It happened to Jaguar and Porsche and will happen to Alfa Romeo (they say) . Lamborghini have run out of very wealthy men to sell big engined sports cars to.
According to Automotive News the target customers for their Urus CUV will be women and families. At the moment Lamborghini’s range consists of varying degrees of low and sporty with a largely academic choice of V10 and V12 engines. The plan is to show the softer side of Lamborghini and try to woo buyers who are thinking of their families. I expect this is code for finding customers who are women and who might want to
drive their kids to kindergarten and school in their Lamborghini. The ambition stems from the fact that certain demographics like a raised ride height: Land Rover and Porsche have done well selling cars to smaller people. The engine will be a less threatening V8 – relative to the aggressive V10s and V12s the brand presently offers. As it stands, women are not big customers for Lamborghini, about five percent only but more than half of SUV customers are women. When it comes to combined vehicle purchases, the majority are made by men.
I won’t be bemoaning this development as I have no particular axe to grind for or against Lamborghini. It is eminently sensible not to alienate a large chunk of your customer base. I think that customer perceptions are less hypersensitive compared to even ten years ago when the possibility of diesel engine Alfa Romeos and Jaguars shocked people unconscious and caused mouthfoaming rage.
Porsche can be held responsible for the onset of the slaughter of sacred cows and these days almost nothing is impossible, other than Citroen making a daring and interesting car again. The model now is to try to sell anything people will buy and not to assume that what sold well once will also characterize the brand in future.
The difficulty lies in the instance when everyone decides that formula x is the one that customers want. Right now we can see lots of brands going after the SUV and CUV market, abandoning saloons and giving up the large engine and 3-door cars. For some brands the format of the car is unimportant.
I think Opel, Fiat and Ford could sell anything they wanted without hurting their brands. These brands are not especially tied to any style or format: a new Ford bodystyle does not alter how one sees Ford. The specialist makers, on the other hand, draw their character from performance, luxury and distinction. The car-type most people seem to want is a five-door hatch: that’s what SUVs and CUVs really are. The ur-hatch looks like a Golf. The more a car is like the Golf the better it sells, Golf’s included. The corollary of this is that the less like a Lamborghini the Urus is the better it will sell.
The Lamborghini idea will have to stretch to accommodate being low-slung rockets and family-friendly five-door hatches with V8’s. Luckily, everyone likes them and, as I said, people don’t care too much about model ranges any more: cars are bought on a car by car basis.