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Luxury car sales nearly double in Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn Latvia, the luxury car sales surged 78% in the first four months of 2011, Zane Rone, project manager at the Latvian Authorized Automobile Dealers Association (LAADA), informs the business news portal BNN.

According to the Association’s data, in April, large luxury sports cars (Land Rover Range Rover Sport, BMW X6, Lexus RX, BMW X5) were registered the most in Latvia – 41 units or 78% more, compared to the same period last year. While medium-class luxury cars (BMW fifth series, Audi A6, Volvo V70/XC70) were registered the most in Estonia and Lithuania – 43 and 50 units, respectively, she says.

Luxury car trade in Latvia is the first to recover from the crisis, as it received a relatively smaller blow during the recession. Latvia still has the largest luxury-class sports car proportion, which is related to fashion trends and, of course, the general condition of road surfacing, points out Andris Kulbergs, president of the LAADA.

From the super-luxury class cars, BMW seventh series is the most popular in Latvia. Kulberga indicates the brand’s popularity is linked to the proportion of Russian-speaking population and fashion trends in the large Russian market.

In Lithuania and Estonia, the most popular brand is Audi A8. In late May 2010, the new Audi A8 was launched in the Baltic States. This is regarded the major reason for the rise in the number of A8 registrations in the Baltics, because at the end of the previous model season, registrations near zero.

Latvia’s insignificant registration data can be explained with the fact several potential buyers choose to buy a car in Lithuania and Estonia. This is due to significant tax differences between the Baltic States. Also, the overall economy and auto market, including in Lithuania and especially in Estonia, have suffered considerably less, says Ingus Rūtiņš, director of SIA Auto Riga.

The LAADA president points out the same, adding that contrary to Lithuania and Estonia, a notable purchasing power resumption in the middle class is not observed in Latvia. Yet it is directly felt in Estonia. Among the Baltic States, Estonia suffered the least from the economic crisis; therefore, it recovered from economic difficulties the fastest. Moreover, leasing services in Estonia were more freely available already in spring 2010.

In the first months of this year, Bentley Continental GT emerged as the leader in the compartment class. The car centre Bentley Riga marketing manager Aija Baltraite points out that despite the significant drop in demand, customers’ interest has still remained, especially in new car models.

In terms of prices, the cheapest models of Premium brand cars, namely, luxury, sports, compartment, convertible, are not required. This is tied to the low purchasing power of the middle class and the limited access to leasing services. After dividing the customer flow in auto salons between Premium and economy class cars, buyers still opt for Premium brand cars, emphasizes Andris Kulbergs.

 


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