At a time when the small car market is shrinking in the country,the sale of luxury cars continues to see healthy growth across India,including the rich northern states. High interest rates and rising fuel prices are making middle class buyers put off their plans to get a four-wheeler home while the landlords and business tycoons of north India continue to splurge on big machines.
While small car makers may suffer stagnancy in sales this year too,market analysts in the region are split in their opinion about the kind of business that luxury cars will do in 2012. While some say that growth in this segment too is likely to be flat this year,others predict a good increase in the sale of luxury cars in the region.
There is reason for the dichotomy in their opinion. In north India and also across the country,luxury cars saw a growth of 35 per cent in 2011. Leading car dealers paint a gloomy picture for this year and do not want to be identified,saying that it s against the global policy of their brands. They feel that the demand for luxury cars too will shrink.
Speaking off the record,a major dealer of a luxury car brand in Chandigarh said that the 35 per cent growth occurred in the first six-seven months of the year only. The rest of the year,about August onwards,was very difficult. I see the same pattern continuing through 2012 too, he said.
But others dont see that happening and are more optimistic about growth prospects this year,given the big appetite that the rich landlords and business tycoons in north India have for flashy,grand dream machines. Bhalinder Sangha,an automobile consultant who is a test driver with Mercedes,said that the growth is likely to touch 25 per cent this year.
The aggressive plans of luxury car companies to woo buyers will further expand their market. These are buyers who like to change their car every two years,and the attractive financing and leasing plans of the automobile majors will help them achieve impressive growth figures, he contended.
In such a scenario,Rolls Royce,the car maker associated with royalty and the uber-rich,is setting up base in the city. Yadur Kapur,who is opening the dealership here,said that demand from the region was so good that the company decided to open its dealership here too. The dealership is likely to open in June and will be the fourth in the country after Delhi,Mumbai and Hyderabad.
In India,the starting price of a Rolls Royce Ghost is Rs 2.65 crore and it goes up to Rs 4.15 crore for a Rolls Royce Phantom. The other uber-expensive super luxury cars in the Indian market are the Mercedes-Benz Maybach,the Bentley Azure and the Lamborghini Murcielago,all in the bracket of Rs 3 crore to Rs 5 crore. Among the most expensive cars seen in India and zooming way ahead in terms of pricing is the Bugatti Veyron,priced at Rs 18 crore.