After opening its first dealership in India last year and selling 17 cars there, Automobili Lamborghini SpA cut the proverbial ribbon Monday on its second store on the Asian subcontinent, in Badarpur, a posh area in southern Delhi.
India is home to an estimated 12 million individuals with between $1 million and $5 million in liquid financial assets, according to the World Wealth Report 2013 by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management, and the Italian super-luxury sports carmaker has joined other high-end car companies in courting this growing consumer market.
"The high-net-worth individuals, who are our target customers, are fast growing in India,” Lamborghini President and CEO Stephen Winkelmann told reporters at the opening. “In the coming years, we expect our sales here to be about 30-40 units a year.”
The 50-year-old boutique carmaker, based in the northern Italian town of Sant'Agata Bolognese, owned by German auto giant Volkswagen AG (FRA:VOW3), sold 17 Laborghinis in India last year through its Mumbai dealership that opened in April 2012. A third dealership is in the works for Bangalore.
It’s common for foreign producers to open first in Mumbai, the nation’s commercial center, followed by India’s capital Delhi, because that’s where the highest concentrations of consumers with high disposable incomes are located. Mumbai is particularly attractive due to the large number of cities surrounding it with populations greater than 100,000 people. Bangalore is considered the third-best location due to the concentration of wealthier consumers in the country’s south.
Volkswagen has been the most successful in India’s luxury market this year, with its Audi overtaking Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW) of Muenchen, Germany, in sales. Audi saw a 19 percent increase in India sales in the first seven months of the year, to 5,551 units, according to company sales figures. However, Mercedes-Benz, owned by Stuttgart-based Daimler AG (FRA:DAI), recovered its top position in India’s luxury market after losing to Auti and BMW in 2010, according to the Times of India. Mercedes pulled ahead of BMW in the first quarter and sold 105 more cars than Audi in July, to 810 units, on robust demand for the A Class and B Class compact models.
Luxury and super-luxury automakers have been looking to India to replace flagging sales in China, where a crackdown on government and military officials’ purchases of imported luxury cars has caused sales to retreat. Calling China “a challenge,” Winkelmann said Lamborghini will sell about 30 fewer of its $300,000-plus sports cars, including the new Aventador LP 700-4, in China this year, or 200 units. China remains Lamborghini’s second- largest market after the United States.