India is an important emerging market for Italian super-luxury sports car maker Automobili Lamborghini SpA, according to its president and chief executive, Stephan Winkelmann, who inaugurated Lamborghini\'s third dealership in Bengaluru on Tuesday. In an exclusive interview with ET, Winkelmann said high taxes continue to be a challenge not only for Volkswagen Group-owned Lamborghini, but others too. Edited Excerpts: Your take on Lamborghini\'s presence in India and the way ahead? India is a huge market, even if for us it is a very small market (1% of global sales). When we speak about emerging markets, India is one of them, where we need to focus. Last year, we sold about 22 cars and this year we may sell a little lower due to the fact that Hurucan only came to the market in the last few months. This year, we could sell more, but it is a question of allocation. Since our presence we have sold over 94 cars. We like to be close to our customers, the new base in Bengaluru will further help us. We would be happy if we sell more than 6-8 from this dealership next year. The high-networth individual category is expanding but the super car market is range-bound. Why? It is not only the case in India, but the world over. The number of high-net-worth individuals are steadily growing, but the global super sports car market has not grown much. The peak year was 2008; globally over 36,000 were sold. We are still below that level in 2014, so you can imagine how tough things can be and we have more competitors stepping in, in comparison with 10 years ago. So it will be a more crowded environment, but we welcome it, as it will challenge us to get better Import duty and taxes are among our biggest challenges, and the other thing is that we have to overcome the knowledge gap or missing knowledge about cars like ours. But India awareness is not a challenge.
Can you elaborate? In social media, the number of clicks that we get from India in comparison to other countries is huge India is at No. 2. There is high awareness for the brand and the image is very strong. This is something that is special about the Indian market, even though sales are very low. There is a great interest of fan community and we want to serve them. Every time I come to India, I get a feeling that there is so much knowledge in this country. Indians are well educated, are up to date in the IT world, it is a very young nation and very liberal one. Youth in India have access to everything and it is much easier than developed countries, they still have dreams, probably more than in the US or Europe. Do taxes and poor road infrastructure pose a challenge?
In terms of infrastructure, maybe we are not where we should be, but improvement has been immense in the last 5-7 years. If you want to buy a Lamborghini, you have space to drive it. I experienced it myself while coming from the airport. On taxes, it is clear that if you want to buy a car like this, you have to spend much more than in other countries. This is the main reason I think the market volumes are lower, not only for Lamborghini, but also for other brands.