Industry

Luxury car brands bet on super-rich

Eberhard Kern, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India,, at the launch of new C-Class in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Eberhard Kern, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India,, at the launch of new C-Class in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma  

Italian super-luxury sports car manufacturer Lamborghini has spread its wings in India.

And, it has just opened a dealership in Bengaluru, the IT (information technology) capital of the country. It has already a dealership in Mumbai, the financial capital, and Delhi, the political capital.

At a price tag of over Rs. 1 crore, who will buy a Lamborghini car? Rather, what gives the Italian car maker the confidence to not only drive into India but also expand its presence?

The choice of its locations for dealership gives a clue or two to its game plan, and also an insight into its prospective customer profile.

While dealerships in Mumbai and Delhi are understandable considering the wealth and power that reside in these two metros, the choice of Bengaluru to locate it new dealership indicates that the Italian company is betting big on the neo rich who have sprouted in big numbers in the wake of an unprecedented growth experienced by this city. If super-luxury brand like Lamborghini is sensing an unfolding big opportunity in a New India, other traditional global luxury car makers have turned very ambitious with new launches. Despite high import duty barriers, global luxury car markers continue to believe that roll out new models and ramp up dealerships in a bid to sustain the appetite of India’s super rich for expensive cars is only likely to grow.

After the launch of BMW M5, priced at Rs.1.35 crore, on Monday, its German rival Mercedes-Benz launched next-generation C-Class, priced at Rs.40.9 lakh in New Delhi on Tuesday. The C-Class is one of the most successful products of Merc in India. It has so far sold over 20,000 units C-class in India.

Till date, Lamborghini had sold around 94 sports cars in the country.

It said the high import duty would impact the company’s sales in India, and 2014 might see a lower volume. In 2013, it sold around 22 super-luxury sports cars in India.

“The import duty in India is higher than many other countries. We want to sell more cars in the country but the import duty in India is high as much as 167 per cent. This huge import tax will impact the sales of the super cars in the country,” said Automobili Lamborghini President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann.

Apart from the high import duty, the late launch of its new model Huracan into India market was another reason for lower sales this year. The company expects to improve the sales next year.

Lamborghini is also considering the possibility of launching its SUV in India by 2018. In April 2012 the company showcased its concept SUV at the Beijing Auto Show.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 4:43:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/luxury-car-brands-bet-on-superrich/article6633613.ece

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