High end luxury cars expand retail presence in India

Lamborghini is among the latest international luxury car brands to announce the expansion of its presence in India, adding a second dealership  after the Mumbai one which opened earlier this year. The company estimates it will sell 30 units in 2012. 

Ferrari, which opened its first dealership in the country in May, in New Delhi, says it plans to open four more by the end of next year. The outlook for Ferrari may be brighter as the sports-car maker begins to offer its full range of cars including the California model from 22.7 million rupees and the 34.2 million rupee four-seat FF, according to Ashish Chordia, chairman of dealer Shreyans Group.

Aston Martin has met 24 of its 30-car sales target for the year, since opening its Mumbai showroom in April, according to Lalit Choudary, director of the dealership. The sales included the 21.5-million rupee Rapide sedan and 14.5-million rupee V8 Vantage.

Maserati will open dealerships in Mumbai and New Delhi by March, according to Anubhav Sharma, a spokesman for Shreyans, which also owns the dealership rights to the brand in India.

“The wealth at the top of the pyramid is growing at a much faster pace,” said Deepesh Rathore, the New Delhi-based managing director in India for IHS Automotive. “Every month there is a new segment of buyers for these cars. People don’t take out loans to buy a Lamborghini.”

 The growing wealth is expected to drive demand for exotic cars — including Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Bentley — to about 500 a year by 2020, from 180 last year, IHS estimates.A.T. Kearney estimates the Indian luxury-car market will grow 32 percent a year over the next five years from $745 million in 2009.

With mainstream cars, sales are slowing after the Reserve Bank of India raised interest rates 12 times since mid-March 2010 to rein in inflation, sapping consumer demand in a country where about 80 percent of purchases are funded by loans.

Industrywide car sales fell 1.8 percent to 165,925 in September, the third-straight month that deliveries have dropped, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. The industry group, which has cut its annual growth forecast twice this year, estimates growth of as low as 2 percent in the year ending March 31, 2012.

adapted from Bloomberg