Automakers begin to focus on ultra-luxury SUVs and analysts predict that sales of such vehicles will almost triple in 2017.
Yesterday, July 23rd, VW’s Bentley announced it will manufacture the most expensive SUV in the world, with a base price of 180,000 euro, while Fiat’s Maserati is also expanding its lineup with alternatives to sedans. Both automakers are following Porsche and its best-selling model, the Cayenne SUV. SUVs which were seen in the old days as the domain for appliance repairmen and soccer moms, are now the fastest growing segment in China.
“The top end of the SUV market is being redefined by the new Bentley and other luxury SUVs to come,” said Sascha Gommel, a Commerzbank AG automotive analyst in Frankfurt. “This is a niche market segment with very low volume but it’s growing quicker than the overall luxury market.”
Ian Fletcher, an analyst with IHS Automotive, predicts that SUV sales will almost triple in 2017, reaching 22,800 units, while high-end supercars will increase around 20% to 32,400 units for the same period. Demand is expected to come mostly from China, Russia and the US, where wealthy customers are attracted by this type of vehicles.
The new Bentley SUV will hit the market in three years, Maserati’s Levante crossover is expected in 2015 and Lamborghini hopes to begin production of its SUV concept showed last year. BMW will introduce next year the coupe-like X4 and in April Mercedes unveiled a concept version of the compact GLA in China. Audi also aims at doubling its SUV models to six by 2020.