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Lambo confirms “everyday” third model

Super sedan: A Lamborghini to rival the Maserati Quattroporte and Aston Martin Rapide may take design hints from the 2008 Estoque concept (left).

Lambo favours sedan over SUV as Winkelmann confirms third model for “everyday” use

25 May 2011

LAMBORGHINI president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann has confirmed that the House of the Raging Bull will add a third model to its line-up, and that the brand wants “to have a car which is able to be used on a daily basis”.

Speaking at the Reuters Global Luxury and Fashion Summit in London this week, Mr Winkelmann said: “We are going to have a third model. It has to be an everyday car”.

What a company like Lamborghini envisages as an everyday car is open to interpretation but given that it is owned by Audi, which in turn forms part of the Volkswagen Group, the Italian brand does not have to produce an eco-model to lower its corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) figure in the same way as independently-owned Aston Martin, which is bringing its Toyota iQ-based Cygnet luxury city-car to market.

Mr Winkelmann has in the past refuted speculation that Lamborghini will follow Porsche’s example of producing a high-performance luxury SUV and dropped heavy hints that the brand’s third model will be have four seats and four doors.

51 center imageFrom top: Lamborghini Estoque, Sesto Elemento, Aventador.

This ties in neatly with the existence of the Estoque sedan concept, which premiered at the 2008 Paris motor show as a potential rival to Maserati’s successful Quattroporte, the Mercedes-Benz CLS and then-unreleased Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide.

The sleek Estoque concept is 5150mm long and 1990mm wide but just 1350mm tall, making it 131mm longer and 10mm lower-slung than Aston’s well-proportioned Rapide.

The Estoque’s “stately” 3010mm wheelbase comes some way between that of the standard- and long-wheelbase variants of the D3 Audi A8 with which it was speculated to share an aluminium spaceframe chassis.

What Mr Winkelmann means by an everyday car is more likely to be the kind of luxury sedan that Lamborghini’s typically plutocratic purchasers can ride around in the back of, or is at least more practical for daily duties than one of its two-seater sportscars.

In 2008 Lamborghini called the Estoque a “feasible technical concept” and it looked believable as the brand’s first four-seat production car since the Espada of 1968-1978. In hindsight, the project was probably stalled due to uncertainty caused by the global financial crisis.

This week Mr Winkelmann said that once given the go-ahead, Lamborghini would take four years to bring its third model to production, meaning a 2015 arrival for the new car and hopefully for Lamborghini, enough time for the world economy to reverse its fortunes.

Lamborghini’s sales high-water point was in 2008 when it sold 2430 cars worldwide. Understandably, sales declined sharply as a result of the GFC and last year it managed to shift just 1302. The company estimates that in 2011 it will sell about 1500 cars, 300 of which will go to luxury-hungry China.

In Australia, Lamborghini has sold 13 cars so far this year, compared with 15 for the same period in 2010 – a decline of 13.3 per cent. Its total sales for 2010 numbered 45, a 73.1 per cent increase on 2009.

As GoAuto reported in April, the Murcielago-replacing Aventador supercar will make its Down Under debut at the Australian International Motor Show on July 1, at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, less than five months after its world debut at Geneva.

An indicative starting price for the Aventador of $790,000 supplied to GoAuto in April has also been confirmed, more expensive than the outgoing base Murcielago LP640 ($755,000) but less than last year’s limited-edition LP670-4 SuperVeloce, which was the most expensive Lambo ever sold here, at $889,000.

The Aventador supercar, named in the Lamborghini tradition after a Spanish fighting bull, is a sell-out success, with the first 18 months of production – including the ten destined for Australia – already spoken for.

Thanks to a dry weight reduction of 90kg (to 1575kg) over the Murcielago, the more powerful Aventador is claimed to sprint to 100km/h in just 2.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 350km/h, making it one of the most accelerative – and fastest – production cars ever built.

Unlikely for Australian release – mainly due to its left-hand drive only, non-road-legal configuration is the all-carbon-fibre, 999kg Sesto Elemento that was revealed as a concept at the Paris show last September and is reportedly going on sale in limited numbers from October, priced at a cool $US2.92 million ($A2.76 million).

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