Retail gurus will testify that when there is a slowdown, it’s the brand in the middle that gets hit the hardest: Everyday, essentials stay steady but super luxury lifestyle choices remain unaffected.
Lamborghini India, which is led by the newly-formed Skoda Auto Volkswagen India (SAVWIPL), seems to be paying heed to the mantra.
The supercar brand recently opened a brand new showroom at Prabhadevi in Mumbai, as a part of an initiative that will proceed to overhaul other existing dealerships, which include New Delhi and Bengaluru, over the next few weeks.
While these are small in numbers, exotic car showrooms are typically expensive propositions with large-format dealerships in swanky addresses and interiors that can run into millions of dollars. In fact, these dealerships have to follow the corporate identity protocol established by the parent company.
Lamborghini’s new 2,500-square-feet showroom run by dealer Infinity Cars in Prabhadevi features slick minimalist architecture, flat panel TVs and costs as much as Rs 5 crore to kit out interiors alone.
Also, Delhi will see a revamped showroom kick off on Saturday and Bengaluru will have to wait till November.
Sharad Agarwal, country head for Lamborghini, also launched the Huracan Evo Spyder at the newly-minted showroom. The Huracan Evo Spyder is a convertible sports car priced at Rs 4.10 crore (ex showroom).
The model is the fourth new car in the brand line-up that also includes the Urus SUV, the Aventador, and the Huracan Evo, all of which are BSVI compliant, adds Agarwal.
Last year, Lamborghini sold around 45 cars, higher than other sports car brands such as Ferrari and Aston Martin, thanks largely to volumes driven by the new Urus SUV.
Since it was launched, the Urus has sold 50 units at an ex show room price that is over Rs 3 crore and accounts for around Rs 150 crore in revenue.
Agarwal says the company is on track to hit sales of 60 units this year of which he expects around 10 to come from the newly launched convertible.
Lamborghini is the top-performing super sports car badge in the country, selling ahead of competition.
Porsche, the other sporty car badge, which is also owned and operated by SAVWIPL, sells more but at lower price points and most of its models don’t qualify as super cars.
Do convertibles thrill Indian auto enthusiasts, given the environment on Indian roads?
After all, sound pollution, dust and the omnipresent risk of a piece of trash or paan spittle from a passing bus is a common risk for a driver of an open-top car?
“There’s not much you can do about the environment but there is a small segment of buyers who buy such cars for the sheer passion of motoring and that won’t change,” Agarwal says.
Lamborghini and its parent company are clearly of the opinion that the automotive downturn in India will be short-lived.
But do dealers share the same optimism?
Lalit Chaudhary says that for his auto dealer company Infinity Cars, which operates some 20 showrooms across India, the addition of Lamborghini adds the supercar element to the existing brands in his portfolio.
His other brands include BMWs, Mini Cooper and Aston Martin. His point is that after a customer has bought and experienced a few premium cars such as the BMW, it does become natural to then aspire to climb the value chain to sports cars.