British super-luxury car maker Bentley launched its new premium sedan — the Flying Spur — in India at a price of `3.1 crore but expressed disappointment at the slow progress of the domestic market for super luxury cars over the last decade.
Regional manager, India, Chris Buxton (R), and MD, Exclusive Motors, Satya Bagla (L) pose with Bentley’s Flying Spur in New Delhi on Monday: Photo: Jasjeet Plaha/HT
Bentley entered India in 2003, around the same time as it did in China, Russia and Korea. But while it has struck gold abroad, its sales in India languish at double digits .
“Back in 2003 when we were getting into these strategic markets our forecast for the decade was we expected India to be bigger than what it is and China to be smaller,” said Geoff Dowding, regional director, UK, middle East and Asia, Bentley. “The Chinese boom cannot be replicated here but we are disappointed by the taxation. We thought in 2003 that taxes would gradually come down in a staggered manner as the market evolves. Instead, it has gone up.”
Bentley is hoping to sell nearly 50 cars in India this year. The increase in duties on imported cars in 2012 and earlier this year has surprised the company.
However it is hopeful that its first ever sports utility vehicle to be launched in 2016 will find many takers in India, which contributes less than 1% to its 10,000 units annual sales.