ON September 29, German automaker automobile giant, BMW announced that one of its flagship EVs for the Indian market, the freshly launched BMW iX1 electric SUV’s inventory for the Indian market for the rest of the year was sold out within hours of the bookings opening.
The company has announced that as part of its Make in India initiative, the iX1 would be sold in India as a completely built unit (CBU). The SUV’s price in India was ₹66.90 lakh (ex-showroom).
BMW India President Vikram Pawah in a statement said, “It is thrilling to receive such an extraordinary response for the first fully electric BMW iX1. Being sold out completely on launch day itself is a great debut for the iX1 in India.”
Weeks earlier, Union Minister for Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari was in Pune for the rollout of Mercedes-Benz India’s first locally assembled EQS 580 4MATIC EV produced at its Chakan manufacturing facility in Pune. The EV is not cheap and comes at a whopping Rs 1.55 crore. So, Gadkari told the Mercedes Benz officials: “You increase the production, only then it is possible to reduce cost. We are middle-class people, even I can’t afford your car.”
But the problem is even at the price point at which the car was being offered it received over 300 bookings – making it the fastest luxury SUV to achieve these numbers. Overall, the brand has sold over 11,500 units –higher than what it had sold last year. So, price, Mr Gadkari, doesn’t matter. There is a lot of moolah in the market and people are willing to spend to go aspirational and acquire luxury.
And that is the story.
There is an India that is thirsting for luxury. A Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report predicts a doubling of millionaires in India from 796,000 in 2021 to 1.6 million in 2026. As luxury brands that are not yet present in India make their way into the market, those already established are expanding their footprint. Just take a look:
Swiss luxury chocolate maker Laderach has opened its first boutique at the high DLF Emporia Mall in New Delhi. Elias Laderach, chief creative officer of Laderach, told the media that he had great confidence in the brand doing well in the major Indian cities. Switzerland’s largest chocolate maker is planning to establish multiple stores in India in partnership with DS Group over the next two years.
French luxury retailer Galeries Lafayette is collaborating with Aditya Birla Fashion Retail(ABFRL) to market, believe it or not, over 200 luxury brands like Armani, Christian Dior, and Prada in the Indian market. Ashish Dikshit, ABFRL’s managing director, was quoted in the media as saying that collaboration would be ‘‘a significant milestone’’ for Indian luxury.
Spanish Uber lux fashion giant Balenciaga is collaborating with Reliance Brands which has already carved out a unique space with the likes of global brands like Valentino and Tiffany in the country’s luxury matrix.
Swiss luxury multi-brand watch and jewellery boutique TimeVallee and Dutch haircare brand Keune are also entering the Indian market.
Also, it isn’t that they are just rushing g to set up shop in India, Brand after brand is offering customisation to satisfy their Indian clientele. So you had Louis Vuitton’s Rani Pink line(a one-of-a-kind shoe collection tailored to the rich cultural heritage of the country, especially the pink of Royal Rajasthan) in limited edition and Bvlgari including the Mangalsutra in its collection. The others too are lining up to go local.
When Mukesh Ambani’s flagship Jio World Plaza opened to the public on November 1, it had Gucci, Cartier and Louis Vuitton among the brands signing up to lease stores in the mall. Among the other tenants are Cartier and Bulgari, watch brand IWC Schaffhausen and luxury luggage maker Rimowa, (their first outlet in India).
As the millionaires multiply and India’s growth story expands, there is a heated market for all things pricy. In the early part of this year. As Business Today then reported, ‘‘In Delhi NCR, DLF’s Arbour project in Gurugram attracted more than 3,000 applications for 1,137 apartments priced at Rs 7 crore each. The prices are very high for the area. The booking centre was besieged by people queuing to buy homes during the project launch weekend in February this year.’’
Without getting into the India Vs. Bharat story, it is apparent that wealth is growing, more Indians are joining the club of the wealthy and uber goods are cool. No wonder, the Louis Vuitton store with the second highest sale after their flagship Paris store was the one in Mumbai.