Lamborghini's top engineer has a pretty good idea what he'll be doing for the next four to five years.
"We were given a very challenging target: Make the production Urus the best-performing and lightest vehicle in its category. This is forcing us to think outside the box," Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini's r&d director, told Automotive News Europe. "We envisage a start of production no sooner than early 2017."
Lamborghini unveiled the Urus concept at the Beijing auto show last month. The Audi-owned Volkswagen Group subsidiary expects to get approval to build the SUV before the end of the year.
Lamborghini expects the SUV to become its top-selling model with an annual volume of 3,000 because of strong demand in China, the United States, Europe, Russia and the Middle East. Last year Lamborghini had global sales of 1,600 units of its current models, the Gallardo and Aventador coupes and roadsters.
Sister brand Bentley and Italian rival Maserati also plan to enter the SUV niche. They all hope to match the success of Porsche, which now counts on its Cayenne SUV for more than half of its total global sales.
Said Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann: "We think the SUV segment is the right one. It has the biggest growth potential and the highest emotion. We are investing in profitability."