Aston Martin launches in India

British luxury sports car maker Aston Martin on Friday announced its entry into India, one of the world's fastest-growing automobile markets, with the launch of three models in the country.

Aston Martin, made famous by its exotic cars in James Bond movies, joins Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti and Lamborghini, whose vehicles are sold in India to a growing list of rich sports car enthusiasts.

"India represents a new opportunity for us," said Michael van der Sande, chief commercial officer at Aston Martin.

The iconic carmaker will offer the V8 Vantage, priced at 15.5 million rupees ($348,341), the Rapide at 21.5 million rupees ($483,146) and the One-77 at 200 million rupees ($4.5 million), and will soon add more models, it said.

"India is growing so rapidly that it cannot be ignored," said Lalit Choudhary of Performance Cars, Aston Martin's official dealership in Mumbai.

Aston Martin has sold just 55,000 cars in its 97-year history - and about 5,000 cars each year - to the richest across Europe, the United States and Asia.

The company expects to sell a quarter of its cars to Asian and Middle Eastern countries in the next five years, sales director Bill Donnelly told reporters at the launch.

Donnelly declined to say how many cars the company expected to sell in India.

Aston Martin will open a second dealership in New Delhi by the end of May.

India and China have become key markets for global car manufacturers after growth in their primary markets of Europe and the United States has stagnated in recent years.

Founded in 1914, Aston Martin was sold in 2007 to a consortium that included Kuwait's Investment Dar and Adeem Investment, ending almost 20 years as part of Ford Motor Co.

The opening of the Aston Martin Mumbai showroom boosts the company's global dealership network to a total of 134 dealers in 42 countries.

sal/pmc/je

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