Lamborghini is reported to be readying an SUV model to take advantage of the Chinese appetite for ultra luxury cars. The Sant’Agata Bolognese-based company, famous for its low-slung dramatic supercars, will bring an SUV study to the Beijing Auto Show in April, sources revealed. This SUV plan comes nearly 20 years after Lambo discontinued the LM002 military vehicle, pictured above.
Lamborghini is not alone in trying to woo wealthy Chinese with an unconventional model. Maserati has its Kubang, and Bentley, the British brand known for its large limos, is bringing an SUV concept to Geneva. The Bentley SUV could make it to showrooms by 2015 if owner Volkswagen Group approves the project. Meanwhile, the Lambo SUV could make it to production by 2016, the source added.
“Chinese customers love their big cars. All the brands are making cars more specific for the Chinese market,” said Christian Mastro, Lamborghini’s GM for Asia Pacific. “Luxury cars are at the top of the consumption desires of rich Chinese,” said Giuliano Noci, vice-director for the China campus of Milan Polytechnic. Since wealthy Chinese consumers have a limited history with the European brands, “the luxury-car makers can dare something new.”
IHS Automotive says that deliveries of luxury SUVs are forecast to jump 49% in China to 265,200 in 2015, almost three times the 18% growth in global demand for the segment.
Of course, this strategy is nothing new, and the companies listed above must have looked at Porsche with envy. The maker of the iconic 911 made jaws drop when it debuted the Cayenne in 2002. Despite the SUV’s less than pretty looks, Porsche now relies on it for half its deliveries, and the waiting list is about a year in China. A smaller brother called Macan is also on the way.