Sun, Apr 07, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Ferrari growing in Japan, while China, Europe sales slump

‘ABENOMIC’ RECOVERY?Analysts say Japan’s surge in demand for luxury cars shows Abe and Kuroda are succeeding in boosting spending amid optimism


Japan is becoming Ferrari’s next growth market.

Registrations of Fiat SpA’s ultra-luxury brand surged 40 percent to 144 vehicles in Japan last quarter, according to the Japan Automobile Importers Association on Thursday. That is more than twice the pace in the larger US market, while demand slumps in China, at home and across Europe.

The surge in demand for luxury cars adds to signs that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda are succeeding in reviving spending in the country.

“The growth is very promising, and I think we can expect these super luxury brands to introduce more models that they hadn’t introduced to Japan before and to strengthen their dealership networks,” said Yoshiaki Kawano, a Tokyo-based auto analyst at industry researcher IHS Automotive. “The optimism for an economic recovery is spreading.”

To sustain growth, Ferrari opened a new after-service facility in Japan this month, said Herbert Appleroth, head of the company’s operations in the country.

“We are ever more committed to offer a quality of service to cater to the needs of our growing number of Japanese clients in every step of ownership,” Appleroth said.

For the fiscal year ended last month, Ferrari registrations in Japan increased 46 percent to a 12-year high of 558, according to the import group. The company is not alone in seeing a boom as Volkswagen AG’s Lamborghini sold 199 vehicles, the most in at least 14 years, and sales of imported cars worth more than ¥10 million (US$105,000) have risen two straight years, based on the registration data.

“It seems like demand is coming back,” said Michiaki Ishida, a spokesman for the auto importers association. “Some people are reacting to ‘Abenomics,’ so the trend may continue.”

Cornes Motors Ltd, which operates dealerships in Japan that sell cars, including those manufactured by Bentley Motors Ltd and Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC, opened a showroom in Tokyo yesterday that will stock exclusively Maserati SpA vehicles.

Maserati is targeting sales of 650 vehicles in Japan this year, compared with 311 last year, Fabrizio Cazzoli, the company’s country director, said on Friday.

“Every day, there is good news about Japan,” he said at the Cornes dealership. “Japan is the world’s third-biggest car market, and it’s a very important market for us to expand in.”

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