Lux wheels, Kochi is in a league of its own
Kochi, the fastest growing city in the country's southern coast, may not have the widest of roads but it appears that the people of the city does posses the deepest of pockets, given the sales of luxury vehicles in the city. Take a drive through the National Highway from Kalamassery to Nettoor and one could witness more than 20 car brands and few motorbike brands, which include the Harleys and Triumphs, selling their wares on either side of the highway.
This 20-km stretch on the highway arguably possess the largest concentration of automobile showrooms in India, which reaffirm the market potential for high end cars and bikes in this tier 2 city. Cars apart, there are also shops that sell auto accessories and tyres. Not to forget service centres, all of which make the section of highway connecting Kalamassery to Aroor a buzzing automobile hub.
Take the showroom of Toyota at Kalamassery. The 11-storey building, spread over 4 lakh sq ft, is billed as the largest car showroom in Asia. Each floor exclusively caters to divisions like body and paint, repairs, display and so on. Test drives on the highway can be a bother, so there's a test drive track on the third floor itself. Customers can also customise cars here.
Nippon Toyota Showroom at Kalamassery, Kochi is the largest car showroom in Asia.
Kochi has took on all the metros and other cities to emerge as India's strongest growing market for the likes of BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar Land Rover, thanks to rising value of spices and seafood industry, ever-increasing inflows from non-resident Keralites and the high networth individuals from the medical and IT industries.
The appetite for luxury cars among affluent Keralites has remained high as around 150 units of cars in the high-end segment with sale price of more than Rs 25 lakh each are sold in the State every month. In the district-wise breakup, Ernakulam (Kochi) leads the luxury show, followed by Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur.
Kochi's tryst with super luxury brands can be easily understood by the presence of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Merc AMGs, Mini, R8, Carrera etc. in large numbers for the annually held Super Sunday, an event promoted by the city based Petes Automotive, which is a leading dealer of auto tuning products in the country.
From the Pete's Super Sunday 2016 held in Kochi
Today, the luxury car & bike showrooms in Kochi include Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, Volvo, Harley Davidson, Triumph, Benelli, KTM and Hyosung. The second showroom of Mercedes in Kochi, opened at Aluva, is claimed to be their biggest showroom in the country. British superbike manufacturer Triumph decided to open its third showroom in India in Kochi, long before it ventured into Mumbai and Delhi markets.
And that doesn't end there. Some of the brands that are slated to open their showroom this year in this tier 2 city includes American SUV maker Jeep and motorcycle brands such as Indian, Ducati and Aprilia.
Finally, despite the presence of all these prominent players in the international automobile industry in Kochi, the biggest chunk of customers continue to choose the entry level priced semi-Indian brand of Maruti Suzuki. Kochi remains one of the top 10 cities in India for Maruti Suzuki India Limited. The city based Indus Motors, a dealer of Maruti Suzuki, is claimed to be selling a Maruti car every 15 minutes and has topped Maruti Suzuki car sales in the country for a decade now.