Super-luxury car makers shifting focus back to US and Japan

Article by Anita Panait, on October 4, 2013

Super-luxury car makers have gone back to focusing on more traditional markets like the United States and Japan, following years of benefiting from high demand for their products in China. Lamborghini chief executive Stephan Winkelmann told Bloomberg in an interview that the US is getting back on track and becoming more important for the carmaker, adding that there is a slowdown in high-end luxury in China.

He noted that demand for the Lamborghini Aventador flagship in the US is growing at a rate similar to the period before the 2008 global financial crisis. Winkelmann noted that Japan is also back as a prime target, thanks to efforts by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in reviving the economy. Super-luxury car makers Ferrari and Rolls-Royce have expressed the same concerns. This implies that China is no longer the driver of growth it was three years ago.

Greatly affecting sales for luxury products in China are the country’s slowing economy as well as its government’s move against lavish spending. Andreas Graef, a consultant at A.T. Kearney, remarked that luxury carmakers and a lot of high-class restaurants are suffering in China, showing how the country’s millionaires and billionaires are becoming more cautious of how they show off their wealth.

He remarked that the US is currently the strongest market globally, adding that demand for luxury cars in China is unlikely to experience the growth it had in the past years. A.T. Kearney said that sales of vehicles priced over CHY2 million ($327,000) surged to 9,000 in 2011 from 2,500 in 2009. The figure, however, dropped to 8,000 in 2012. Zhu Bin, senior analyst at researcher LMC Automotive in Shanghai told Bloomberg that "all luxury consumption has been squeezed" in China.

Topics: united states, japan

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