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Market Insight: Supercar sales at full throttle

Full whack: More than 100 buyers have slapped down deposits on Ferrari’s new 488 GTB as high-end sportscars enjoy unprecedented demand.

Renewed confidence and new models drive high-end sportscar sales to record levels


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3 Aug 2015

AUSTRALIA’S well-heeled sportscar buyers are driving sales of two-door supercars to record levels this year, with the collective sales tab expected to nudge $500 million by year’s end.

With half of 2015 gone, 811 sportscars priced above $200,000 have purred out of showrooms, putting the industry on target to eclipse the segment’s annual sales record of 1575 vehicles set in 2007, just before the global financial crisis heralded a new climate of austerity that has restrained such sales for the past seven years.

This year, sales in the segment are up almost 22 per cent, with new models, low interest rates and a relatively steady economic climate conspiring to lift sales of the mostly European dream machines.

And if you think the prospect of high-end sportscar sales tally of more than 1600 in a year is mind-blowing, tighten your safety belts for 2016 when a raft of new products – many already sold out on the order books – are destined to lob.

The facelifted Porsche 911 range, all-new Ferrari 488 GTB coupe and its Spider sibling, the completely reworked Audi R8, the McLaren Sports Series – led by the in-demand 570S – and the futuristic hybrid Honda NSX are just some of the new models set to grace Australian showrooms next year, with many arriving in the first half.

On top of that, the industry will enjoy a full 12 months of Mercedes-Benz AMG GT sales, and likewise a whole year of Lamborghini Huracan deliveries, with both vehicles being registered by dealers as fast as the European factories can fill the long list of orders.

According to official VFACTS sales figures, Lamborghini sales this year are up a staggering 757 per cent, from just seven units in the first half of 2014 to 60 in the same period this year, thanks largely to the Gallardo-replacing Huracan.

Ferrari is on target to smash its annual sales record by a country mile, even though the much-anticipated 488 GTB is still to arrive.

Ferrari sold 113 cars in Australia last year, but to the end of June 2015, it had already shifted 95 vehicles, led by the desirable California T.

Ferrari Australasia president and CEO Herbert Appleroth said at this week’s 488 GTB launch that Ferrari clients had subjected themselves to a “period of abstinence” in recent years, but now the “timing is right”.

“With property prices going so well, good levels of equity, unemployment rate is stable, so now is the right time to treat themselves,” he said. “With 488, we’ve never seen such an overwhelming demand for this car." Mr Appleroth said Ferrari averaged about 110-115 sales a year, but this year sales were up 79 per cent.

“And that’s before one of these 488s have hit the road,” he said.

Market segment leader Porsche has already sold 219 examples of its iconic 911 range, which represents a 13 per cent rise over last year.

Assuming the German sportscar-maker can sell a similar number of 911s in the second half of the year, for a circa 440-unit result, the collective tab for 911 buyers will be north of $100 million.

However, the facelifted 911 is due to break cover at the Frankfurt motor show in September, perhaps cooling the rush for the run-out model in the fourth quarter.

Whatever sales Porsche might lose this year, it is bound to make up – and then some – in the first quarter of next when the revised line-up with rumoured new turbocharged engine choices lands.

Audi Australia expects to get its all-new all-aluminium R8 about the middle of 2016. A close relative of the Lamborghini Huracan under the skin, the flagship R8 is set to get the thundering 397kW V10, which should get pulses pumping. A plug-in e-tron version is also possible.

Speaking of electrification in sportscars, the long-awaited second-generation Honda NSX that combines a V6 engine with electric motors is expected to arrive on Australian shores some time in 2016, this time from American Honda’s Marysville factory.

And who knows what surprises other luxury sportscar-makers have up their sleeves for 2016. Barring another economic meltdown of the magnitude of the GFC, it all adds up to millionaire motoring mania in the foreseeable future.

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