The Indian unit of Volvo Car Corp, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Co (F.N), expects industry sales of luxury cars to rise to about 10,000 this year from about 7,000 last year and to keep growing in double-digits for some years.
Volvo Cars only entered the Indian market last year and is a small player. It sold about 90 cars in 2008, and expects sales of its 6 models to rise more than 10 percent in 2009 as it seeks to tap a growing market, the Indian unit's Managing Director Paul de Voijs said.
First, there is a huge unsatisfied appetite for luxury cars in the market. Second, most luxury brands are still expanding their dealer network and expanding their portfolio of car lines, de Voijs told Reuters.
Luxury cars account for 0.5 percent of total car sales in India, but the market's potential is attracting new entrants. Tata Motors (TAMO.BO) (TTM.N) recently launched its high-end Jaguar and Land Rover brands, which it bought from Ford in 2008.
Prices for Jaguar cars range from 6.3 million rupees to 9 million rupees ($128,000 to $183,000) while Volvo cars range from 3.8 million rupees to about 5 million rupees.
Russia, where luxury cars are about 5 percent of total sales, is Volvo's largest market among emerging markets, with sales of about 20,000 cars annually, de Voijs said.
India has a bigger population and has more dollar millionaires than Russia... I see no reason why (luxury cars) should not go to 2-3 percent of the market, he said.
Ford put its loss-making Volvo car unit up for sale in December as it looked to cut costs and raise cash, and has been talking to potential buyers, including China's Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp and rival Geely.
From October, Volvo Cars' Indian unit will become a separate unit independent of Ford India, de Voijs said. (Reporting by Janaki Krishnan; Editing by John Mair)