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Is a luxury car in Africa an oxymoron?

Is a luxury car in Africa an oxymoron?

Mercs, BMW and Porsche
Among the Mercedes-Benz models, the most popular is proving to be the C-Class. Although it is not the most expensive of the Benz range, it is a spacious car with a luxury finish. Its features include supportive, high-quality leather seats, a dashboard with high-gloss wood or aluminium trim, and a high-resolution colour digital screen for the instrument cluster. The model also comes with a seven-speed automatic transmission or six-speed manual. Furthermore, it comes geared up with security systems that monitor the road conditions – a real bonus given the challenging state of roads in many African countries and cities.

Another popular model in Africa is the BMW 3-Series. It has a very sports car appearance, tapping into the desire of many wealthy Africans to display their status. The interior is high luxury, with leather seating. Other extras include the high-quality sound system and the automatic heating control. Engine options are a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic.

Porsche also recently diversified its line of 911 sports models. It has also been trying to promote other models, such as the Cayman. Jaguar’s popularity in the country has also grown. It managed to sell 35 units in the country in March 2013 alone. Overall, the most popular luxury cars in South Africa are turning out to be the Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type and the Mercedes-Benz. The Porsche 911 is a sports car, with two doors and is high performance. Its popularity among Africa’s wealthy is no surprise given its international acclaim, unmistakeable design and features such as independent rear suspension and rear engine. The Jaguar F-Type, another two-seater sports car, is light despite being large, with hard edges and a supercharged 5.0-litre V8.

First-class second-hand
A big potential market to watch is that for second-hand luxury cars. Given the high taxes applied to new imported vehicles, including premium cars, and the appetite among Africans to drive around the most prestigious car models, second-hand luxury cars inevitably emerge as an ideal way for well-heeled Africans to make a statement on the roads without bankrupting themselves.

Many used-luxury-car outfits are doing booming business as a result. Firms like South African second-hand luxury car dealer Investment Cars have been thriving on the demand for such cars.

Another threat to the coffers of new luxury-car dealers is the booming trade in stolen luxury vehicles in Africa. Africa sits on the throne as one of the top destination for stolen cars along with Russia, according to Interpol. The vehicles mainly come from Europe. For example, British vehicles, built for driving on the left, are turning out on streets in South Africa, where cars are also driven on the left.

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Written by African Business Magazine

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