Lamborghini is reportedly set to return to the SUV market for the first time since 1992, when it ended production of the LM002, better known as the Rambo-Lambo.
The luxury automaker will reportedly announce Wednesday that it will build its new SUV in Italy after reaching a deal on tax breaks with the Italian government. According to Bloomberg, Lamborghini chief Stephan Winkelmann and Rupert Stadler, the CEO of its parent company Audi, are scheduled to attend a press conference in Rome with Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to announce the agreement. It’s a deal months in the making. A Lamborghini representative declined to comment on the Bloomberg report.
Under the deal, Lamborghini will hire up to 500 people to build the new SUV, and in exchange the Italian government will grant as much as 80 million euros ($87 million) in tax breaks and other benefits to expand production.
The SUV will likely be called the Urus, the name of its original prototype (shown above) in 2012.
“The Urus is a very concrete idea for the future of Lamborghini – as a third model line and as the perfect complement to our super sports cars,” said Winkelmann. “SUVs stand for freedom and emotion. SUVs make up one of the most successful market segments worldwide. The Urus is the most extreme interpretation of the SUV idea; it is the Lamborghini of the SUVs.”
Timing of the SUV’s actual launch is crucial for Lamborghini, which sold an all-time high 2,530 cars in 2014, an increase of 19 percent. Previously, the automaker predicted it could sell 3,000 SUVS which would double its current model output.
One cost-cutting measure will be producing the chassis at the Volkswagen Group plant Bratislava, Slovakia, which builds the Audi Q7 and VW Touareg and the frame for the Porsche Cayenne SUV. All three SUVs share the same underpinnings.
The Urus will enter an increasingly competitive ultra-luxury SUV market as every automaker scrambles to get in while it’s hot. It will go up against SUVs such as the Maserati Levante, Bentley Bentayga, Range Rover Supercharged, Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The most likely engine would be a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8. A hybrid variation and diesel V-8 are also possible.
In 2012, when it debuted the Urus concept, Lamborghini’s parent company Audi said it would target the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, the Middle East and China. Assuming the Italian production deal is confirmed this week, look for the Urus to arrive in 2017.