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European exotic-car sales surge in 2012

Porsche had record year; Ferrari and Lamborghini also saw significant increases.

By Douglas Newcomb Jan 17, 2013 9:22AM

U.S. auto sales hit a five-year high last year, and seven automakers posted all-time records. Although the overall sales figures for European sports cars may pale in comparison with mass-market brands, three of the continent's best-known performance marques enjoyed robust worldwide sales as well.

Lamborghini’s worldwide deliveries rose from 1,602 in 2011 to 2,083 in 2012, representing a 30 percent increase from the previous year and the third consecutive year of growth for the Italian supercar brand.

Fellow Italian Ferrari delivered 3,664 cars in the first half of last year -- yearly sales figures were not available -- which was a 7.4 percent increase over the same period in 2011. That's more than Rolls-Royce sold all of last year, but Ferrari is unlikely to top Bentley's 8,510 sales.

Porsche bested both of its southern rivals by selling more vehicles in 2012 than ever before. The German sports-car company sold a record 118,868 cars, an increase of 18.7 percent from the previous year. “We are looking back on the most successful year in our history," Porsche President and CEO Matthias Müller said at the 2013 Detroit auto show this week. Over the past three years, the Stuttgart-based automaker has increased sales by a whopping 83.9 percent.

Porsche said it achieved double-digit growth in all sales regions in 2012. Asia/Pacific ranked first, with 50,376 units and a 23.6 percent increase from the previous year, followed by Europe, with 49,639 new Porsches sold and a 13.5 percent increase.

The U.S. was still the most successful single market for Porsche in 2012, with a total of 35,043 vehicles sold and a 20.7 percent increase in sales. And Porsche is still popular in its home market of Germany, which saw 17,487 cars sold and a 16.9 percent increase.

Lamborghini credits its sales success to the new Aventador LP 700-4, which sold 922 units. But the Gallardo retained its status as the most successful Lamborghini, even after almost 10 years in production: 1,161 were sold in 2012, which put it on par with its 2011 performance.

Lamborghini sales were divided across three regions: Europe at 29 percent; the Americas at 28 percent, of which the U.S. accounts for 25 percent; and Asia/Pacific at 35 percent, of which China is 15 percent. The Middle East and South Africa accounted for 8 percent. Lamborghini said that “despite global market headwinds,” the brand grew in Europe by 34 percent versus 2011, in the Americas by 50 percent and in Asia/Pacific by 9 percent.

The top European sports-car makers have no plans to slow down. In 2013, Lamborghini will launch the Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster open-top supercar. Lamborghini says that initial orders for the model have already been exceeded and that the order bank for both the roadster and hardtop versions stretches out over the next 15 months.

For its part, Porsche will roll out two major products: the plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder and the smaller Macan SUV. Because Porsche’s most in-demand model worldwide is the Cayenne, the company used the occasion of the Detroit auto show to unveil the new Cayenne Turbo S, rated at 550 horsepower.

Jan 17, 2013 11:05AM

All That Glitters...


There's no question that the exotic supercars are absolutely beautifull, but they're simply unattainable dreams for all but the most privilidged and wealthy. It was once said; " Money isn't everything ".... perhaps,  but it sure beats the Hell out of whatever is in second place!


Peace to all ~

Jan 17, 2013 11:26AM
I disagree...the American dealers make a nice buck on servicing these vehicles, where a new clutch costs over $12,000. They make real nice profits for selling them.  Unless you drive strictly American iron (I do) your arguement holds no water. There are alot of jobs in the US connected with Foreign car manufacturers....from dealers, to their sales staffs, mechanics and body men, parts guys and manufacturer reps. And they are all pretty good jobs.
Jan 17, 2013 11:18AM
I'll keep my Ducati and my extra $$$
Jan 17, 2013 10:04AM
Some of the classic exotics are seeing some good prices these days too.  356s are getting outrageously expensive these days and the mid 80s 911 is starting to creep up. 
Jan 17, 2013 12:29PM
the rich are doing just fine can you say the same....
Jan 17, 2013 12:21PM
I am in Southern California and recall that during the "recession" that, both, the local BMW and Bentley dealers were doing all right. We get this news while most of the population is still trying to dig out of financial disaster and pursuing gainful employment.

There is something to be said about that!
Jan 17, 2013 11:58AM
one percenters only - all others need not apply
Jan 17, 2013 12:53PM
ok, i am no marxist, quite the contrary, but in these hard economic times, how are these all being sold? obviously, it isn't hard times for everyone. if the money is coming from somewhere, it must be the continuing record profits companies are taking while stretching every dime out of workers and eroding infrastructure. time to start reinvesting in both the infrastructure of business and in the people who buy the products to refuel the economy and give everyone a share of the wealth.
Jan 17, 2013 1:50PM
At least it doesn`t take long to wax a Smart car.
Jan 17, 2013 12:28PM
This is where the money goes, very much like during the "Gilded Age" the end of the 1800's, which was the last time there was more economic divergence (i.e. a wider gap between those with money and the 'average' man) than we have at present. Or like the "Roaring Twenties". So even if taxing the rich doesn't kill jobs (and studies show it doesn't), it does limit the finest accoutrements of life which our great-grandchildren will look back on with wonder even if they don't realize we, their great-grandparents, were totally out of the picture. More power to 'em.
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