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Will the global economic slowdown sink Lamborghini’s new SUV?

The financial crisis in Europe hasn’t yet taken a toll on Lamborghini. As Bloomberg reports, there is still an 18-month waiting list for the Aventador, and sales for 2012 are already better than they were in 2011. But Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann isn’t celebrating yet. Lamborghini has plans for a new SUV, called the Urus, and Winkelmann is now saying that to move ahead with these plans might compromise the brand’s current relative sure footing. The plan at Lamborghini calls for 3,000 units of the Urus being sold annually, and this on top of the 2,000 units they’re currently selling of the Aventador and Gallardo combined. Building the Urus would be a huge financial undertaking, and it’s not something the company wants to risk at a time when they are unsure of the prevailing economic conditions.

Lamborghini concluded that the biggest markets for the Urus would be North America, China, Russia and Germany. Sales have slowed for Lamborghini in China and Germany this year, and although North American sales have balanced this out so far, that can’t be expected to hold true if they try to grow the company too much too fast. As Winkelmann put it: “It’s meaning to double the size of the company in every sense in a difficult economic environment, so we have to think twice if the project is valuable.”

This would not be Lamborghini’s first SUV. They produced the LM002 from 1986 to 1993, a V12-powered monster with a 76-gallon fuel tank. This was a project which wrapped up with Lamborghini in financial ruin and being passed off from owner to owner before finally being saved by Volkswagen AG. Naturally, Lamborghini would like to avoid having this happen again, and even though the LM002 wasn’t entirely to blame for their previous troubles, the potential for disaster is still very much present. Still, the Urus wasn’t planned to launch until 2017, so the project may still get the green light.

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