Which car you drive has long been established as a symbol of status. That doesn’t look set to change, and in emerging nations where consumers are eager to make a statement about their newfound wealth luxury carmakers are enjoying strong sales.
According to a recent article in the Economic Times, China is the global driving force for premium luxury cars as consumer enthusiasm fuels sales. This is perhaps not surprising given China is close to having one million millionaires with a personal wealth of 10 million yuan or more – up 9.7 percent from last year.
At the Shanghai Auto Show last week, British car manufacturer Aston Martin claimed that all of its five One-77 cars for the China market were ordered even before the Auto Show opened to public, demonstrating the strength of the demand.
According to Zhong Shi, a Beijing-based auto analyst interviewed for the Economic Times article, “Chinese consumers love to show off their wealth by having unique luxury products or getting them one step ahead of the others.”
This clearly reflects the habits of a Lambda personality type who are likely to make choices based on how it will help them stand out and benchmarks them against others. This is in contrast to a Theta personality type who, instead of wanting to stand out, would seek to contextualize themselves, and so perhaps would not always be driving demand.
Stephan Winkelmann, president and chief executive officer of Italian super sports carmaker Lamborghini, says China will be Lamborghini’s biggest market this year, after its sales nearly tripled year-on-year in 2010. Other high-end carmakers such as Ferrari have similar expectations.
For an insight into how luxury carmakers evolve over many generations, and continue to meet emerging market demand, you may be interested to read this interview between the CEO of Rolls-Royce, perhaps the most renowned luxury carmaker of all time, and Forbes India.