If the phrase 'owner of a Bentley or a Rolls Royce' conjures up the image of a 50-something man in a Saville Row suit, think again. In India, one in five buyers of these top-end cars is a woman.
Komal Chhabria Vazir (33) of the Jumbo Group, and daughter of the late Shaw Wallace owner Manu Chhabria, is one such connoisseur. This scion of one of India's largest business families owns a Bentley.
She is not alone, says Satya Prakash Bagla, managing director of Bentley, New Delhi. "Women do walk into our showroom or call up asking to buy a Bentley," he said. "Twenty per cent of our buyers are women."
Women buy the Rolls Royce as well. "The profile of the Rolls Royce buyer is shifting towards the young, successful entrepreneur, and it includes women," said Sharad Kachalia, partner, Navnit Motors. Kachalia has sold 26 Rolls Royce cars in India so far.
According to a recent study by Boston Consulting Group, women account for more than 17 per cent of millionaires in the country. Dealers say demand for super-luxury cars is reflecting the ratio accurately.
"Coupes have always appealed to women," said Bagla. These cars were equally enjoyable whether chauffeur- or owner-driven, he said.
Keeping in mind the shift in the buyer profile of super-luxury cars, Bentley has launched two convertible open-top models in India. Women would love the ₹3.8-crore Azure and the ₹2.1-crore Continental GTC, hoped Bentley India officials. Bentley, which launched in India in October 2003, has sold close to 40 cars here.