Luxury cars: exceptional recovery after the crisis – Economy

The crisis did not affect the entire car industry. The luxury cars keep the same pace as before or even accelerate. With their confidential production and their affluent clientele, “these brands generally come out of crises unscathed, but there are double-digit sales declines,” explains Felipe Munoz, an expert at Jato Dynamics.

However, the situation improved markedly from the last quarter of 2020. ”It was not a problem with money, it was just that the buyers were stuck at home. They have postponed their purchases, ”emphasizes Felipe Munoz.

Luxury brands have thus coped with the shocks of 2020 better than most generalist brands.

“Luxury continues to exist with very specific codes and clientele,” explains Guillaume Crunelle of Deloitte. “On behavior, we are more attached to personal situations, to the development of heritage, than to market trends.”

“There is a lot of money ready to be spent,” said Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Muller-Otvos. “I was impressed with the number of customers who told us that with Covid, they understood that they could die tomorrow and that now is the time to enjoy life.”

The British brand has presented a very exclusive model whose rear end evokes the lines of a yacht. Only three units have been designed so far. “We never talk about prices in agreements with our customers,” said the head of Rolls-Royce. “But rumors that (the formerly similar model) Sweptail cost $ 13 million were pretty close to reality,” knowing that “Boat Tail is much more refined.”

An overview of a Rolls-Royce Boat Tail on display at the company's Goodwood headquarters near Chichester, the south west of England on 27 May 2021. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars roaring back from the pandemic with back
The last Rolls Royce. (AFP photo)


At Lamborghini, the huge SUV Urus (around 200,000 euros) has exploded sales since its launch in 2018: 7,430 cars were sold worldwide in 2020, and the Volkswagen Group’s brand improved its record in 2019.

Ferrari had seen its sales fall by 10% in 2020, with 9,119 cars sold due to a temporary closure of its factories, and postponed certain investments due to the crisis.

But the horse rose again in early 2021, with sales driven by the SF90 Stradale, its first plug-in hybrid sports car, selling for just under 450,000 euros, and the Monza, its two-seater without windscreen estimated at 1.7 million euros .

Ferrari now has a “record-level order book,” its management said in early May. The latest luxury brand not offering an SUV hopes to pass the 10,000 sales mark with its “Purosangue” scheduled for 2022.

In recent years, “luxury brands have become sensitive to the major car trends, with a” SUVisation “and an electrification of the ranges”, emphasizes Guillaume Crunelle.

By 2020, sports cars represented only 5% of the luxury market, and SUVs overtook sedans in market share for the first time, according to Jato.

To China

In Britain, Bentley and McLaren tackled the crisis by firing thousands of workers at the start of the pandemic.

Bentley (the Volskwagen Group) ended up setting a historic sales record during the year with more than 11,000 vehicles sold, boosted by sales of the Bentayga SUV (just under 200,000 euros).

Rolls-Royce has also been “hit hard” in 2020. However, the brand has experienced a strong recovery since the end of 2020, registering the “best quarter of its 116 years” in early 2021 with “strong demand” for its sedan in the attic, the New Ghost, and its 2.6-tonne SUV, the Cullinan.

“This year’s production is already fully booked”, emphasized Torsten Muller-Otvos.

Just as it was impacted in 2020, McLaren reckons its hybrid supercar, the Artura (230,000 euros), will revive itself. Aston Martin, rescued from bankruptcy in early 2020, saw its sales increase in the first quarter of 2021 with its DBX SUV.

All of these luxury brands sell a lot in Europe and North America, but have especially seen their sales accelerate in China.

“It’s the first zone of wealth accumulation in the world, and the car continues to be an extremely strong social discriminator there,” explains Guillaume Crunelle. “In China, the economy has not been paralyzed for several months as in the rest of the world,” emphasizes Felipe Munoz. “With more and more millionaires and billionaires each year, this trend is likely to continue.”

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