China’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign has put a dent in high-end luxury car sales growth, but automakers appear to be taking it in stride at the currently ongoing 10-day Beijing Auto Show.
Foreign luxury vehicles have encountered their fair share of China setbacks in recent history. As part of the government’s efforts to weed out lavish official spending, the Chinese government removed foreign auto brands from a list of approved vehicles for official purchase in 2012, and banned military license plates on luxury cars last year. In addition to the anti-graft drive, Chinese media outlets have repeatedly criticized foreign auto brands over the past year with accusations of overcharging on imported cars in China, which automakers say is due to high tariffs.
A new chart in Chinese media outlet China Daily outlines just how hard some luxury automakers have been hit by these factors. Bentley, Ferrari, and Lamborghini all saw a sales growth decline in China in 2013.
However, with a booming number of newly wealthy Chinese citizens, these brands are banking on China’s long-term growth potential. According to the article:
Zhong Shi, an independent auto analyst based in Beijing, agreed that the government’s measures will have an impact in the short term, but in the long run, China’s ultra-luxury vehicle sector will continue to increase, not only because the nation’s economic development but also because of the current low percentage of the niche segment in China’s passenger vehicle market.
Brand representatives from these companies have been expressing optimism for the future of the China market at the massive auto showcase. Ferrari expects a slight lift in China sales this year, while Henrik Wilhelmsmeyer, the China director of Rolls-Royce, told China Daily that the anti-corruption campaign had “no impact to our business, as Rolls-Royce is never a mass luxury brand.”