Given the exponential growth of the Chinese economy over the past few years, it was inevitable that market conditions would eventually cool. In the fourth quarter of 2011, China’s economy grew at the slowest pace in over two years, and the trade ministry has described the current export outlook as “grim.”
In other words, China’s economy is now creating fewer wealthy citizens than at any time in the past few years, and those with money
are beginning to think twice about spending it.Automotive News Europe
(subscription required) quotes Lamborghini’s general manager for the Asia Pacific region, Christian Mastro, as saying, “If you look at the (Chinese) economy right now, there may be some uncertainty to make people wait a little.”
Mastro admits that the pool of potential Lamborghini customers in China is limited, and a slowing economy is likely to shrink that even further. In 2011, Lamborghini sold 342 cars in China, an increase of about 70 percent over 2010’s 206 units. Growth for 2012 is expected to be just 20 percent, with sales of roughly 400 units expected.
To compensate, Lamborghini
is expanding its Chinese dealer network and upping the amount of money spent on marketing by some 20 percent. Events such as track days are planned to create interest and (hopefully) generate sales.
Other high-end automakers expect to see cooling sales in the region as well. While Rolls-Royce
has stopped short of quoting a 2012 forecast for the Chinese market, it does admit that sales growth in China will be less “explosive” in 2012.