Italian super-luxury carmaker Lamborghini expects its sales in India this year to be more than 2019 levels after witnessing good traction in the latter part of last year, recovering from the pandemic-induced disruptions, according to a senior company official. The company is hoping that there is no change in the tax structure in the upcoming Budget to let the segment come back to normal growth trajectory and it believes that any increase would "hit the segment very negatively".
"What we are seeing in our business is that in the last few months we are gradually coming back to pre-COVID-19 times in terms of new order intake and throughputs in the workshop...We anticipate the super-luxury car segment will start bouncing back," Lamborghini India head Sharad Agarwal told PTI.
He further said, "My anticipation is that in 2021 the segment should at least be around the 2019 level, which was about 265-270 cars. That should be the size of the market again in 2021."
The super-luxury car segment comprises niche cars that are priced above Rs 2 crore.
Commenting specifically on Lamborghini's ambitions in India for 2021, Agarwal said, "We are setting an ambitious goal for us because we want to come back to growth momentum, given our range, that we do more than we did in 2019 when we did 52 cars. In 2021 we want to be ahead of this. We want to come back to the growth history that we had in the past in India."
The company's super-luxury SUV Urus, which contributes over 50 per cent of sales, will continue to play a key role in driving growth in India, he added.
"The demand for Urus is remaining very strong. Today, the waiting time for Urus has gone back to 8-9 months, which is a very positive sign. There are some new model variants, which we launched in Urus (in 2020) and all of them are getting very positive response from the market making the model waiting time to increase further," Agarwal said, adding the model is also helping the company tap customers to buy its super sports cars.
"People who are coming to the Lamborghini family through Urus, they are now wanting to have a second car, which is a sports car. So it is a good positive sign. It is helping us to increase the customer base, newer people who never bought a Lamborghini are buying, helping us to grow in the super sports car segment and it is helping us to grow in tier I, II and III cities," he added.
In terms of new products, Agarwal said in 2021, Lamborghini will first launch the Huracan EVO RWD Spyder. This will be followed by Huracan STO, which gives the feel and technology of a genuine race car in a road-legal model.
"Apart from that we have some more cars up our sleeves," he said without disclosing timelines for the launch.
While bullish on 2021 for sales to pick up, Agarwal hoped that the government retains the existing tax structure on automobiles, especially the super-luxury segment.
"As per the current understanding of the market, I don't see any changes in the tax structure in the coming Budget. We will expect the government to maintain consistency there because technically the segment has suffered a lot in 2020. We want the segment to at least bounce back to 2019 level in 2021," he said.
He further said the industry is still not expecting growth to come back but "we want to touch 2019 level in the segment. If there is any change in the tax structure in the segment it is going to hit the segment very negatively".
"In the last three years we have seen a consistency there and we anticipate the government should maintain the consistency. Let the segment come back to normal and growth trajectory. Taxation is one big factor that is affecting the growth of the sector. The numbers we have now do not reflect the potential of the country. Anything on that front is going to impact growth," Agarwal said.
At present, automobiles are taxed at 28 per cent GST with additional cess ranging from 1-22 per cent depending on the type of vehicle. Cars imported as completely built units (CBU) attract customs duty ranging between 60-100 per cent depending on engine size and cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value being less or above USD 40,000.