Heading into an uncertain (but certainly electrified) future with SUVs dominating the automotive landscape, which supercar manufacturer is best placed for success?
It’s crunch time – 2019 is a huge year for supercar companies everywhere because if you haven’t got an SUV in your portfolio you’ll start slipping behind right about now.
Last year China posted lower annual sales for the first time in two decades, and that’s the world’s biggest market we’re talking about which means they kind of set the scene for the rest of us here. Twenty years of growth didn’t stop 2018 from happening and China saw demand decrease by six percent which is more or less a million cars, so not a trifling matter.
The days of double-digit growth are behind us and Germany’s big three felt it – although BMW and Mercedes posted marginal growth (1.1 percent and 0.6 percent respectively), Audi is 3.5 percent down for the year.
But enough about the proletariat. Exotic car companies aren’t feeling the stale taste of 2018 at all. Rolls-Royce sold a record number of cars in the company’s 115-year history and they only had the Culling SUV boosting the figures for the last couple of months. With 4,107 cars sold, you can expect that number to be much bigger once the Cullinan registers a full year of sales.
With the Urus now in its stable Lamborghini also smashed it, scoring a whopping 51 percent sales increase all thanks to the SUV with 1,761 of them shifted. Sant’Agata’s final tally stands at 5,750 cars, so imagine what the Italians will do once the Urus notches up all 12 months of results. Rival Ferrari hasn’t posted any 2018 figures yet but we expect them to have sold around 8,500 cars.
It’s a similar success story over in Woking – McLaren sold 4,806 cars last year which is a record for the young brand. Sticking to Britain now, and in Hethel there is good news for Lotus, a company that’s managed to increase sales last year, although by just 2 percent, despite stocking a bunch of expired goods.
Trailing at the back, Lotus sold 1,603 cars in 2018. This seems like small fry in the face of these other supercar companies, especially ones with SUVs in their portfolios. Looking at the larger picture however and Lotus could arguably be in the healthiest position of all.
Owned by Geely, Lotus was already rumoured last summer to be due for a big financial boost from the Chinese giant. You might also know Geely as the company that quite handily saved Volvo, and considering the Swedish manufacturer just posted a record of over 600,000 annual sales for the first time ever, the Chinese clearly know what they’re doing.
Geely’s strategy with Volvo was to just let the Swedes do what they do best and not meddle with design, rather just with streamlining the business and manufacturing more cars in China. A similar arrangement would work well for Lotus who desperately needs new products to peddle. The internet abounds with rumours of a $2 billion investment into Lotus, including plans for a million-dollar hypercar and ambitions of going up against McLaren and Ferrari. Either way it’s a good time to be a supercar manufacturer, and we wouldn’t bet against the Chinese to make the good times even better.