With the European economy in a downward spiral and the U.S. having its own financial troubles, where is a supercar maker supposed to go and sell its high-six- or even seven-figure products?
Well, China is probably their best bet right now. Its number of billionaires grew from 189 in 2010 to 271 in 2011, according to data from Hurun Report, and the communist (…) country now has close to 1 million millionaires - 960,000 to be precise or 85,000 more than in 2010. Overall, Asia has some 3.3 million millionaires, more than Europe and edging close to the North America region.
That’s why every supercar builder is participating in the first ever Asian edition of Monaco's annual Top Marques show that takes place in Macau from November 24 to 27.
The show's organizers are expecting around 20,000 visitors from China and other Asian countries who will have a chance to see Ferraris and Lamborghinis, as well as more exclusive and expensive offerings from companies such as Koenigsegg and Pagani.
One of the visitors at the show is Steve Chen who was looking at Horacio Pagani’s latest work of art, the recently launched $1.1 million, 700HP Huayra. Chen currently owns 15-16 high-end cars and is contemplating whether to go for the Huayra or the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport.
“I go to a lot of auto shows in China. I’ve loved cars since I was a kid and I have been collecting many different car brands”, says Chen, who has also visited Bugatti’s factory in France but found the US$6.1 million 1,200HP Veyron SS a bit too expensive…
Amar Gill, the author of a recent CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets report on Asia’s wealthy, notes that “there’s a fair bit of competition and these companies will have to establish their brands and see if they get a following.”
Lamborghini’s head of Beijing-based China operations Wilson Lee says that “China's supercar market is growing rapidly, growing a lot faster than the entire car market" – which, incidentally, is already the biggest in the world.
As of 2011, the U.S. is no longer Sant’ Agata’s number one market: this title belongs to China. That’s why the Italian supercar manufacturing is adding another five dealerships to its 14 existing facilities.
Lee says that most Chinese Lamborghini customers “are worth at least $16 million”; two-thirds of them are aged from 20-32 and nine out of 10 pay in cash. Oh, and while 10-20% drive their supercars mostly on weekends on the track, 10% have never actually drive them at all.
"Some of these cars don't have a single kilometer on them. They basically forklift it and put it down at home because they don't want to put any miles on the car. We call them collectors", says Lee.
We think we’d call someone who never drives his supercar something other than just a collector, but you know what they say: you pays your money…
Story References: Detnews