Even as many were writing off the luxury market, given the uncertainties that the pandemic led to, high-end cars inexplicably saw an uptick. Professionals from sectors that did well upgraded their vehicles to luxury ones during 2021.

“We had healthy demand by June — with our new products as well as market recovery. This will not be our best year, but we should not forget supply constraints because of chip shortages,” says Martin Schwenk, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India.

The market leader in India had sold 8,958 units, as of the September quarter this year.

Balbir Singh Dhillon, Head, Audi India, says the luxury car market is showing signs of revival, as the industry emerges from a recessionary phase.

“Audi continues to attract mindshare, which has translated into growth of over a 100 per cent in the year-to-date period of 2021. We expect this growth to continue.”

Dhillon says in 2022, they will be bullish on products. “One of our key launches will be SUV, Audi Q7, followed by a strategic mix of our volume and top-end models. The luxury car market, especially EVs, is showing encouraging signs and the pace will pick up,” he says.

BMW Group India, too, did not lag behind. From refreshed model launches — like new X5 xDriveSportX Plus to BMW Individual 740Li M Sport Edition — the company offered something new to its customers.

Its first BMW electric all-wheel drive vehicle, the iX, is already sold out through online bookings. Deliveries will start by beginning of April 2022. BMW will launch two more EVs in the next two months — the mini electric and the i4 electric sedan.

Significantly, in 2021 despite some delays because of the local shut downs, the car makers kept their product lines moving with a slew of new additions. Vikram Pawah, President, BMW, says, “Currently, we have 80 touch points and we will add another 12 within the next 12 months.”

Porsche India too is expanding its national dealer network. “Our customers helped us achieve a bounce-back in the first half of the year. Demand is high, evident from strong sales across the country and most recently with a 96-per cent gain in the third quarter over our 2019 sales. This result also records a 24 per cent increase over our previous best third quarter, recorded back in 2014,” says Manolito Vujicic, Brand Director, Porsche.

Analysts estimate that the luxury car market may close 2021 with sales of 24,500 units, which is better than 2020 numbers of around 18,000 units.

However, as a Delhi-based analyst points out, “In terms of numbers, we are set back 10 years, because in 2011 we had the same sales numbers of around 24,500 units. That time, there were fewer brands and models as compared to the last five years.”