Lamborghini: We'll Confirm Third Model Within Weeks Page 2

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Lamborghini LM 002

Lamborghini LM 002

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SUV has the inside track?

Winkelmann confirms that by the beginning of 2012, "we will know more or less" which model it will build to accompany its Aventador and Gallardo supercars in showrooms.

While downplaying the importance of the Estoque, he confirms that "the SUV is a potential segment" and that part of the calculus for any new model is "what the group [VW AG] can do for you."

Volkswagen AG builds a trio of SUVs, including the Audi Q7, Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne, and is in merger negotiations with Porsche, which builds the Panamera sedan.

Lamborghini has a track record for building SUVs, in the form of the military-grade LM002, which was built from 1986 to 1993, overlapping the years in which Lamborghini was owned by Chrysler.

Asia plays a big role

Whether it's an SUV or a sedan, the third model lineup at Lamborghini will be decided in part by how well it plays in Asia. Since 2007, sales in other markets have cratered: in the U.S., Lamborghini sold 290 vehicles last year, when it needs to sell 500 a year to be profitable. 

In 2010, Chinese sales were approximately 200 units, balancing out the drop in American numbers.

"Asia/Pacific has given us the backup," he confirms.

With the region's growing importance, any new model will have to appeal to Asian customers so that it will "have a geographic distribution in the market to achieve the volumes" the company needs to make money, and to seed future growth.

"The biggest market for the future in terms of growth is in China," he adds. It represents "big opportunities in big segments."

Winkelmann doesn't see the U.S. economy rebounding in time to make a profit in 2012--"It's a market which is down too much in our opinion," he says--but he's still bullish on an eventual recovery, one that will be helped along by a new Lamborghini, no matter what shape it takes.

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