Lambo’s war on the SUV

Lam­borgh­ini lovers would scream for blood if the Ital­ians weak­ened, writesMARKHINCHLIFFE

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

THE SUV is dead, long live the four­wheel-drive — that’s Lam­borgh­ini’s take on the global trend. Au­to­mo­bili Lam­borgh­ini pres­i­dent and CEO Stephan Win­kle­mann dis­misses the moves of com­peti­tors such as Porsche with its Cayenne and now As­ton Martin, which will re­birth the Lagonda name as an SUV.

Win­kle­mann says the fu­ture for su­per sports com­pa­nies such as the Ital­ian fire­brand is with four-wheel-drive sports cars, not four-wheeldrive Toorak trac­tors.

‘‘SUV has no fu­ture any more,’’ he says. ‘‘We would be killed by the pub­lic if we did an SUV.

‘‘It might work in Rus­sia, but not any­where else. For us, four-wheel-drive sports cars are im­por­tant as a unique sell­ing point.’’

How­ever, the com­pany is em­brac­ing the trend among su­per lux­ury sports car com­pa­nies to add two more doors.

Porsche this year will launch the Panam­era, As­ton Martin plans to release a four-door Rapide and Lam­borgh­ini has launched its Es­toque (pro­nounced ‘‘Ess-tock’’) con­cept.

But Win­kle­mann is cau­tious about adding to the two-door Gal­lardo and Mur­cielago coupes and con­vert­ibles.

Even though he ad­mits prod­uct di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion is a key el­e­ment of Lam­borgh­ini’s busi­ness strat­egy, he says the time is not right to launch the Es­toque.

‘‘We have the youngest and widest prod­uct range for years and want to keep it that way with at least one new prod­uct ev­ery year,’ Win­kle­mann says at the launch in the Ca­nary Is­lands of the Gal­lardo LP 560-4 Spy­der con­vert­ible.

‘‘The Spy­der is the most im­por­tant car in terms of vol­ume for years to come,’’ he says.

‘‘For the mo­ment we will stick with our two-car strat­egy. There is lit­tle doubt that it (the Es­toque) would dou­ble the sales vol­ume for Lam­borgh­ini. How­ever, in this eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion, go­ing to three mod­els would be some­thing that would dou­ble our ef­forts and not nec­es­sar­ily dou­ble our prof­its.

This year, Lam­borgh­ini will also launch a lim­ited edi­tion of the 50 Mur­cielago LP 670-4 Su­per Ve­lo­ces.

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