While the rest of the world faced some kind of financial crisis, China’s love affair with ultra-luxury cars is stronger than ever.
The number of super luxury cars sold in the first nine months of 2010 is pretty staggering.
China became the second-biggest market for Italian luxury sports car maker Lamborghini. The company sold 178 sports cars to Chinese customers in the first three quarters, a 200 percent growth from a year ago. Lamborghini expects to sell 200 cars in 2010, up from the 80 cars it sold in 2009. China’s combined super-sports car market totaled less than 1,000 cars sold a year.
The company hopes to have 20 showrooms in China by the end of 2011 and offer more limited editions. It launched a limited edition of the Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce at the Beijing Auto Show this past April. The 10 cars, with starting prices of 8 million yuan ($1.2 million), sold out within 10 days.
The company also plans to launch the first Lamborghini Club in China. “Our Chinese customers are much younger than the average in other countries. Their desire for an individual and uncompromising lifestyle boosts our local sales. We see increasing demand from the children of the boom generation, some as young as 18 years. It helps to get the local customers on board early and provides us with a promising future in China,” Stephan Winkelmann, president and CEO of Lamborghini, told China Daily.
The secret to Lamborghini’s success is heavy marketing investment.
Bentley sold 559 cars to China in the first 10 months of 2010, up 71 percent according to marketing consultancy J.D. Power.
Bentley is expanding its sales network to 30 by the end of 2014, mainly targeting places with strong economic growth in second-tier cities of Shenyang, Dalian, Taiyuan and Xi’an.
The company is keen on making customers happy. “Whatever our customers dream up, we can make it comes true,” said Bentley China product manager Rocky Lau referring to a customer’s desire to have instant noodles while driving, The Independent reported. Not a problem, Bentley soon found a way to install a microwave oven in one of their cars. The client ended up not ordering the option.
Rolls-Royce sold 500 cars in Great China (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan) in the first 10 months of this year, up from 100 cars for the entire 2009, and expects to sell 800 in the next 12 months.
China could become Rolls-Royce’s biggest market, surpassing the U.S. by early next year, according to Paul Harris, the company’s Asia Pacific regional director. Rolls-Royce may add four more dealers in second-tier cities like Tianjin and Wuhan next year.
The company sells more of its Phantom and Ghost sedans in China. A Rolls-Royce Phantom starts at 6.6 million yuan ($990,000) and a Ghost sells for 4.1 million yuan ($616,000) in China due to higher import luxury tax. In the U.S., the Phantom starts at $380,000. Yet demand remains strong. Bloomberg reported that Chinese customers ordering a Phantom will have to wait until late May to receive their cars.
The Italian luxury car maker Maserati saw a 60 percent sales growth in the first three quarters of 2010. The company now has 11 stores in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian and Qingdao.
On average, the wealthy Chinese consumers own three cars, according to the 2010 Hurun Wealth Report.
photo credit: lamborghini