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Super luxury cars bond with India, with a bevy in sight

autos Updated: Apr 07, 2011 21:25 IST
Sumant Banerji

As affluence grows in the emerging economy, high-end luxury cars are lining up in a big way to woo Indian customers. And this month, the crowd is getting bigger as European icons like Italian Maserati and James Bond's Aston Martin roll on to the country's roads.

Turin based Italian carmaker Fiat's sub brand Maserati made its way into the country with its three cars on Wednesday. The cars would cost between R1.2 and 5 crore including the Quattroporte sedan that is expected to sell in bigger numbers. Next in line is British car maker Bentley that launched its Continental GT with a price tag of over Rs 1.5 crore on Thursday.

"We have been eyeing this market since 2005," said Simone Niccolai, Maserati's MD for Asia-Pacific.

The luxury car deluge began last November with the world's most expensive car Bugatti Veyron, which was followed by the reintroduction of Maybach. The entry of Ferrari, Koenigsegg and Maserati would perhaps be capped when Aston Martin drives into the country later this month.

Part of this rush can be attributed to the growth of BMW, Mercedes and Audi and to the performance of Rolls Royce, Bentley, Porsche and Lamborghini that are already here. Rolls Royce saw its sales in India shoot from just 10 cars in 2009 to 70 in 2010 while the troika of BMW, Mercedes and Audi sold over 15,000 cars last year.

Even then, sale of super cars in India is not even 1,000 units a year, against US where Maserati sells 2,000 a year.

"The change that I have witnessed is that people always had the money but now they are no longer afraid to reward themselves," said Ashish Chordia, CEO, Shreyans Group, the official importer for Porsche, Ferrari and Maserati cars in India.