Lamborghini Perth opens its brand new showroom, further cementing its long-standing partnership with Barbagallo Motors. Expanding its model line-up with the launch of its new Super Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) the URUS, last year.
Fabric Quarterly attended the media launch and talks with the enigmatic Mr Matteo Ortenzi, CEO at Automobili Lamborghini Asia Pacific about the Urus.
FQ: This isn’t Lamborghini’s first foray into the SUV market with the previous LM002 back in the 1970’s. What encouraged you to re-enter this category? Was it the apparent success of other premium marques like Bentley, Porsche and Audi.
MO: ….no, not the only reason, just one of the drivers, the SUV segment has been running for a long time. We were also thinking what could be a very good balance of having a flexible car but having a Lamborghini. We said ‘why not an SUV done properly, done like a Lamborghini?’. Because by combining the flexibility and the comfort of driving in the Strada mode which is our normal driving condition and the switch into the Sport or Corsa modes which is a real sports car, but with a different shape which gives the flexibility for the use of the car. Because we started with a white paper we were able to choose a lot of things, we are a brand that is open to new things, we are seeing ourselves as innovators. There is nothing that can be seen as a standard if you planning a car in a different way.
FQ: How long was this car on the drawing board?
MO: … ha! We are a big group so it took some time to demonstrate that our idea was good, it took four or five years to get to the end of the product.
FQ: What is the main characteristic that places the Urus into the Super SUV category, the first of its kind.
MO: I think there is one number and I don’t like to describe a car by numbers, but for me it is a good example to understand what is behind the product itself. The Urus is breaking from 100kmph to zero in 33.7 meters. I’m not giving you the acceleration or maximum speed, these are things that you expect from a Lamborghini, no these are real numbers to show that the Urus is like a sports car and breaking like a sports car of other brands. And the car has a weight of 2.2 tonnes. So the technical challenge we had was enormous.
FQ: Lamborghinis engines are typically v10 or v12, why did you build a v8 for this car?
MO: There was a technical reason. We needed to have a good character of performance even for an SUV, the best way to do this was to have a turbo engine because the weight of the car is completely different to a sports car. Off road you need immediate torque and because the weight is very big this is best achieved with a turbo. In this kind of car it is the best mode to have.
FQ: Given the apparent shift to electric motors, do you consider this an option for the Urus?
MO: We are in the automotive industry so we have to look at every development, that is not a discussion. Countries are becoming more and more strict on regulations so we have to consider this. Also the technology is growing. At this point we are not looking to do this as the trade-off is to great, adding to the weight of the car. The next generation no-doubt will be hybrid, but the technology is still not there. And for a SUV in the desert there are very few charging stations!
FQ: How big do you see the SUV market for Urus.
MO: For 2018 the Urus represent some 33% of sales. For 2019 we are projecting that the sales of Urus will be around 50%
FQ: Do anticipate adding to the models range?
MO: The investment in the Urus was massive so we must look to get a return on that investment. Our main task is to be profitable. We are not rushing to Urus. The brand is strong, you could do a lot of things, we can also do some crazy cars because the brand allows us to do these things, but we have to keep our DNA and we have to keep our customer satisfaction very high.
FQ: How big do you anticipate the demand here in WA.
MO: We sold 15 cars here in 2018. We expect with the Urus that this will be much greater, maybe not double, thanks to the good job that our partner is doing here, the Barbagallo Group. This new showroom is an example of their commitment, they are executing the things properly and they are our first touch point with customers. We have to have shared common values, if you are not choosing the right partner, you can have the best company in the world but if you don’t approach the customer in the right way the first time the rest doesn’t count, so…