The slump in the European market for supercars exceeding 100,000 euros is coming to an end as confidence returns following the region's prolonged recession and automakers begin to replace aging models. Led by models such as the BMW i8 and Audi R8, European sales in the segment are forecast rise to 21,000 units by 2017, up from 13,000 last year, according to figures from IHS Automotive. The consultancy predicts that the rebound for cars costing more than 125,000 euros will start this year.
The return of consumer confidence is perhaps the biggest tailwind. "Last year was one where we were still seeing economic pressures in the region, which was likely to have made some people reluctant to buy something extravagant," IHS Automotive senior analyst Ian Fletcher told Automotive News Europe.
He said the problem was worse in Italy, where a crackdown on tax evasion has hit sales at brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann told Automotive News Europe earlier this year that the supercar maker's customers were targeted. "Some of our customers were stopped by the Italian finance police while driving, which they said made them feel hunted," Winkelmann said.
More buyers also will drawn back into the market by a growing number of renewed and all-new models. IHS predicts several cars will break the 1,000-sales mark in 2016 whereas in recent years only the Bentley Continental GT, Ferrari 458 Italia and Audi R8 managed to achieve four-digit sales.