Chinese women driving sales of luxury sports cars

Wealthy Chinese women like their cars fast - and are propelling the growth of a traditionally male-dominated product line.
Written by Channtal Fleischfresser, Contributor

As the world's most populous country becomes an increasingly lucrative market for luxury goods, wealthy Chinese women are becoming known for their attraction to a particular kind of big-ticket item: the high end sports car.

China's economy grew by more than 10 percent in 2010, according to the CIA World Factbook. Likewise, the number of millionaires in the country grew 6.1 percent to 875,000, according to the Hurun Research Institute.

So it's no surprise that luxury goods like high-performance sports cars are faring well, particularly among young, wealthy consumers. China's sales of ultra-luxury vehicles increased by 60 percent in 2010, according to Bain & Co., as reported by Bloomberg.  Marco Mattiaci, president of Ferrari North America, told the New York Times last month that in the automaker's second-largest market, the average Chinese customer is 32 years old, compared to 47 years old in the U.S.

Women in particular have benefited from China's economic success. Eleven of the world's 20 wealthiest self-made women are Chinese, according to Bloomberg. The Hurun Institute said that Cheung Yan, the founder and chairwoman of Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Ltd. takes the top spot with an estimated $5.6 billion.

China's wealthiest women are successful and not afraid to show it. Female clients are now responsible for 30 percent of Maserati's auto sales in China, while in Europe they account for less than 10 percent of sales, according to Christian Gobber, Maserati's managing director for China.

Keep in mind that a luxury car in China is twice as expensive as it is in the United States, thanks to heavy import and engine taxes. A Maserati GranTurismo coupe starts at around $332,678 in China, compared with $139,700 in the U.S., Bloomberg reports. In an attempt to cater to the female demographic, the automaker is adding color options like red and Bordeaux.

”In China, women are ambitious … so they will buy more ‘high powered’ products than women in the US or Europe,” Tom Doctoroff, greater China head of ad agency JWT, told the Financial Times. “A woman here needs to project her power in ways that a western woman simply does not need to.”

[via Forbes]

Photo: Ferrari

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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