Singapore topped in Southeast Asia's luxury car sales for 2006 with strong economic growth resulting in a jump in purchases of Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Porsches.
But the biggest passenger car market in the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) turned out to be Malaysia with 400,000 new cars sold from a total of more than a half million vehicles registered there, according to data published in Singapore's Business Times.
Thailand had about 180,000 passenger cars sold in an overall market of nearly 700,000 vehicles while Indonesia notched up 300,000 new vehicles.
In Singapore, an estimated 117,000 new cars were registered in 2006.
Despite a population of only 4.4 million people, a record 29 Lamborghinis were sold in the city state, up 53 per cent from 2005. Ten of the Italian cars were registered in Malaysia and 15 in Thailand.
"This year has the highest sale we ever had because of the economy and two new models," Rocco Basta, regional manager of Automobili Lamborghini, was quoted as saying.
He was referring to the Gallardo Spyder, with a price tag of 838,000 Singapore dollars ($540,000) and the limited edition Murcielago LP640 at 1.18 million Singapore dollars.
Colin Kelly, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars regional director, said buyers in Singapore were influenced by the vibrant economy.
"It is the feel-good factor," he told the newspaper. "In times when the economy is vibrant, the very wealthy people that buy our cars feel more comfortable."
Porsche saw a huge jump with sales of 170 this year, a 35 per cent hike over 2005.
Thailand sold 80 Porsches, up 51 per cent, and Malaysia sold 100, up five per cent.
The more accessible luxury makes such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW have powered ahead with the highest passenger car sales in ASEAN, which consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Mercedes-Benz was expected to end the year with sales of more than 2,100 units and BMW with 3,700 units, the report said.