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High-end luxury cars run out of stock
Super luxury cars such as the Mercedes Benz AMG, Jaguar XJ and Audi R8 are flying off the shelf, with several models running out of stock as customers rush to beat an impending price increase of about 25% from April 1.
The budget decision to increase import duty on fully built cars costing more than $40,000 (approx Rs 22 lakh) to 100% from 75% has made affluent Indians line up for their dream machines, bringing a minor but much-needed movement in a static Indian car market.
"We have seen high traction for our sedans and our award-winning M-Class SUV that now enjoys a waiting period of four months," Eberhard Kern, MD and CEO at Mercedes-Benz India, said.
According to industry estimates, the country has sold 750-800 super luxury cars in March, more than double the monthly average of 300-350 imported vehicles. Buoyed, the luxury carmakers are now hopeful of maintaining this traction next year as well despite steep increase in the prices of imported vehicles.
"Going by the current market trend, we expect to maintain the positive growth traction rest of the year with some fascinating product launches lined up," Kern said, although he agreed that the price increase will be the highest for select models. Mercedes Benz SLS AMG, for example, is expected to cost Rs 50 lakh more from Monday (see graphic. The development clearly suggests that despite the overall slowdown in economy, the country's wealthy are willing to splurge on high luxury if there is good value proposition.