India is among the biggest automotive markets globally, however the major chunk of sales come through budget vehicles priced under Rs 10 Lakh. Having said that, India is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world and there's no dearth of luxury and performance car buyers, and metro cities are a living proof of the same. Lamborghini, the Italian supercar maker, has been a go-to choice of niche exotic car buyers in India for many years now and the brand is performing very strongly. We got in touch with Sharad Agarwal, Head of Automobili Lamborghini India to understand the brand's journey in India and the road ahead. Here's our conversation-
How important is Indian market for Lamborghini and how’s the business going?
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. Prior to the pandemic, all global launches were followed promptly by the product introduction in India making the country amongst the top 5 markets for any new product launch.
The decision of purchasing a Lamborghini is driven by the emotions, their dreams and nothing really stalls that. India continues to be a strategic market for the future growth of Lamborghini. Our business is working at a full-percent capacity at present. We are in constant touch with all our customers and have not received any cancellations from customers as they remain positive about the future. We continue to carry a strong order bank with new orders continuing to come in. Basis the market trends, tier-2 and 3 cities have shown a lot of promise in the recent years and therefore, it is anticipated that over the next three years one-third of our sales in India will likely be out of non-metro cities.Lamborghini Huracan STO. (Photo: Lamborghini)
What has been the most crucial product for Lamborghini globally and India?
At Lamborghini we have three product families – the Huracan, the Aventador and, the Urus. Each of these are targeted to meet the requirements and preferences of different sets of customers. Lamborghini Urus has definitely helped us in expanding the India market and moving beyond the metros. We are focused on consistent innovation and toward bringing new derivatives into these model families so as to not only expand the market reach but also to meet the varied customer requirements that we receive.
Has COVID-19 dented the super luxury market sales and where do you stand now?
The Covid-19 crisis affected the auto-industry at-large which includes the super luxury segment in India. Furthermore, the parameters for the luxury car segment are very different when compared to the mass market cars. The luxury car segment is driven by aspirations, dreams and emotions. We anticipate the super luxury segment in India should decline by 30%, however given our strong position in the market and relationship with our customers and prospects, we should be able to deliver a performance which is better than the segment.
Post the unlock 1.0, since June, we have seen business improving month on month, both in terms of sales and after sales. Our business activities have started to reach business pre-covid times. However, we have to remain cautious and optimistic about our scope in India and believe in the India story; we have to keep watch as we are already seeing a surge in cases in many parts of the country. This will have an impact on the business, but on the other side we are hopeful about the availability of the vaccine around quarter 2021, which should help to further boost the confidence in the market and support the growth in the coming days.
Despite the current industry situation Lamborghini’s long-term strategy has not deviated. Our long-term strategy for the market is driven by our brand values - future shapers, informal luxury, and designers of experiences.Lamborghini rolled out 10,000th Urus this year. (Image source: Lamborghini)
What future products we can expect from Lamborghini in India and globally?
As one of Lamborghini’s brand pillars is future shapers, we will continue to embody the role by introducing newer models that connect with different customer segments. At Lamborghini you can always count on us and can expect the unexpected. We shall always strive to develop and bring new products that define and shape the future of the super sportscar segment both in India and abroad.
Despite initial inhibitions, Urus has turned out be a glaring success. Why so?
Since the launch of Urus, we knew it is going to be a game changer for us, in India. Urus has created a unique space in the super-luxury segment. It is a unique product, as it combines the versatility of the SUV, with the driving dynamics and emotions of the super sports car. We know in India, one of the key challenge we are facing in terms of growth is the infrastructure and traffic congestions in the city; Urus is the perfect Lamborghini to address these concerns of the customers.
In addition to this, it is the car which our customers can enjoy more than one passenger in the car, which again makes for a suitable Lamborghini for the Indian consumer and market. Since the launch of Urus, we have also created a new benchmark of performance in the super-luxury segment, where we have delivered one Urus every week till the impact of Covid this year. We continue to hold a very strong order bank for the model. Today, this contributes to over 50 percent of our business in India. This is also driving the growth in the super sports car segment in the country.
Urus has helped us grow our business and customer base in India. 70 percent of Urus buyers are first time to Lamborghini, and this is clearly expanding our reach to a new set of customers. We anticipate that Urus will continue to drive our growth in the future, and it will also support the growth of super sports cars for us in India.
Do you think supercars are slowly losing their charm and super SUVs have taken over?
The super sports car segments and world’s first super SUV are catering to needs and emotions of different set of customers and they address the requirement of completely different customers. A super sports car enthusiast is looking for performance, driving dynamics and emotions, which super sports cars offer to them. While the super SUV which combines the versatility of the SUV, with the driving dynamics and emotions of the super sports car, is meeting the need of a different requirement, as this is a Lamborghini which you can enjoy with more than one passenger in the car, can take the car for long drives and enjoy along with family and friends. Urus gives a very unique and different experience from the super sports car experience.
While, Urus has created a unique niche in the super luxury segment, with its unique value proposition to customers. In past two years, we have seen both the super sports car segment and the super SUV segment have consistently grown. We believe the growth trend will continue in the coming years as we see huge growth potential given the current size and potential in the country.