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Luxury car sales rise strongly   2011-09-01 - SGT

Despite economic uncertainty and runaway inflation forcing consumers to spend less, local manufacturers and distributors of luxury vehicles have reported strong sales growth.

Mercedes-Benz Vietnam has seen steady business growth. In particular, it had recorded a total sales volume of 1,500 units in the year to end-July, with car sales expanding 25% year-on-year to 1,100 units.

Udo Loersch, general director of Mercedes-Benz Vietnam, has attributed this success to the company’s diverse customer base.

Meanwhile, Euro Auto, the importer and distributor of BMW luxury cars, posted significant sales growth of 25% in the first seven months over a year ago.

At the launch of BMW X3 in June, Neil Fiorentinos, managing director of BMW Asia, said Vietnam was one of BMW’s fastest growing markets in the Asian region.

Citing BMW X3 as an example, the luxury car model is imported from the U.S. at the price of VND2.3 billion per unit in Vietnam. After its debut in June, 25 cars handed over by the parent company were all registered by local consumers. Those wishing to possess this luxury vehicle must wait 1-1.5 months from now.

Still, the most impressive figure should be the business result of World Auto, the official distributor of Volkswagen in Vietnam. According to this firm, its sales in the last eight months escalated 159% against the same period last year, or up 60% compared to all of 2010.

The company is looking to double-digit growth this year despite the current economic distress.

At a recent ceremony to launch Audi A7 Sportback, Christine Bulang, director in charge of Audi brand in Southeast Asia, said though the product had just made a presence in Vietnam, sales here had grown faster than in other markets in the region.

In the first seven months of year, the auto firm sold a volume equivalent to that of all of last year, increasing 169% year-on-year. The best selling models like the luxury Audi Q7 and A8, and the medium Q5 contributed to this hefty growth.

General director Tran Tan Trung of Lien A International Co., the official Audi dealer in Vietnam, said last year Audi Vietnam recorded total sales of 223 units and expected this figure to double this year.

Representatives of some luxury auto firms said high income earners were unscathed by the troubled economy. This group of consumers does not depend on bank loans to buy cars; they have their own money to buy new models.

The development of local tourism has fueled the need of many five-star hotels and high-grade resorts to buy luxury cars to better serve guests.

Along with luxury vehicles, the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) reported strong growth in sales of popular automobiles in July. VAMA members sold 8,554 vehicles in July, with cars accounting for 3,334, up 20% year-on-year.

In all, 21,200 vehicles were sold by VAMA members in the last seven months, up 24.9% against a year ago.

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