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Lamborghini CEO expects Urus SUV concept will go into production

Company see biggest opportunities in 'especially the U.S.'

Lamborghini's Urus will be based on the concept that debuted at the Beijing auto show last April.

TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- Lamborghini expects the Urus SUV concept, unveiled last year at the Beijing auto show, to get cleared for production, the company's CEO, Stephan Winkelmann said.

"We're working on it and it will come, which will be good for the brand," Winkelmann said in reference to the SUV during an interview last week in Tokyo, where he opened a showroom.

"We're going low profile now. I can't tell you much on details now, but when we get close to the launch, we will have more."

Lamborghini and Bentley, both owned by Volkswagen Group, had prototype SUVs at similar stages of development late last year, though only Bentley got the parent's go ahead to produce an SUV.

The Cayenne SUV's success at Porsche, another of VW's 12 brands, has led luxury brands to pursue supersizing their vehicles in recent years.

Lamborghini discontinued the LM002 SUV -- its last SUV -- in 1993 after a failed effort to make military vehicles. The new concept SUV, if built, could come to market in 2016 or 2017, Winkelmann said in April last year.

Separately, Winkelmann said in last week's interview that the company is turning its focus to some of its more established markets as demand slows in China. Lamborghini sees its biggest growth opportunities in "Japan, the Middle East and especially the U.S.," Winkelmann said. "There is a slowdown in high-end luxury" in China, he said.

The comments add to signs that the center of gravity for luxury may be moving away from China as economic growth slows and the government pushes to rein in lavish spending.

McKinsey & Co. estimates luxury industry sales growth in the country may slow to as little as 12 percent annually in the three years to 2015, after averaging 27 percent between 2008 and 2012.

Last year, Lamborghini said it foresees annual sales of 3,000 for the SUV if it is built, with China, the United States, Europe, Russia and the Middle East as the main markets.

Global deliveries for the brand rose to 2,083 cars last year from 1,602 in 2011.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report

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