China falls in love with life in the fast lane of luxury
Sunday 05 December 2010
While in traditional markets luxury car makers might still be feeling the effects of the world financial crises of 2008, in mainland China things have never been better with astonishing growth figures being recorded as the nation's new wealthy treat themselves to the world's most high-end modes of transport.
The likes of Bentley, BMW and Audi are currently undergoing massive expansion throughout China - Bentley alone have plans for 22 new dealerships in the next 12 months - and it appears the bigger the car the better as far as the Chinese are concerned.
Hence Rolls-Royce sold 500 cars in Great China (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan) in the first 10 months of this year and predicts it will sell 800 in the next 12 months. Bentley, meanwhile, shipped in 559 cars to China in the first 10 months of 2010 - a rise of 71 percent in sales, according to a report on the trend compiled by the marketing consultancy J.D. Power.
In China, Bentley's retail for three million yuan (340,000 euros) while some other makes can fetch as much as nine million yuan (one million euros), the prices bumped up by prohibitive import duties, valued added taxes and consumption taxes that can reach up to 140 percent.
Little worry though to those with the means.
And just how keen international car makers are to keep their Chinese customers happy can be reflected by a story told in Friday's South China Morning Post.
One keen Chinese motorist apparently also had a rather fierce passion for instant noodles - and eating them while driving. No problem, said the people from Bentley, and they soon found it was possible to actually install a microwave oven in one of their cars.
"The guy was very pleased but ultimately didn't order the microwave option. Still it goes to show that whatever our customers dream up, we can make it comes true,'' said Bentley China product manager Rocky Lau.
Sales growth of luxury cars in China from Jan-Oct 2010 (year on year percentage rise): Rolls Royce 438; Mercedes Benz 131; Bentley 71; BMW 69; Audi 53.
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