The 5-meter-long vehicle, officially called the "Vision Future
Luxury" but also referred to as the 9-series, is aimed at a growing
class of ultra wealthy clients which are coveted by rival brands
such as Bentley.
Ian Robertson, BMW Group's board member responsible for sales and
marketing said the car is being presented the Auto China show in
Beijing as a way to test customer opinion in the world's largest car
"There are a number of elements in that car and we will gauge what
people say and then we will take a view," Robertson said, declining
to comment on whether the vehicle, which featured carbon fiber, lime
wood, and aluminum, will ever go in to production.
Robertson said that there may be a market niche for cars costing
somewhere in the range between 150,000 euros and 300,000 euros and
that Chinese clients in particular loved large luxurious cars.
Around half of tall the 7-series flagship models made by BMW end up
being sold in China, Robertson said. BMW Group's sales in China are
up 25 percent in the first quarter. For 2014 Robertson said he
expects BMW Group to achieve low double digit growth.
The luxury passenger vehicle segment in China grew 20 percent last
year, outpacing volume sales growth which rose 14 percent to reach
21.98 million units according to the China Association of Automobile
BMW's effort comes as rival Daimler <DAIGn.DE> is also testing
appetite for reviving its disbanded high-end Maybach brand, and as
the number of millionaires across the globe continues to rise.
Since mid-2012, the number of millionaires worldwide has grown by
nearly 2 million, the vast majority of them in the United States and
Asia, Credit Suisse said in its World Wealth Report.
There are 98,700 individuals with assets worth more than $50 million
each, and by 2018, global wealth will jump a further 40 percent to
reach $334 trillion, the Swiss bank's study shows.
[to top of second column]
Upon being asked whether there was any truth to the idea that
Daimler may be on the brink of reviving the Maybach brand, Zetsche
smiled and said, "This is speculation. Speculation can be an
inspiration for us."
Earlier this week Reuters reported that Daimler is set to showcase a
Maybach branded S-Class limousine at both the Guangzhou and the Los
Angeles auto shows in November.
The vehicle is set to cost more than double the 165,000-euro
($228,000) asking price of its current flagship, the Mercedes-Benz
Daimler stopped making bespoke Maybach limousines in 2012 after
efforts to sell cars based on a unique design and costing around
$380,000 failed to gain traction with clients. Since mid-2012, the
number of millionaires worldwide has grown by nearly 2 million.
Daimler also saw double digit growth in China year-to-date, and is
preparing to launch a long-wheelbase version of its C-Class compact
sedan as well as announcing the production of a sporty four-door
The new coupe SUV will come out mid next year and be built in the
company's U.S. plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Zetsche said on Sunday.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor)
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