Lamborghini confirms launch of SUV

<p>The new sports utility vehicle will be be manufactured in Italy.</p>

Lamborghini has confirmed that its new sports utility vehicle (SUV) will be produced at the Sant'agata Bolognese plant in Italy.

It is hoped that the new model, which is expected to enter the market in 2018, will see the same level of success as Porsche did for its luxury four-by-four.

The car manufacturer has targeted volumes of around 3,000 vehicles a year – this will more than double the Italian brand's current delivery numbers, which stand at 2,530.

When it hits the market, the new car is expected to cost €180,000. The company says its main target audience will be fans of all-wheel-drive vehicles in the US, China, the Middle East, the UK, Germany and Russia.

Lamborghini also says it's looking to expand its customer base, with the new vehicle being a more family-friendly option than its current selection of sports cars.

Ian Fletcher, analyst at IHS Automotive believes the new model could bring a new set of customers to the brand reports Reuters.

"New customers 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," he added.

A new era

Currently, the car specialist only offers two models – the Aventador and the Huracan - both are sports cars.

"The introduction of a third model [...] signifies for us the beginning of a new era," explained chief executive Stephen Winkelmann.

On Wednesday (May 27th), Mr Winkelmann and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi met in Rome to sign a letter of intent on the matter.

Lamborghini says it will hire 500 new employees – that's nearly double the physical size of its plant in Emilia Romagna. The company has also said it will invest hundreds of millions of euros in the project over the lifecycle of the vehicle.

"The investment [...] is at €700 million to €800 million, close to a billion," the prime minister said at the signing ceremony.

Lamborghini is owned by Audi and is part of the Volkswagon Grooup. On Thursday (May 28th), Audi's share price finished at 745.45, down 0.11 per cent.

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