The Italian supercar maker confirmed this week that it will launch a luxury SUV in 2018. It will be built at Lamborghini's soon-to-expand factory in Sant'Agata Bolognese in Italy, and will double the company's current sales volume.
Lamborghini did not announce a name for the vehicle or other details, but noted a concept version, the Urus, was displayed at the Beijing motor show in 2012. It will be sold around the world, but it's expected to be a critical offering in the United States, China, and the Middle East.
The automaker projects the SUV will sell about 3,000 units per year, and it will be the third product in Lamborghini's portfolio. It currently sells the Huracan and Aventador supercars.
"The introduction of a third model line endorses the stable and sustainable growth of the company and signifies for us the beginning of a new era," Lamborghini chief executive Stephan Winkelmann said in a statement.
The project is also a boon for Italy, which will get 500 new jobs in the Emilia Romagna region as Lamborghini's factory will nearly double in size.
Ian Fletcher, principal analyst for IHS Automotive, said the SUV will position Lamborghini for future growth. "It could well also bring new customers to the brand [who] may find the dramatic styling of Lamborghini products appealing, but find its typical sports cars restrictive," he said. "If it is a success, the SUV could be a catalyst to Lamborghini broadening its portfolio further."
OTHER NEWS & NOTES
GM invests in Chevy Camaro factory
General Motors is investing $175 million to upgrade its factory in Lansing, MI, to build the 2016 Chevy Camaro. The investment will pay for new tooling and equipment. The improvements include three new paint systems and two new robotic framers. GM will add a second shift at the factory to build the Camaro, resulting in 500 jobs. The automaker had dropped the plant to one shift last year amid slow sales for its products, the Cadillac ATS and CTS. GM is spending $5.4 billion over the next three years to upgrade its US facilities. Last week, GM announced plans to spend $439 million to build a new paint shop for the Chevy Corvette. While the Camaro and Corvette plant improvements are intriguing to enthusiasts, GM also confirmed this week that it is investing $1.2 billion in its Fort Wayne (IN) factory that builds trucks. The enhancements include a new paint shop, expanded body shop, and new equipment to better handle the wide variety of cabs and boxes used. The project starts in June and is expected to take several years to complete.
Mary Barra re: merger with FCA – no thanks
A curious note landed in the inbox of GM CEO Mary Barra recently. Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne proposed a merger with GM in an email to Barra in March, according to the New York Times. Barra and her team rejected it. The message came before Marchionne used FCA's earnings call in April to give a lengthy presentation on industry consolidation. Fiat chairman John Elkann reportedly confirmed the email and said it wasn't the only one or the only time the topic came up, Reuters said. Marchionne has argued the auto sector has too many companies that overlap and claims this reasoning isn't influenced by FCA's lower ranking on the carmaker food chain. Regardless, Barra apparently isn't interested in a merger.
Teen driving deaths drop, concerns linger
Teen driving deaths have plummeted 56 percent in the last 20 years, AAA reported this week, though a myriad of factors continue to sound alarms for parents and other motorists. Non-fatal crashes have fallen 51 percent during the same time period, 1994 to 2013. The decreases are related to stricter graduated drivers license rules, fuel prices, and economic factors, AAA said. Still, the organization pointed to a number of statistics that indicate young drivers remain unsafe, especially to others. AAA said 66 percent of people killed in teen driver crashes were not the driver. The report was published as teens enter the most dangerous driving months of the year – the summer – when they are out of school and driving more. AAA said teen driving deaths were 43-percent higher during the summer months of 2013 than in the rest of the year.