Money, Money, Money: Lambo’s New SUV Concept

April 23rd, 2012

Lamborghini Urus concept

Revealed in Beijing, the Lamborghini SUV Urus (a type of bull) concept has been accompanied by more than the usual amount of bullwaste by the media and the company.

In preshow literature, the Bull is described as “the Lamborghini for everyday use, for the family, for leisure pursuits with friends.” Can’t you see them jouncing over the rocks in those ridiculous low-profile tires? Lambos parked in Sam’s Club lots—the mind boggles.

CEO Stephan Winkelmann called it “the Lamborghini of the SUVs,” possibly the most redundant and silly statement a carmaker has lately made.

A full description with every last detail is in the press release here. Buyers will be looking at 600 hp, permanent 4WD, lots of carbon fiber, adjustable spoilers and what appears to be a most uncomfortable interior (pix after the break).

Lamborghini Urus concept, interiorI mean, what is the idea of an SUV anyway? This one will probably come in at over $200K and will compete with other VW-platform premium beasts like the Cayenne and Bentley EXP 9 F concept, arriving with the Urus around 2015. Lambo expects to sell 3,000 Uruses.

The question is whether it will be an effective image-enhancer. The idea of a real performance SUV was once explored by Lamborghini, in fact, with the LM002 (below) back in the late ’80s. This was both a military and civilian vehicle, with V12 power (450 hp) and 6 Weber carbs.

Lamborghini LM002True off-roaders, they were bought by Saudi sheiks, Russians and other “obscenely rich private buyers” for travel on potholed or desert roads to visit drilling operations, no doubt.

How different from the squashed-roof Urus, taking its design note from the Range Rover Evoque and others to offer a car whose form and function are now completely divorced. It is being made solely to boost Lambo sales in a segment that needs another high-performance SUV like Mitt Romney needs another house.

There aren’t many serious, high-end off-roading SUVs left. Land Rover hasn’t sold the Defender in the U.S. in years; most Jeeps have become crossovers; Mercedes still makes the G-Class. The rest have gone the way of the Toyota Land Cruiser.

Do you think Lamborghini will sell 3,000 of its new SUVs? Is it possible to predict sales for such a car three years down the road?

—jgoods

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  1. panayoti
    | #1

    I don’t think the number matters much. What I think is happening is that the market has become so competitive in so many classes that the automakers figure they better get while the getting is good. Firstly you can’t tell one model from another. Second they are all producing great cars compared to the 50s and 60s. With the coming energy crisis and creative destruction of capital there is an emphasis on fuel economy and all cars are becoming more aerodynamic and slippery, so much so that you can’t tell them apart. Brand identity has been morphed into something similar to the Blob of the 60s. Thirdly and most puzzling to me that the automakers think that they should sell to whatever segment has the bucks to buy one of their products whether it be at the bottom or the top of the earnings scale.

    With the sheer number of cars and models out there and the size of the economic pie getting smaller and smaller competition is becoming fierce. WSJ has recently written that lawyers and hedge fund managers along with financiers and bankers being let go or fired is becoming very common place. So upper end cars like the Lambo which don’t sell that well to start with are looking for ways to sell a few more cars. So why not an SUV? Remember that there is always an ass for every seat and some one will buy a couple of these rascals whatever their merits. Only in America.

  2. Randy
    | #2

    Actually, I think they’ll sell more of them outside American than inside. I thihk the only thing missing on the hideous Lambo SUV is water barrels roped to the sides and a team of oxen to pull it. An abscurd and hideous car.

  3. Adam
    | #3

    A minivan by any other name is still a minivan.

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