Lamborghini is bullish on India, having recently sold its 300th car in the country. Sharad Agarwal, Head, Lamborghini India speaks to Business Today about the Indian market, the impact of the pandemic and the revival of the sector. Here are the edited excerpts from an interview:
How have your sales been in the past year?
Lamborghini is leading the super luxury segment in India, and we have consistently grown our business volumes since we started our operations in India in 2012. 2020 was a tough year as we had challenges both on the demand and supply side due to the pandemic. However, we started witnessing a positive trend since October 2020, and at the beginning of 2021 we forecasted that this is going to be another record year for Lamborghini in India.
We had the second wave during the second quarter which had an impact. However, post the second wave we are seeing a sharper V-shaped recovery and the demand rebounding back much faster, and we are confident of achieving our objectives for 2021. Earlier this year in March, we also delivered the 100th Urus in India and the new milestone of fastest 100 achieved by any model in the super luxury segment. We also recently concluded "Lamborghini Day" where we celebrated the milestone number of 300 Lamborghini cars in the country.
We expect the growth trajectory to continue for the coming years and are confident of 2021 being another record year for our business and performance in India.
How important is India as a market for you?
India is one of the strategic markets for Lamborghini and represents an incredible opportunity, one in which we are performing very strongly. The super luxury market in India is still very niche and within the niche segment, we have performed very well and have grown consistently. Given the size and the way businesses are growing in India and the future potential for growth this country holds, there is a strong medium- to long-term potential for luxury and super luxury cars in the market. If you look at Lamborghini, it has been continuously growing in this market despite various ups and downs that you have seen in the super luxury segment. And this is the trend which we want to continue with the brand and business in India.
While the super luxury segment in India is very small and niche, in the last few years the segment is witnessing very exciting trends. Earlier, the demand in this segment was largely concentrated in metros, and the tier 1 & 2 cities were contributing single digit to our business volumes. Today, these cities contribute to 25 per cent of our business.
Also, earlier the demand was largely from third- or fourth-generation business entrepreneurs and now we are witnessing increasing demand from first- and second-generation business entrepreneurs, we are witnessing people from the start-up world coming and buying Lamborghinis, and we are also increasingly growing our share of women buyers. These are very exciting trends giving us the cue for the future potential of business in India.
To drive future growth for our business we are working on two key strategic pillars -- one is how can we bring our new models faster to the India market for our customers here to enjoy their cars at the same time as other customers in other parts of the world. When we launched the Urus (super SUV), India was one of the top five markets to launch the car, and with the Huracán EVO, we were the first market in the world to launch the car.
We recently also launched our new model Huracán STO in six cities in the country. So, we are bringing new models faster to the India market. The second key strategic pillar which we are working on is on how to create experiences for our customers in India so that they can enjoy their Lamborghinis in the Indian environment. We have the 'Lamborghini Day' platform which gives our customers an experience of driving their Lamborghini in a city environment and we also have Lamborghini GIRO which are longer drives that bring the experience of driving Lamborghini on some of the best highways in the country.
We strongly believe that India represents an incredible opportunity, one in which we are performing very strongly. We are optimistic about our scope in India.
How has the pandemic impacted you?
Lamborghini is about dreams and aspirations, and during the pandemic, the customers were not in the best frame of mind to experience luxury and lifestyle. The pandemic has moved consumers to assess their spends on luxury this past year and during this time customer priorities, preferences and needs have altered as the luxury segment is reliant on emotions. However, their dreams and aspirations did not alter. Customers looking to buy our cars, continue to hold their passion and aspiration to fulfill their dream of owning a Lamborghini in high regard, despite the pandemic.
2020 was a tough year and there were challenges both on demand and supply side. The super luxury segment declined the most at 30 per cent in India. However, we started witnessing recovery from September 2020 onwards and our order bank for the October-March 2021 period grew by 20 per cent vis-à-vis the same period in previous years. We had the second wave in April-May which again impacted business. However, this time we witnessed a sharper V-shaped recovery for our business and segment. This was driven mainly by two factors. First, after the second wave, we were more aware of the impact of the pandemic on businesses and on our lives. People chose to embrace it as a daily part of their routine and made adjustments to fit in with this new environment. Second, the mass vaccination drive carried out by the government also made a difference. Their commitment to ensure everyone's safety further instilled confidence in people to establish a sense of normalcy within the new circumstances. These two factors mainly helped the market bounce back quicker than anticipated.
In 2021, while the overall segment may still reach the 2019 level, we are confident of achieving our business objectives and will have another record year for Lamborghini in India. We will be performing better than in 2019.
What kind of growth are you looking at?
We have been growing consistently in India since we have started our operations. We believe that India has huge potential to grow and if there is consistency in the policy and tax structure in the market we anticipate that we will continue to have strong double-digit growth in coming years.
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