Leading luxury carmakers expect 2022 to turn out to be the best ever in terms of sales, bettering the 2019 volumes, as the demand remains robust for high-end models. The companies also expect the ongoing festive season to be robust in terms of dispatches despite the chip shortage woes continuing.
The domestic luxury car volumes stood at around 40,000 units in 2019, the best ever dispatches recorded by the industry in a year so far. "The industry has become more resilient and with the third wave of Covid not being so severe, there has been a steady revival," Lexus India President Naveen Soni told PTI in an interaction.
V-shaped recovery path
The luxury car market is on V-shaped recovery path with strong demand from the luxury consumers mainly attributed to change in consumer behaviour, more successful start-ups, younger affluent consumers and local production leading to a higher sense of value, he added. Soni noted that the current year has started well, both for the industry and for Lexus India.
"We are hoping that the demand for luxury cars will exceed the pre-pandemic level of 2019, which was the highest ever while the demand for Lexus in India has crossed our highest ever demand this July since the launch of operations in 2017," he added.
When asked about festive season sales Soni stated: "We are looking at demand for Lexus cars to be three times of the best demand we have seen since the brand launch in 2017." Lexus cars being hybrids are high on technology with higher dependence on semiconductor availability, however, the brand is trying its best to deliver cars to customers on time, he added.
‘Customer sentiment remains very positive’
Mercedes-Benz India MD & CEO Martin Schwenk said the company expects the strong sales momentum from the second quarter to continue in the coming festive period, as the customer sentiment remains very positive. "The challenges, however, continue to be on the supply side, as we expect the semiconductor shortage to sustain during the festive period," he added.
The company's product launches however remain unchanged and it will bring in the much awaited EQS luxury sedan this festive period both in its AMG and series versions, Schwenk noted. Echoing similar sentiments, Audi India said the demand in the last few months has grown steadily and the carmaker expects this to continue in the period ahead.
"We are working relentlessly with our HQ to get additional allocations for India, to fulfil this growing demand," Audi India Head Balbir Singh Dhillon stated. Having said that, one cannot disregard the fact that waiting period for company cars have gone up owing to demand and supply mismatch, he added.
‘Many global challenges‘
"It is also important to mention that the prevailing global challenges are not only impacting adequate supply of new cars, but also instilling a pressure on the prices," Dhillon stated. The company expects good growth on the back of sustained demand models like A4, A6, Q5,Q7 and Q8, he added. Besides, it expects the recently launched A8 L and new Q3 to also witness strong pull during the period this year.
Currently, luxury car volumes account for less than 2 per cent of the overall passenger vehicle sales annually and the sector has been more or less at the same level for the past decade. Luxury models in India attract the top GST slab of 28 per cent with an additional cess of 20 per cent on sedans and 22 per cent on SUVs, taking the total tax incidence to up to 50 per cent.