Luxury cars still in demand despite decline in automobile sales

Wednesday 18 December 2013, 11:56 AM by

Although the domestic auto market has seen a decline of 8.15 per cent in car sales, the luxury vehicles segment seems to be unperturbed by this. As per the figures recorded by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), 142849 units of passenger cars were sold in the Indian market during November 2013, which is way short than that in November 2012, wherein a total of 155353 units were sold. Experts believe that high interest rates and inflating fuel prices played a vital role in this depreciation.

However, some domestic buyers are unaffected by the decline and still willing to own a luxurious car, suiting their niche. Global car makers are stocked with orders of the upper crest of the country, who are waiting to get their opulent vehicles delivered. Sources speculate that the trio from Germany, namely Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW, are drizzling in cash due to the demand of their high performance automobiles in India.

Luxury cars still in demand despite decline in automobile sales |
Luxury cars still in demand despite decline in automobile sales

Audi is believed to have sold its 8393 units in India, in the January-October period of 2013, which is followed by Mercedes-Benz that claims to have delivered 6416 units in the same duration. The void created by decline in domestic car sales is optimally utilised by luxury auto brands from all over the world. The international brands, in accumulation, have launched 13 new cars in the high-end luxury segment with the cheapest being Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, priced at Rs. 85 lakh.

Eberhard Kern, Managing Director and Chief Executive of Mercedes-Benz India, said, “It (2013) will clearly end up as the best year that Mercedes has ever achieved in India.” Audi India Head Joe King, on the other hand quoted, “We have moved within striking distance of our goal, of becoming the first luxury car manufacturer in India to cross sales of 10,000 units in a calendar year.” In addition, Stephan Winkelmann, President and Chief Executive Officer of Automobili Lamborghini said, “The high net worth individuals, who are our target customers, are fast growing in India. In the coming years, we expect our sales here to be in the region of 30-40 units a year”.

Recent surveys by Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) make an attempt to fathom this undisturbed demand of luxury class vehicles. The survey claims that luxury car segment expanded to around Rs. 80 billion in the domestic auto market and is expected to increase by 15-20 per cent in coming years. Report also states that, “Luxury car makers are offering schemes like five-month EMI waivers, one year’s worth of free insurance and three years of free maintenance. Moreover, the loan repayment time period for this segment is seven years along with options of flexible EMIs and attractive buyback offers.”

Somehow, the regal class of our society is being accommodated by the moderately rich individuals in funding such hefty amounts. The offers and schemes, as a provision by luxury car dealers, in combination are tempting them largely to transform their dream cars into reality.

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