In a trend that mirrors how product strategy drove volumes for its sister brand Porsche, exotic carmaker Lamborghini India has sold more than 100 units of its super sports utility vehicle (SUV) called the Urus since its launch in 2018. The Urus (a name for a fighting bull) now accounts for half of Lamborghini's sales in the country, making it a successful volume driver that can’t keep pace with demand.
Sharad Agarwal, country head for Lamborghini in India says that the 650 bhp SUV, which is amongst the most powerful in its league, is selling at the rate of at least one car a week in the country. The ex-showroom price of the Urus is around ₹3.15 crore, which is amongst the entry level sticker prices for the brand. Customisations and add-ons can add another 20% or more in sticker price to a vehicle. However, it can take as long as 10 months for a new car to be delivered, as Lamborghini's back-order log is around 50 cars.
Lamborghini is part of the Volkswagen Group, which also owns the Porsche brand. In recent years, Porsche has consistently sold over 200,000 cars worldwide and while it is best known for its iconic sports cars such as the 911, its dominant models are, SUVs that include the Cayenne and the Macan. The two SUVs accounted for 68% of the company’s worldwide sales in 2015. Around 80,000 were Macans while 73,000 were Cayennes. In 2019 Porsche delivered 280,800 vehicles to its customers, of which 92,000 were Cayennes and almost 100,000 were Macans, both SUVs growing even further in percentage of contribution to overall sales, according to the company’s website.
Lamborghini, which has been in India since 2012, sells three product lines—the Urus, the Aventador, and the Huracán—which include 10 different variants.
Agarwal says the typical Urus customer is a Lamborghini enthusiast who has been holding back from buying the exotic car for whatever reason. According to him, the Urus, with its high ground clearance and spacious interiors, transcends the potential challenges that infrastructure may pose for a potential buyer of an exotic car and which is why the typical Urus owner is also a first-time buyer, meaning that the market is expanding.
“This car goes from 0 to 100 km/hr in 3.6 seconds and there are not many sports cars that go as fast as this,” he says.
The Urus is offered in 13 standard colours, including black and white, but the units being sold are mostly in sports colours. Agarwal says that yellow, which is a signature colour for the raging bull exotic car, has been the dominant colour of preference, accounting for as many as 30% of the cars sold.
Lamborghini isn’t the only brand which has seen powerful and expensive SUVs drive sales. Mercedes-Benz, which also makes and sells performance cars under the AMG badge, has seen similar traction.
Santosh Iyer, vice president-sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz India, says “We sell close to high three-digit numbers of AMG and speciality cars each year; 2020 was an aberration, but we did better than the overall performance of the car market and we are confident that with seven new AMGs lined up for their India debut, 2021 will be a better year for the performance segment.” The highest selling AMG in India remains the top-end AMG G63 SUV, which retails at nearly ₹2.5 crore. Mercedes-Benz has sold close to 2,000 AMGs in India till date.
Coming back to Lamborghini, the company currently has three dealers in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, with others fairly distributed across the nation. But are there any other challenges to selling more super cars in India?
“We feel there is still a stigma attached to enjoying luxury. [But] younger people are exposed to foreign markets and… especially with the pandemic now, they want to enjoy their life now while they can and buy the car that they’ve dreamed of,” Agarwal says.
The Urus competes with exotic cars including the Bentley Bentayga, the Aston Martin DBX, and other performance cars in the segment albeit at lower prices such as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and the BMW M SUVs. And next year, iconic carmaker Ferrari is all set to make its debut in the segment with the Purosangue—its first ever SUV—that is expected to have as much or more power than the Urus.
Let the races begin.