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Foreign luxury cars see brisk sales in Japan amid pandemic

Credit: kyodonews.net

Foreign luxury cars priced at more than 10 million yen ($90,830) in Japan are becoming popular among wealthy people who cannot travel abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic and who are willing to spend money on the back of higher global share prices.

Domestic sales of luxury foreign-brand vehicles such as Italy’s Ferrari and Britain’s Bentley hit record highs in June since 1988, when comparable data became available, industry data showed.

The trend clearly contrasts with worsening living conditions for some people, including part-time and nonregular workers, as the spread of the coronavirus dealt a blow to employment in the service and other business sectors.

Supplied photo shows Bentley’s sport utility vehicle Bentayga. (Kyodo)

Sales of foreign-made luxury passenger cars priced at 10 million yen or more surged 60.9 percent to 3,336 units in June from a year earlier, exceeding the previous year’s level every month since the beginning of this year, according to the Japan Automobile Importers Association.

Sales in 2020 were also solid, increasing 0.5 percent from the previous year to 22,712 units, even though the economy was significantly damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, sales of Ferrari jumped 80.6 percent from a year earlier to 121 units, while those of Bentley expanded 23.9 percent to 83 units.

Sales of Germany’s BMW Alpina more than tripled from a year earlier, while those of Britain’s Aston Martin more than doubled and Britain’s Land Rover climbed 90.1 percent, all of them logging their highest sales for June, according to the association.

Industry officials expect such luxury cars will continue to see brisk sales for the time being, with one European automaker seeing the ratio of new customers increase to more than 50 percent from some 30 percent before the pandemic.

Among cars produced by Bentley, the sport utility vehicle Bentayga, which has a price tag of 22.69 million yen and which underwent complete overhaul last June is drawing popularity.

“I expect the car to log the highest sales ever by volume for the year as well,” a company official said.