Martin Josephi
Director General
Lamborghini, Aston Martin & Morgan Mexico
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Insight

A New World to Conquer: the SUV

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 12:03

Sales of performance cars, a natural market for luxury models like Lamborghini, are on the rise in Mexico thanks in part to loan accessibility. But there are other worlds to conquer and the Italian brand’s first bet on SUVs is pumping expectations at the company, says Martin Josephi, Director General of Lamborghini, Aston Martin & Morgan Mexico.

For Lamborghini, revolutionary thinking remains a staple. The company is always looking to make exotic vehicles with great performance, featuring the latest and most exclusive technology, and it is applying those trademarks to the Lamborghini Urus, set to arrive in mid-2018. These SUVs will use turbo V8 engines and are envisioned to be hybridized in the future. As Lamborghini branches beyond the sportscar market, by preparing for the SUV segment, the company is entering one of the fastest- growing areas of the automotive market, while the market for smaller cars remains stable.

Josephi says the possibility of launching hybrid models will depend on the SUV’s reception as much as the local market’s development, since the Urus will have turbo engines despite the target market being less likely to take it to a race track. The Lamborghini plant is currently 100 percent carbon-footprint neutral, taking its green intentions beyond what is offered to the consumer. Lamborghini intends to keep possible environmental damage to an absolute minimum during the production process.

The company’s optimism about the SUV project is evident in that they are expanding its carbon-neutral factory in Sant’Agata, Italy, exclusively for the SUV. “We are going to make thousands, looking for a larger volume but retaining Lamborghini’s quality and prestige,” says Josephi. Production of the model will not exceed 8,000 units, however, protecting its exclusivity compared to models such as the Porsche Cayenne, of which 8,015 units were delivered to Germany alone in 2016. Sales growth in 2017 is not expected to be as marked as the 30 percent seen in 2016. The company expects sales to grow 10 percent. But by 2018, with the SUV on board, the brand could grow 80 percent, according to Josephi. This is possible because as a brand with low volume production, when a new model comes out, sales peak. In Latin America, Mexico is the number one country in sales, higher than Brazil, Peru and Chile. The country makes up more than half the company’s sales in Latin America.

The brand’s reputation rests on years of innovation and performance and Lamborghini will continue to market its rapid race contestants. “Some years ago, luxury cars were not sold as much, but since 2015 we have started to see unique cars enter the market with higher prices. Now that there is more presence of premium models and more marketing, this segment in Mexico is prospering,” Josephi says.

Director General of AMDA Guillermo Rosales told Mexico Automotive Review 2016 that a rise in the availability of car loans has boosted the possibility for people to buy performance vehicles, making it the “most active category” of car sales. As financing is expected to increase, all sports car manufacturers are likely to see sales for the more affordable models rise. The Huracan is the lowest-priced model to break the Nürburgring record and did so thanks to superior aerodynamics, which Lamborghini calls Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva. Its 2L V10 aspirated engine is not to be sniffed at though, which boosts torque to output 640hp.

Beating the Porsche 918 Spyder with a time of 6 minutes 52.01 seconds on one of the most admired tracks, where brands put their vehicles’ performance to the test, the Hurucan was a breakthrough for other brands. With it, Lamborghini announced that a smaller car had arrived to outstrip them all. Its weight has been reduced to give the V10 an even better chance at excelling, 40kg was dropped just through using carbon fiber. To keep the car grounded amid improved aerodynamics and lower weight, both the front and rear of the car have spoilers and adaptable intakes, to improve grip on curves.

“Our range of products has grown from the Huracan with rear-wheel drive to the Aventador SuperVeloce and the Centenario, of which only 40 will be available worldwide. Two of these models will arrive to Mexico in 2017,” says Josephi.