In 2021, the Urus accounted for roughly 60 percent of Lamborghini’s auto deliveries — 5,021 out of a total 8,405 units. That’s up from 3,815 Uruses sold during the 2018 model’s debut year. From purely a monetary perspective, the large SUV has become the Italian automaker’s most important and profitable release. To find out why, we sat down with Lamborghini America CEO Andrea Baldi.
duPont REGISTRY: Why do you think the Urus has been such a success for Lamborghini?
Andrea Baldi: When it came to market at the end of 2017, the timing could not have been better due to the rise in demand for SUVs. You get a Lamborghini that’s a super sports car in the body of a versatile car. By allowing you to host more than two people and take multiple weekend bags instead of one, it starts to have a lot of advantages. The success has been so incredible that we’re in 2022, and we haven’t released any derivatives. The more customers drive the car, the more they talk about it, the more they realize that when you drive a Urus, you don’t have that kind of handling that you would expect from an SUV.
dR: Since it was such a massive shift from the cars Lamborghini made at the time of release, did shareholders push back?
AB: Yeah, I remember very well in 2012 when the concept car debuted at the Beijing Auto Show. I was lucky enough to be there. There was lots of excitement surrounding it, and the market for it was there. But it wasn’t a real car. It was a styling exercise that was anticipating what could be. The car still had to be approved and engineered. But the reaction of the media and the public was so strong that our shareholders began to support and discuss the idea further. At the time, the Bentley Bentayga was also part of the conversation, and of course, we’re coming from a group that makes the Porsche Cayenne. There were already competitors in that arena, so we needed to prove that we would have something different that sold volumes to have a sustainable business case. It had to sell in high volumes to offset the considerable investment needed to develop it. One of the best parts of this process was seeing everyone gradually come on board and become enthusiastic about it. We did a secret study with journalists and customers, and we got a clear confirmation that we should build it. But the best part of all this process was when our red competitor, led by Mr. Marchionne, issued a very clear statement saying that it was the wrong decision and they were not going to do it. That gave us the opportunity to make a product without competitors in its super-specific niche space.
dR: How does it feel knowing that even your red competitor is now following that formula?
AB: I think everyone has concluded that it’s a great idea for a super sports car brand to be present in this segment. It’s what is most desired at the moment, and it’s allowing everyone to get into a segment that is still expanding. Clearly, it’s the segment to be in, and competitors have realized that it’s obvious that this type of product is consistent with the DNA of a super sports car brand.
dR: Will the Urus always remain focused on road performance, or will we get to see an off-roading version?
AB: Lamborghini stands for performance, so we will always work to deliver that kind of experience. But we also want to be brave while staying authentic to what we represent. It may be a bit unexpected. So, while there are things I cannot tell you yet, we will always follow our values and make sure that we stand out as the different animals in the competitive arena.
dR: Is the upcoming electrified variant of the Urus a higher-performance vehicle?
AB: In 2024, we will present the first hybrid Urus, which will be part of the hybridization program that Lamborghini approved last year. The mid-to-long-term strategy is not just to electrify the existing model range and the successors of Aventador and Huracán but also to plan for another model within the decade that is entirely electric. It’s not going to be the Urus. It’s going to be a fourth model. I cannot spoil anything at the moment, but yes, we are working on derivatives. In 2024, you’ll see a big change in performance thanks to the car’s hybrid powertrain. This will give the car extra power, but we need to contain the increase in weight. I won’t say more, but you will see, we have surprises to come.
This article appeared in our June 2022 issue.