Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Luxury Market Least Hit by GFC

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Luxury Market Least Hit by GFC

Article excerpt

AUSTRALIA'S car industry didn't escape the pain of the global financial crisis.

But things are looking up across the sector and if you're in the business of selling luxury vehicles, then the future looks as shiny as a new car. Sales of some of the most expensive models on the Australian market are rising at a faster rate than some with more modest price tags.

At a time when the financial sector is wary of a second downturn before any sustained recovery, it might not make complete sense that car retailers are finding it a good time to move the latest Lamborghinis and Ferraris.

Sales for Aston Martin and Rolls Royce are also on the rise along with more mainstream prestige brands including BMW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz and Audi.

The latest industry sales figures show increases ranging from a modest 3.4 per cent for Porsche to a very healthy 73 per cent for Lamborghini, for the seven months to the end of July.

Admittedly we're talking about small numbers with Lamborghini selling just 26 cars this year compared to 15 at the same time last year.

For Rolls Royce the volumes are even slimmer with 10 sold to the end of July compared to six in 2009.

But that represents a 67 per cent increase for the company at a time when it has reported growing demand in other markets and record production levels in England.

According to Roberta Veale, a marketing expert with the University of Adelaide's business school, strength in the luxury car segment is not surprising.

Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s, Rolls Royce could still sell cars, she said.

"What you have is a small number of buyers with deep pockets."

During times of global downturn, there's hardly a dent in the number of potential buyers at the very top of the market.

"There's still plenty of rich people around," Ms Veale said.

"You'll find that the number of millionaires doesn't decrease that much."

"Some of those people may have left the market, but many have stayed. …

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