Earlier this year, Lamborghini officially announced that it will roll out its first truck since the early 1990s. It's a move the company first hinted at in 2012, when it unveiled the Urus SUV concept. In fact, this time Lamborghini is going more SUV than truck, as it looks to tap the wallets of the uber-rich in emerging overseas markets -- think China, the Middle East, and Russia -- where the road conditions can limit the appeal of supercars. Here's what to expect from Lamborghini's new ride, and what's driving the move.
We been down this road before
This of course isn't Lamborghini's first off-road show. The company sold 301 of its LM002 trucks from 1986 to 1993. Known affectionately as the Lambo Rambo, as the truck was a 6,800-pound monster, it wasn't flat footed thanks to a massive V-12 engine that gave it the power to go from zero to 60 in 7.7 seconds, while it maxed out at a top speed of 118 mph. But it wasn't all that great on the gas mileage. It burned through about a gallon of high-octane gasoline every eight miles. Further, with just a few hundred in sales, it wasn't a big diver of the bottom line.
Opening new roads
That's why, in many ways, Lamborghini's new truck won't resemble its previous iteration one bit. Instead, its new SUV is expected to be much more practical, and more importantly, it's actually expected to drive sales. In fact, the company is planning to produce 3,000 SUVs per year in an effort to more than double sales from its current pace of 2,500 vehicles each year.
The reason the company expects its off-road model to drive sales has a lot to do with its target audience, which is the super-rich in emerging markets. In many ways the company's current supercar lineup has a limited appeal to some emerging-market buyers because of poor in-country road conditions. Therefore, as the theory goes, these buyers will probably prefer a more all-road option, yet without getting too rugged, which is a niche the company will fill with what is likely to be a supercar style SUV that offers more cabin room and ground clearance.
If the Urus concept model is any indication of the finished product, then it will be much leaner and faster than the Lambo Rambo. The difference comes down to a reported extensive use of carbon fiber, which would make the Urus about 220 pounds lighter than other high-performance SUVs, such as the Audi Q7, Bentley EXP 9 F, or Porsche Cayenne. That lighter weight, plus a powerful turbocharged 5.2-liter V10 engine designed by Audi, is expected to deliver a top speed of 205 mph for this super-luxury SUV, though the vehicle will still feature an all-wheel drive layout necessary for those less-than-ideal conditions.
All that power and performance will come at a pretty stiff price, with expectations that the vehicle will be priced in the range of $150,000 to $200,000, putting it out of reach for all but the elite. However, that price point could provide a big revenue boost of upwards of $600 million per year for Lamborghini, nearly doubling the roughly $700 million it pulled in last year. Further, the significant sales boost could help the company to boost its profitability, which is the real driver behind the company's decision to start selling SUVs by 2018.