Luxury car segment in India

Being a small car market, India was never a favorite destination for top car manufacturers in the world. It’s a different story today. The great Indian auto industry has stunned the world by becoming one of the fastest growing auto industries in the world today. Almost every luxury car maker has set up their base in India today, including Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, BMW, AUDI, Bentley, Rolls Royce, and a few more are on their way. For the past two calendar years, 2009 and 2010, BMW came out on top as they sold the highest number of cars in the luxury segment in India.

BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi are the 3 dominant German car manufacturers who are ruling the roost in the country’s luxury car segment today. All 3 have around 8-10 models in India which compete right from price points to performance. BMW 3 Series, Mercedes Benz C Class, Audi A4 and Nissan Teana are the lowest priced entry point cars for each respective manufacturer. They are priced between Rs. 22 lakhs, and Rs. 35 lakhs. At next level we have the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes Benz E Class, Jaguar XF, Volvo C70, Volvo S80 and Audi A6 which are available between Rs. 35 lakhs and Rs. 60 lakhs.

In the premium luxury car segment, BMW has the 7 Series, Mercedes Benz has S Class, Audi has A8, and Jaguar has XFR and XKR with all these cars available for a price between Rs. 75 lakhs and Rs. 1.2 crores. The super luxury segment has even powerful engine specs, and higher standards of luxury. In this segment we have, Bentley Continental, Rolls Royce Phantom and Rolls Royce Ghost, Mercedes Benz S Class S63 AMG and S65 AMG, which are priced between Rs. 1.5 crores to Rs. 4.5 crores.

With Mercedes Benz having been the only luxury car provider in India for decades, it may come as a surprise to some to see BMW being the luxury car leader in India for the past two years despite having made an entry only in 2006. Effective marketing and a range of luxury cars saw the company emerge as leaders within 3 years. Audi too set up their production plant at Aurangabad in 2006, and has been a force to reckon with ever since. Increased activity in the luxury car market in India can be attributed to growing disposable income, and increase in the number of high net worth individuals. Better job prospects have certainly ensured a great pay package for many, and thus buying luxury cars has become a possibility.

The Indian auto market rode on the inflation tide while other countries got sucked into recessionary patterns. The auto industry in India kept the economy afloat, and buying luxury cars became a possibility. Seeing an opportunity, more and more luxury car manufacturers have chosen to set up shop in India. Current statistics reflect a slight slump in the Indian car market with growth trends returning to single digit percentages, and some of this trend could ebb the Indian luxury car market too. Audi chalked up a sales target of 4500 vehicles in India for 2011 at the start of the year and then revised the figure to 5000. BMW has marked their target sales figure at 10, 000 cars, with Mercedes Benz following suit.