2008 Lamborghini Estoque ConceptEnlarge Photo
Lamborghini will decide by the "beginning of next year" on what form its third model will take--whether it's a sedan, an SUV or something entirely unexpected.
The resulting vehicle will not be on sale before 2016, says CEO Stephan Winkelmann.
A concept car in advance of the new vehicle seems a likely candidate for the upcoming 2012 Geneva Motor Show. In an interview at the recent Frankfurt Auto Show, Winkelmann said that "when we decide, we will show something."
Winkelmann says it's clear that his company has to expand into non-sportscar segments to get to the profitability that's come to automakers like Porsche. That brand has become the business model for luxury automakers seeking to expand out of the supercar realm--automakers including Lamborghini, but also Bentley, Aston Martin and Maserati.
Lamborghini is one of the few luxury brands with just two models, he explains, and SUVs and sedans are the kinds of vehicles you have to build "If you want Lambos around in the future."
"It's different than in the Sixties," he explains.
Adding a non-supercar to the Lamborghini lineup has been on the drawing boards since 2007, when the brand hit record sales of more than 900 vehicles in the U.S. At the 2008 Paris Auto Show, Lamborghini unveiled the Estoque, a four-door sedan with chiseled styling that was later named to several best-of lists from the show.
The Estoque seemed a logical candidate for production, and Winkelmann says it's always a goal to produce batches of cars shown as concepts. Lamborghini will build 20 Sesto Elemento carbon-fiber supercars, after displaying that vehicle on last year's auto-show circuit.
"The Estoque was a bit different," he now explains. "At that time we wanted to test the reaction to Lamborghini outside of the super-sportscar segment."
Any new model would have to be consistent with the brand image, he says, and the Estoque proved a move outside of supercars would be the right move, he says.