Indian Luxury Segment Heats Up
By Brendan Moore
As we’ve noted before, the Indian auto market is red-hot, and that heat has now radiated out to the luxury segment. The luxury segment, which is referred to as the “super-luxury” part of the market in India has experienced approximately 26% growth in 2007 as Indian buyers of means flex their economic muscle. The Indian super-luxury market basically consists of Mercedes-Benz and BMW currently, and almost all of those sales are C-Class and 3-Series respectively, but that is set to change very shortly.
In 2008 Chrysler, Lexus, Renault, Alfa Romeo and Maserati are scheduled to start selling their luxury cars in India. But hold the phone, because now Nissan is also making noises about introducing their Infiniti brand to Indian buyers.
According to The Economic Times of India, Nissan Motor Director (marketing & sales) Neeraj Garg stated: “We are strongly considering the Infiniti range for the Indian market as there is immense potential for such luxury vehicles. Like all premium car makers we are also studying the growing market though we are yet to commission any market study to determine the right potential for such a brand.”
However, according to other sources within Nissan and the Indian press, the decision has already been made (but not publicly announced) to bring most of the Infiniti line into the Indian market next year in order for Nissan to have a presence in the growing luxury market.
The rumors are also rife in India of Volkswagen making a full-frontal assault on the Indian luxury market by offering its full Audi lineup as well as the Volkswagen Phaeton luxury sedan and the highest-trim Volkswagen Touareg. VW has promised that they will go after the Indian market with a vengeance and there is no reason to doubt their resolve at this point. They have dipped their toe in the luxury market with tiny numbers of the Audi A6 sold so far, but you can expect they’ll have a bigger presence in this segment going forward.
All in all, these are exciting times for the Indian auto enthusiast, and even more exciting times for the auto manufacturers in India, as they cannot help but salivate at the prospect of all the new buyers available to them in India going forward.
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