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2013: a golden age for the high-end motor industry?

By Hamish Champ
Posted 19 February 2013

Are we in the middle of a golden age of motor car sales? And particularly sales of high-end, high-performance cars?

I ask because while some manufacturers are reporting a downturn in trading the world’s leading marques seem to be falling over themselves to report record sales figures.

First there was Jaguar Land Rover, which sold nearly 358,000 vehicles last year, up 30% on 2011, and which described the first month of 2013 as one of its best ever in trading terms, selling nearly 35,000 vehicles last month, up nearly a third on the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile Porsche had beaten its previous annual record by November, announcing 129,000 cars sold, up 8.5%, with a month to spare.

Now comes Ferrari, posting what it calls record results in its best ever trading period in the company’s 66-year history.

Chairman Luca di Montezemolo said his company delivered 7,318 cars to dealers worldwide in 2012, up 4.5% on 2011, and posted turnover for the year of €2.43bn (£2.1bn), up 8%.

Led by the Middle East, the US and China, markets the world over embraced the rearing horse badge, with the exception of the company’s homeland, where sales fell nearly 50%.

Even in crisis-ridden Blighty sales of Ferraris rose by a fifth to nearly 700 cars.

Car sales here in the UK have generally performed well in the last 12 to 18 months, as dealers offer value on the forecourt and manufacturers respond to the trend for most cost-effective – but no-less attractive for all that – models. We're the leading market in Europe, in growth terms, too.

UK-made cars are also selling well overseas, with production standards and build quality clearly the envy of many competitors.

True, not everyone is having a great time of it; General Motors expects to make big losses on its European operations and other manufacturers have warned that sales across the Continent have slumped as a result of the Eurozone crisis.

But for many supplying into the UK automotive industry these are good times. Here’s hoping they last for a good while yet.

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