sales surpassed deliveries in the United States for the first time, according to Chong Got, executive director of Bentley China.
Maserati will start production in 2013 of a Jeep-based SUV, currently called the Kubang, while Ferrari last year added the 260,000 euro ($344,000) FF family car, its largest model.
Porsche, which expects to double global sales to 200,000 vehicles by 2018, counts China as its largest market for the Panamera four-door sports car and the Cayenne.
Lamborghini discontinued the boxy LM002 SUV — dubbed the Rambo Lambo — in 1993 after a failed effort to make military vehicles.