After years of speculation and rumors, Lamborghini made it official today that it’s moving ahead with plans to produce a new SUV. The new model will be built in Italy at Lamborghini’s Sant’Agata plant and will be introduced as a 2018 model.

"The introduction of a third model signifies for us the beginning of a new era," said Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann in a statement to Reuters and Automotive News. It’s the second SUV from Lamborghini, after the LM002 pseudo-military vehicle, which was produced from 1986 until 1993.

The new project represents an enormous investment over the course of the new model’s life cycle. Lamborghini aims to build around 3,000 annually, which would more than double its total 2014 output. As such, Lamborghini will hire 500 new employees and nearly double the size of its factory in Sant’Agata.

As we reported earlier this month, the project is being partially funded by about €100 million worth of tax breaks and incentives, courtesy of the Italian government. The deal has been in the works for a few weeks and was made official when Winkelmann and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi met in Rome to sign a letter of intent.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

With unemployment hovering around 13 percent, Italy’s economy has been mired in recession since the Euro crises of 2011. The deal is part of a broader effort from the Italian government to spark job growth, particularly in the manufacturing sector. The hope is that large-scale projects like this will have a ripple effect and spark growth among suppliers as well.

No technical specifics were revealed during the announcement, but we’re still expecting the new SUV to take a page or two from the Urus concept from 2012.

No technical specifics were revealed during the announcement, but we’re still expecting the new SUV to take a page or two from the Urus concept from 2012. It will be built on the same Volkswagen SUV platform that underpins the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and the new Bentley Bentayga. Volkswagen’s plant in Bratislava, Slovakia plays a large role in the production Volkswagen Group’s SUVs, but it’s not clear what role it will play for the Lamborghini SUV, if any.

Engines are a bigger question mark. Lamborghini’s 5.2-liter V-10 from the Huracán was the most likely candidate (you might remember that Volkswagen sold a TDI version of the Touareg with a 5.0-liter V-10, so it would definitely fit), but that seems a bit less likely now.

China is expected to be the new SUV’s largest market, but Lamborghini has had a hard time moving cars there due to high taxes on cars with engines larger than 4.0-liters. A business case could be made for the V-10 in other markets, but expect a smaller-displacement engine option for China.

Lamborghini Urus

2012 Lamborghini Urus High Resolution Exterior
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You can check our speculative review of the upcoming Urus here.

Source: Automotive News

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