Korea is experiencing its latest luxury car boom, and Lamborghini cannot keep up with the demand.
Automobili Lamborghini sold a total of 353 luxury cars in Korea last year, a 16-fold jump compared to 2017, making Korea the eighth-largest market for the Italian marque.
Luxury cars, commonly called supercars in Korea, generally refer to vehicles that cost over 100 million won ($76,000).
Stephan Winkelmann, 58, chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, is confident that it will be able to maintain its position, or even surpass it this year, with the introduction of its latest Urus S to the country.
“The Korean market is expected to record the best performance ever with the strongest model line-up this year,” Winkelmann said during an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily on Nov. 9, ahead of the official debut of the Urus S in the Korean market on Monday.
“The Urus S delivers increased power combined with luxurious versatility and presence to confirm its status as the ultimate lifestyle Lamborghini Super SUV.”
Lamborghini was planned to hold an Urus S release event Monday, but canceled it due to the recent Itaewon crowd crush.
The Urus S is a successor to the company’s first-ever SUV Urus that was launched in 2017. It might end up being one of, if not the last hurrah of the pure petrol-powered Urus variant to be introduced, as Lamborghini gears up to shift its entire lineup to plug-in hybrids by the end of 2024.
Equipped with a 4.0-liter, eight-cylinder gasoline engine, the luxury SUV boasts up to 666 horsepower and 86.7 kilogram-meters of torque. The vehicle can run a maximum speed of 305 kilometers (190 miles) per hour and only takes 3.5 seconds to reach 100 kilometers per hour, and 12.5 seconds total to get to 200 kilometers per hour.
The sticker price of Urus S starts from 290 million won.
Lamborghini’s introduction of the Urus was quite a shock to competitors back then, as supercar makers were widely known for not making SUVs.
“Lamborghini in 2017 created a new segment introducing Urus, the world’s first SSUV and a vehicle in the Sport and luxury segment that gets the best from two opposite worlds, the utility vehicles and the super sports cars,” Winkelmann said, using the acronym for Super Sports Utility Vehicle.
“From that moment, several brands tried to propose SUV derivatives in this new segment, but no one is so far able to offer the unique combination of exclusivity and overall performance in each condition and every road.”
Ferrari released its first-ever SUV — Purosangue — in September. It was introduced to the Korean market last month.
Jaguar Land Rover released its latest Range Rover Sport SUV in Korea last week.
“Urus is not impacted by competitors: Our target is always to be best in class in driving experience and fun to drive and to keep this supremacy on every rode: on track, on road, and on rally or dirty roads,” Winkelmann said. “It’s the most produced Lamborghini model in the shortest time; more than 20,000 units were produced in four years.”
The Urus SUV was the bestselling model of Lamborghini last year, with a total of 5,021 units sold globally. Of them, 287 units were sold in Korea, or 5.7 percent.
“Thanks to Korean customers and car enthusiasts, Korea is currently the eighth biggest market for Lamborghini worldwide, which is an amazing result,” Winkelmann added. “I’m proud to say that the Korean market achieved the best-ever sales record last year, and thankfully it is maintaining this year.”
“Normally, customers overseas have to wait some 18 months to get delivered their Lamborghinis after ordering,” Winkelmann said. “But in Korea, the waiting period is over two years.”
When asked about electrification, Winkelmann said Lamborghini won’t be the first, but will come at the right time and be the best.
“The first Lamborghini plug-in hybrid will be the new Aventador, using a twelve-cylinder engine,” Winkelmann said. “We will electrify all models by the end of 2024, with the aim of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent from 2025 onwards.”
Lamborghini has announced that it will invest 1.8 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in electrification over the next five years.
A fully electric model is expected to be introduced in the second half of 2028. The pure electric vehicle is likely to have four seats and two doors, though the configuration of the vehicle has not been finalized, he said.
Automobili Lamborghini reported a record high of 1.93 billion euros in revenue in the third quarter, up 30.1 percent on year. Operating profit jumped 68.5 percent on year to 570 million euros.
BY SARAH CHEA [email@example.com]