There is a certain charm in the masculine shape and height that luxury SUVs possess. Here’s how SUVs are making a dent in the market
By: Somnath Chatterjee
Posted on: April 29, 2020
The luxury car of choice for today's elite no longer comprises of a graceful silhouette of a saloon as it is increasingly becoming SUV shaped. Performance SUVs or super luxury SUVs are ruling the roost today and in-turn filling up the coffers for luxury car giants. That is mainly due to the appeal stemming from the origins of the 'high riding off-road' vehicle.
The original SUV was nothing more than a means of covering inhospitable terrains in relative comfort. However, carmakers later realized the potential of infusing luxury into the mix, and soon, sales hit the roof.
The Range Rover - particularly the second generation model - was one of the first 'luxury SUVs'. Then in the noughties, BMW Group’s X5 and the third generation Range Rover (BMW owned Land Rover at the time) changed the luxury automobile segment forever. Along with the BMW Group, Mercedes and Porsche stoked the luxury SUV flame further with their own offerings. Mercedes-Benz had the M-Class and the legendary G-Class, while Porsche shocked the world with the Cayenne.
Today the luxury/performance SUV is no longer the rebel but very much the norm. A glance through the sales figures of the super luxury car segment shows the dominance of this genre.
Lamborghini, a name synonymous with the most outrageous automotive shapes known to mankind, and always powered by an orchestral v12, made an SUV some years back and while purists scoffed at the idea, the buyers lapped it up. In India, Lamborghini sold more than 50 of them last year, at a price tag of Rs 3 cr for each one of them.
Porsche and Mercedes are fuelling the growth further with their luxury SUVs. Porsche has more than half of its sales from its SUV line-up with the Cayenne being its best selling model. Mercedes, when it re-introduced its legendary G63 AMG, sold out within a short time and currently it is the best selling performance luxury SUV in India, along with being the best selling model in the AMG range too!
Moving onto the super luxury space, Land Rover, Bentley and Rolls-Royce have seen a spike in their respective volumes due to the Range Rover, Bentayga and Cullinan respectively.
As mentioned earlier, the Range Rover is one of the most iconic luxury cars, and its firm grip at the super luxury segment has only increased off late. The Range Rover, in-fact, outsells its similarly priced peers and has been the choice for the jet set in India.
Meanwhile for Bentley, the Bentayga is their best selling model and the recent introduction of the V8 trim has only added to the sales momentum. It seems the lure of the Bentley badge with a cabin bathed in luxury along with the high driving position has been one of the key reasons.
However in terms of price, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan surely sits at the top of tree. It is the most expensive plus exclusive SUV that you can buy. But despite the lofty price-tag, it has quickly become the best selling Rolls-Royce in India.
The lure of the luxury SUV and the way the global market has been gravitating towards it has resulted in even Ferrari and Aston Martin making one. Aston Martin has revealed its DBX while Ferrari will debut its alleged ‘Purosangue’ SUV in the coming year or so. Thus while environmentalists and purists scoff at the idea of one, there is no doubt that the luxury SUV is here to stay. However, the new shape of the market demand remains to be seen, once the world is erased of the threat of COVID-19. Hopefully, luxury SUVs will continue to reign king.