Porsche told Bloomberg it made the offroad 911 Dakar to capitalize on a new wave of customers who have camped, hiked, skied and off-roaded with their 911s.
Lamborghini executives cannot claim their customers behave the same way with their Huracans. Unlike Porsche, the Italian company do not even have a cross-country race car with rally wins somewhere in their heritage.
“We were very inspired by the rally races and cars from the 1980s,” says Rouven Mohr, Lamborghini’s chief technology officer. During a phone interview, he says he has been toying with the idea of an off-road Lamborghini since at least 2017. The project was put on ice until Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini’s president and CEO, retook the helm in 2020.
“Winkelmann came in and said, ‘Why did this car not get made? You should do it.’”
There is genuine financial incentive behind making wild, limited-edition versions of existing models, said Michael Dean, senior European automotive analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, in an email.
Small production numbers and “specialness” can command high price premiums and bolster profit margins—which is particularly critical for companies considering initial public offerings.
“Given Porsche is now listed, and Lamborghini’s next in the IPO list, these limited editions show they can match Ferrari’s business model with very lucrative sports car derivatives,” Dean said.
“Lamborghini has actually overtaken Ferrari’s EBIT margin [operating earnings over operating sales] this year. For them it’s a case of showcasing new technology and continuing to build the brand, as well as underpinning the margin.”
Mohr says that although the close timing for the two vehicles was unintentional, Lamborghini and Porsche (both controlled by Volkswagen Group) shared ideas during the development processes.
In fact, Lamborghini has done nearly as much to hype up this Huracan for overlanding use as Porsche did with the 911 Dakar.
Underneath the hood, this Huracan has a 610-hp, V-10 engine that goes zero to 62 mph (100 kph) in 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 160 mph (257 kph).
By comparison, the Huracan STO gets to 62 mph in just under 2.6 seconds and has a top speed of 196 mph.
Production of the limited-edition Huracan Sterrato will begin in Feb. 2023, with pre-orders starting by the end of this year.
A total of 1,499 cars will be made and sold worldwide. While there is no significance to the number, it does reflect increased production volumes that were raised after preliminary photos of the vehicle resulted in higher-than-anticipated demand, a spokesperson said.
Pricing in Europe will start at 263,000 euros ($272,0000).