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India's rich turning Porsche's flagship 911s into a collector's item

Shally Seth Mohile/Mumbai 12 Jul 18 | 07:08 AM

Porsche

Porsche India, the local arm of German super luxury sports carmaker, is seeing a unique trend among its buyers in India. Its buyers, most of them ultra-high net worth individuals, are no longer content with owning just one offering of a particular brand. They are graduating to becoming avid collectors of multiple models of the same brand.

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Take the case of the 911, Porsche’s flagship brand that is fast becoming a collector’s item. Around 10 per cent of the total Porsche owners in India have multiple 911s, a trend not seen in the past six years, according to Pavan Shetty, director Porsche India. Most of these are produced in limited numbers, are unique and command a steep premium over the regular super sports luxury cars. A car like the GT3 is Rs 38 million (ex-showroom) and could go up to as high Rs 50 million after personalisation and registration.

“At this price, if the demand exceeds supplies, we need to look at the brand differently," he said, adding this would be a year when the 911s would be the most sold cars in India. The special cars within the 911 portfolio — the GT3, GT3 RS, GT2 RS — have not seen this kind of demand ever. “The trend of collecting cars has started. Collectors are somebody you heard of in developed markets, not in emerging markets," he said.

On Tuesday, Porsche India launched the 911 GT2 RS. Priced at Rs 38.8 million (ex-showroom), the model with a top speed of 340 km/hr can accelerate from zero to 100km/hr in 2.8 seconds. Shetty said the demand for the latest offering is three times the supply. He declined to specify the number. “Customers who buy these cars are those who already own one or two 911s. And each of the 911 is different from the other," he said. 

India, according to Shetty, has always preferred sport utility vehicles (SUVs), hence, to create demand for special sports car was not easy. That indicates how the country is maturing for the brand. Last year, Porsche sold one of the nine 911 RS produced worldwide, sold in India. The GT3 RS, sold in India last year, was again a one-off. “From then, till now, the cars are coming in decent numbers and we have moved from ones and twos," he said.

India has the fastest-growing population of millionaires, according to the World Wealth Report, released by IT consulting firm Capgemini on June 19. Notwithstanding the headwinds created by the goods and services tax (GST), India saw a 20 per cent rise in both the number of dollar millionaires and their wealth in 2017, emerging as the fastest-growing market for the high net-worth population, the report said. The report, which comes amid growing concerns over social ramifications of asymmetry in wealth distribution, said the number of high net-worth individuals grew 20.4 per cent to 263,000 people, while their collective wealth grew by 21 per cent to $1 trillion.

Shetty said the demand for such special cars was being fuelled by the realisation of the “economic value of these cars" by the buyers, as they command a very good value in the international markets. Shetty said the market for super luxury cars, those priced above Rs 10 million to Rs 100 million in India, will enter the phase when the growth will be a lot faster than what it had been in the past five years. Since five years, Porsche’s sales in India have been at 400 to 430 cars, and, of this, 65 per cent was accounted for the Cayenne, a super luxury SUV.

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