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James Bond’s carmaker plans sales drive in India

11-Feb-2010 • Bond Style

Aston Martin is poised to set up shop in India for the first time as it strives to profit from Asia’s growing appetite for supercars, reports The Times.

The 97-year-old luxury marque, famed for its association with James Bond, is in discussions with several Indian dealerships.

A deal is expected to be finalised soon that would allow models such as the hand-built 190mph V12 Vantage, which costs £135,000 in Britain and is likely to cost twice that in India because of duty charges, to be sold direct to buyers in Mumbai and Delhi.

The move comes as Aston attempts to broaden its sales base. Two weeks ago, the British-based group opened a flagship store in Beijing. It sold more than 80 cars in China last year.

Last June it unveiled plans to tie-up with Toyota to produce the Aston Martin Cygnet, a new “luxury commuter concept” car that is likely to be available for less than £20,000.

The number of Indian billionaires doubled in 2009, according Forbes, to 52, as the benchmark Sensex index gained about 80 per cent, its best annual performance for 18 years. The only question is where India’s supercar owners will have the chance to enjoy their expensive rides. Roads in Mumbai and Delhi are infamous for congestion and India’s highways will offer petrolheads little succour: on a quarter of them, average speeds are as low as 20 miles per hour, according to the World Bank.

Meanwhile, figures released yesterday confirmed that demand for cars is booming in India after the country emerged from the credit crisis relatively unscathed. The country’s manufacturers reported their highest sales last month, of 145,905 cars, up by a third from 110,300 in January 2009, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

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