Lamborghini’s new SUV is set to be a game changer for the Italian automotive firm in the Middle East market. The Italian manufacturer of luxury supercars is renowned worldwide for producing supersonic sports cars. However, it’s evolution towards the SUV segment, particularly in the Middle East, indicates a shift in their strategic approach to the region. Arab Wheels managed to secure an exclusive interview at the Dubai International Motor Show, with the head of Lamborghini EMEA, Christian Mastro. He discussed everything from Lamborghini’s performance in the region to the introduction of the Urus, which he claimed would be a game changer for the firm in the Middle East. In addition to this, he conceded that electrification was still a long way off for the Italian car manufacturer.
Mastro described Lamborghini’s 2017 performance in the Middle East as OK. However, he claimed that when you take into consideration some of the political issues currently affecting the GCC region, which has undoubtedly had an impact on the industry overall, they were reasonably satisfied with their performance.
Mastro told Arab Wheels, “The performance of Lamborghini in the Middle East in 2017 has been OK. We’re not overachieving on the numbers we reached last year as of yet. We launched two new models in the second-half of this year and we’ve got a lot of customer delivery cars coming right now, so we’re confident we’ll achieve the same numbers that we did last year. So it’s been quite a good performance for us overall, especially when you take into consideration the political unrest in the region, which has had an impact on the industry. Plus, there’s still that buzz of anticipation and excitement around Lamborghini models in the Middle East region and that bodes well for us in terms of increasing our growth in the region.”
The introduction of the Lamborghini Urus is eagerly anticipated amongst automotive enthusiasts in the Middle East, and Mastro firmly believes the new SUV will be a game changer for Lamborghini in the region, adding that they were projecting big sales figures for the vehicle.
Head of Lamborghini EMEA said, “We think in terms of numbers it’s going to be very big here in this region and we envisage that its contribution in regards to our sales figures in the Middle East region will be positive. The SUV segment is really important in this market and we’re coming with a design that is very Lamborghini – and its introduction to the market is something we’re really looking forward to. We think it’s going to be a game changer for us in the Middle East. It’s something new; a super sport SUV segment doesn’t really exist, so we think our product will really resonate with customers in this market.”
Lamborghini’s rivals have all gone from naturally aspirated engines to turbocharged engines, and Mastro confirmed that the new Urus would have a number of different powertrains including turbocharged. Mastro said, “Yes, our main engine will be a V8 and while this is a new thing for us, we’re excited about it as this really represents what the future looks like for car manufacturers on a global basis in terms of zero emissions and electrification. This is a path we’re taking and we’re lucky to be able to have two aspirated engines in the Lamborghini product portfolio, and I think in the future our lineup will look very differently.”
When pressed on what he believed really makes a Lamborghini, a Lamborghini, Mastro said for him it’s all about the car’s design, and that still after all these years, when you see a Lamborghini in the street it’s a head turner. Mastro stated, “I think the design of a Lamborghini is something that is instantly recognizable. When you see a car like a Lamborghini in the street your eyes dazzle and you can’t really mistake a Lamborghini. I think the design and the noise are some of the key factors in our success, especially in this region. In this market they love engine noise and to have an aspirated engine is important in this region. Our customers really appreciate our cars that produce loud sounds, and I think this is what differentiates Lamborghinis from other luxury supercar brands.”
Electrification is the hottest trend in the automotive industry and it represents the future of the industry. However, Mastro said that for Lamborghini electrification is still a long way off, but did claim that a Hybrid solution would be introduced. In addition to this, he said there were no plans for Lamborghini to form a team in Formula E.
Mastro added, “No not really, we believe electrification for Lamborghini is still a long way away. It’s more of a longer-term vision for us. It’s not in our strategic plans yet, but for sure there will be a Hybrid solution that will be introduced in the mid-term, so we’re going to be focusing more and more on Hybrids, but we’ve no plans to form a team in Formula E.”
Mastro concluded by saying that he was very optimistic about Lamborghini’s future in the Middle East. 2017 was overall a positive year in difficult circumstances, but Lamborghini’s head of EMEA reiterated yet again how excited he is about the introduction of the Urus to the region. The Urus is a vehicle he believes will be a huge impact in the market and will transform the Italian manufacturers’ fortunes in the Middle East.