Lamborghini banks on Urus for growth in India

Lamborghini Urus (AFP)

Launched in India in 2018, Lamborghini Urus, is more of a ‘family car’, according to the Lamborghini India head Sharad Agarwal, who is confident that the super luxury car will help the company fulfill its ambition of growing by 50% this year.

In 2011, Lamborghini’s market in India used to be about 100 cars in the super sports segment, but it kept on declining till 2015 to 18 cars, on the back of a consistent increase in tariffs and complex duty structure.

The market, however, revived post-2015 with the luxury car maker selling approximately 45 cars in 2018. The sales growth from 26 in 2017, to 45 in 2018 was propelled by sales of Urus, launched last year.

“Urus, which is a super SUV, is completely new in the super luxury segment. We don’t count it as a strict super sports car, as Urus has four or five seater configuration. It has a very unique combination wherein you can say that when it comes to its personality, it’s like an SUV, but when it comes to its experience, it’s like a sports car. So it’s a sports car in the body shape of an SUV,” said Agarwal.

The super luxury segment in India is about 270-280 cars.

The company had been hailing itself as the leader in the super sports segment, but with the launch of Urus, it started growing much faster, emerging as a leader in the super luxury segment as well.

“Urus is a car, we say, which is more practical for India because we have challenged it in terms of infrastructure and traffic conditions. Last year we sold 45 cars, it was a mix of sports cars as well as Urus. We have anticipated that Urus will contribute more than 50% of our business this year,” Agarwal added.

Demonetisation and the implementation of GST were major policy disruptions that affected the company in 2017, said Sharad, despite which the company managed to maintain its market share of 30-40% because of the brand’s internal factors, including how it reached the market.

In fact, the carmaker maintained its sales figure in 2017, selling as many as 26 cars (it had sold 26 cars in 2016 as well).

“Over the last three years, we have been bringing a significant change in our approach. We started reaching out to people in tier two and tier three cities. Earlier, we used to see that the demand is largely concentrated in metros and it is mostly second, third, or fourth generation business entrepreneurs who were buying our cars; So, we started focussing on first generation business entrepreneurs and women buyers as segments. We started opening all these segments for us and they started contributing volumes for the company. Owing to this, despite the negative trend of the market, we could maintain our business,” said Sharad.

“In 2016, we sold the first Lamborghini to a woman in India. The size of this section is still small, less than 5% of our business today, but with Urus coming in, we see a lot of interest coming from the women segment. We did our first women drive in Delhi in 2016, in Mumbai in 2018, and this year we are planning to bring it to Bengaluru,” he said.

Urus has a clear role to play in the company’s jump from selling 26 cars in 2017 to 45 cars last year, but Urus has a small share in the total cars sold as the car was being delivered in the last quarter of 2018.

However, the brand expects the business to grow this year as the car has been available for delivery from the beginning of 2019.

Talking about India as a market for the firm, Agarwal said that India is one of the key markets for Lamborghini worldwide, and there is clear evidence suggesting this — India was one of the very few countries to launch Urus in 2017 beginning, India was also one of the first few markets In the world to deliver Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. Lamborghini this year in February has also launched Huracan Evo. “This shows our intent and how important India is for our future growth plans,” he said. 

When asked about the status of the recently launched Huracan Evo in terms of Urus, Agarwal called it an unfair comparison, saying Huracan Evo in the sports car segment is going to create a similar impact, but with Urus, the impact is going to be much larger as Urus is a lot more practical and usable for India.

This is because one can drive Urus with family, unlike a sports car. People can also get to experience the fun with more than one passenger, plus it’s much more comfortable and convenient than a sports car while driving in city traffic or going for long drives.

“Urus is creating its own segment in luxury cars; people who are buying the car are coming from premium sedans, premium SUVs, luxury sedans and luxury SUVs. Today, when I look at my order bank for Urus, there are 70% of people who are buying Lamborghini for the first time. it’s telling us that we are being able to attract a completely new set of people which we were not able to attract with super sports cars, so the impact of Urus is obviously going to be much larger than a super sports car,” said Sharad.

There are more than 200 Lamborghini cars which are running on Indian roads today. Lamborghini’s official presence in India came in 2007 when it appointed an importer here. However, it was in 2012 that Lamborghini started its direct business in the country, setting up the structure and its base in India.

Earlier, Delhi used to be the company’s biggest market, but over the last few years, southern states have taken the plunge, contributing 40% of Lamborghini India’s business, with its only showroom based out of Bengaluru.

Lamborghini has three showrooms in India — in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai, as of now. A fourth showroom, however, is on its cards, because the company, this year, is expecting Urus to create a lot of demand, thus creating the need for adding a new showroom in another city.

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