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Accelerating path for plush thunderers

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Super sports cars are gaining popularity in India and global car makers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi are enhancing their product portfolio with these cars, to cater to a niche but growing segment.

It is estimated that around 100 cars, priced between Rs 1 crore and Rs 2.5 crore, are being bought each year in India and this is estimated to increase 10-fold over the next five-seven years, courtesy the high disposable income, improvement in infrastructure and greater exposure of Indians to foreign markets.

Latest in the offing is the SLS AMG from Mercedes-Benz India. First showcased at the auto expo this January, it is priced between Rs 2 crore and Rs 2.5 crore and the company says it has sold 10 units in the past six months.

“Today, India joins the elite ranks of the first few right-hand drive markets globally to launch this mean machine. Given the strong demand for this car and the fact that this Gullwing super sports car has been introduced in India within the first few weeks of its global production in June, shows the esteem that India as a market holds for us,” said Ola Kaellenius, chief executive officer, Mercedes-AMG.   This is the most expensive sports car from Mercedes and would add to the existing portfolio that includes the SL 63 and 65 from Mercedes-Benz India, the Audi R8, and the M6 convertible and X6M from BMW India. While the Audi R8 comes at Rs 1.17 crore onward, the M6 convertible costs Rs 1.29 crore, the X6M is priced at Rs 1.3 crore and the SL 63 costs Rs 1.86 crore.

 

“The sport car is a sub-segment within the entire product portfolio of BMW in India and the trend is growing for these cars, which have high aspirational value,” a spokesperson of BMW India said. Typically, he said, a BMW customer is in the 35-50 years age bracket.

Companies are already overwhelmed by the response. Audi, for instance has sold more than 25 units of the R8 since its launch in late 2008 and BMW is seeing a continuous increase in demand for its pricey cars, though the company refused to share model-wise numbers.

Analyst feels the appetite for such pricey cars has gone up and will continue to be strong in coming years because of the development of racing tracks in the country and higher income at top-class professional levels.

“The super luxury sport car segment is expected to grow in high double digit to touch over 1,000 units in next five years and this would come on the back of higher cash flow with people at senior levels and speedy infrastructure development in the country,” said Abdul Majeed, analyst, PricewaterhouseCoopers.