Ultraluxury automakers are gambling that they can keep their exclusivity while increasing production and breaking into new market segments such as SUVs.
High-end brands such as Ferrari, Aston Martin, Bentley, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce are shifting away from the body types that have defined their brands -- Lamborghini with two-seat supercars, Aston with fast touring coupes and Rolls-Royce with sedans – into growing segments such as SUVs.
"They have learned how to evolve," said Felipe Munoz, global analyst for JATO Dynamics market researchers.
The brands are expanding globally to win customers among the growing numbers of super-wealthy in markets such as China but Europe mean is still an important market.
Total European sales for Aston Martin, Bentley, McLaren, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce -- as well as smaller rivals such as Bugatti and selected models such as the Audi R8 supercar grew 11 percent through August to 11,069, according to JATO. That is up from just under 10,000 in the same period last year.
Sports cars still accounted for 8,537 of those 11,069 sales, led by the Ferrari 488. But SUVs accounted for 1,201 sales, beating sedans, thanks to Bentley's Bentayga, which finished second in the top 10.
Aston Martin is the most dependent on Europe, which accounted for 53 percent of sales in 2017. At Ferrari, 41 percent of sales were in Europe. For Bentley it was 35 percent, 33 percent for McLaren, 26 percent for Lamborghini, and 22 percent for Rolls-Royce.
The number of SUVs in the segment, which Automotive News Europe refers to as exotic, will increase as new models arrive.
Lamborghini has just started selling the Urus, and Rolls-Royce will begin sales of the Cullinan by year-end. By the end of 2019 Aston Martin will have begun deliveries of the DBX SUV, while Ferrari will wait until 2022 to launch its recently announced Purosangue SUV. Even Bugatti has indicated it might develop an SUV.