Cars, Machinery

Mercury Group: the Luxury segment feels good in Russia

Bentley Bentayga. Photo: Bentley Motors

Motorists who prefer exclusive cars, continue to update and to expand their garage in Russia. According to the statistics of automobile sales in Russia in 2016, recently published by the Association of Automobile Businesses (AEB), in General the Russian car market fell by 11% compared to 2015 and reached 1.4 million vehicles. However, luxury brands available in their report significantly increased sales for the period: Jaguar up to 1’794 PCs (+99%), Alfa Romeo up to 100 PCs (+156% by 2015).

For other brands the sales figures are not published yet, although luxury cars are doing well on the European market in General and in Russia in particular. “2016 became the second in sales of the brand in the entire history of presence in the market since 1910,” said James Crichton, Regional Director Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, limiting the indication of Russian sales that “brand sales in Russia reached three-digit figure for the third consecutive year”. The growth of global sales reported McLaren (99.3%), Bentley (10%), Lamborghini (6.5%), Rolls-Royce (+6%) and we can only imagine what proportion of the European luxury sales showed our country.

Information on sales of luxury cars for the Russian elite is rare guest in the mass media, that is why we think interview with Alexander Plokhikh, the Executive Director of the automotive division of the Mercury Group will be valuable for our readers, because the company leads in sales of luxury goods. Mercury Group has the honorary right and privilege to offer unique Bentley, Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti and other creations of the reference brands in the world of luxury.

E-Vesti: Alexander, tell me, please, what was the outcome in 2016 for the luxury segment, and what exclusive novelties entered the Russian market in the past year?

Alexander Plokhikh: If we talk about the segment as a whole, it feels great. We see new customers who had not bought such cars before. We can also see that, compared to last 2015 year, there is absolute growth in quantitative index. 2016 was good.

Primarily, this was due to the new models that have entered the market in 2016.

Bentley SUV Bentayga, which was the driver of sales in 2016, that’s definitely a big victory of the Bentley brand and, in fact, a welcome novelty. This is the first luxury SUV. Thanks to the Bentley, Bentayga has seen such growth in the luxury segment. But not only because of him.

In addition, Maserati has been able to certify cars, including its latest SUV, the Levante, by the standards of the ERA-GLONASS. However, we received a certificate only at the end of December, so the growth in Maserati we will see this year, because at the moment the car has quite a big bank of orders that we are guaranteed to see good results in 2017. After a few not good years for Ferrari 2016, it showed the restoration of the brand.

E-Vesti: Bentley Bentayga – how it attracted customers, what is special there?

Alexander Plokhikh: There are many special things. Of course, this is a really advanced car, technologically quite sophisticated, which incorporates all the new automotive engineering of the recent years: ranging from night vision systems, projection systems, anything that was previously unavailable on the Bentley, now it is. This is a new step, and new Bentley cars will already come with these technologies. This, of course, is very important to buyers.

E-Vesti: is There a auto-pilot high-tech?

Alexander Plokhikh: Assistant for driving there is, of course. It is important that Benley car has enough power to feel safe always, at any time, on the road. This is so since the foundation of the brand. This applies to the Bentayga too. Exclusive interior, unique finishes, 170 types of paint finishes, all modern technology, everything is available. But, the most important thing is that Bentayga is the first vehicle of luxury SUV-class. There is no other.

Bentley Bentayga Diesel. Photo: Bentley Motors
Bentley Bentayga Diesel. Photo: Bentley Motors

E-Vesti: Starting from what amount we start a conversation about Bentley Bentayga?

Alexander Plokhikh: From 17’000’000 RUR.

E-Vesti: If we are talking about the Maserati Levante, what this beautiful car given that was not there before?

Alexander Plokhikh: Maserati Levante is a new vehicle built on new Maserati platform, which is the base for all vehicles of the brand. Plus, which is important for fans of Maserati, all versions have a permanent all-wheel drive, which previously was not available. It also offers the widest selection of engines, from diesel to petrol, too, it is one more step towards the consumer. Diesel engine, four-wheel drive – that allows the vehicle to operate under any conditions, in the widest range of temperatures, bad road conditions, all year round, without restrictions. So this car is perfect for us, for our world.

Maserati Levante
Maserati Levante

E-Vesti: I Would like to ask the same question about the peculiarities of novelties Ferrari.

Alexander Plokhikh: Ferrari feels steady, the brand traditionally produce models in the two large segments. The first is the segment of the mid-engined sports car, where Ferrari is traditionally strong, it is always the car with the average location of the engine. Eight-cylinder sports car – it needs to be so. So, in 2016, they came out with new 488 GTB Spider, which is a brand new car that makes an evolution of the mid-engined sports car, but, at the same time, after a long break we see in its applications turbo engine. For Ferrari it is new product, before this it was naturally aspirated engines, and now it has turbocharged engine of the new generation.

Ferrari 488 GTB Spider. Photo: Ferrari
Ferrari 488 GTB Spider. Photo: Ferrari

Another traditional segment for Ferrari is GT-segment, the so-called grand tourismo (it. – the great journey). Here was just announced a new product that hasn’t even appeared in the showrooms – four-wheel drive Ferrari GTC4Lusso. This is a new step ahead comparing to the previous model. This car shows a level of luxury, because of Ferrari’s focus on the interior trim, while the engine is still the same spotless, twelve cylinders.

Ferrari GTC4Lusso. Photo: Ferrari
Ferrari GTC4Lusso. Photo: Ferrari

E-Vesti: Если мы говорим о сумме, которую потребуется отдать за новый Maserati или Ferrari, то это сколько?

Alexander Plokhikh: The volatility of the ruble still exists, Maserati we better speak in euro equivalent. New SUV prices start from 75’000 Euro and more, depending on engine and equipment; this is the price of the diesel version.

If to speak about Ferrari 488 GTB, it is 17’000’000 RUR.

E-Vesti: Do You think the taste of the Russian consumer in view of technology and expectations of luxury is different from the European and global?

Alexander Plokhikh: You know, in technology view I can say that our luxury cars are very “advanced” and not inferior in this sense, than the European owners of these cars. They are the ones who understand the value of high-tech items and sports components of the car. They actively drive and actively participate in the same sporting events that are visited by their European counterparts.

Because Ferrari makes a lot of events for clients, race rings throughout Europe, ranging from Imola, Nürburgring, Moscow RaceWay, etc. In this sense we are similar.

Unfortunately, we have limited time to operate the vehicle due to weather conditions, with the exception is all-wheel drive versions, which is a year-round ride is GTC4Lusso.

As for the level of luxury, our clients are clearly more demanding than the Europeans. Certainly our clients have some understanding of the level that should be present in suchcars, they are extremely demanding to details, to the subtle nuances that the European consumer will not notice…