Morgan showroom to sell retro British cars with eye on luxury market

By Li Qiaoyi Source:Global Times Published: 2013-6-18 23:33:01

The British hand-built retro carmaker Morgan Motor is looking beyond its traditional turf to the Chinese market with the announcement of a new showroom in China on Tuesday.

Sitting near showrooms of two other British luxury car brands, Bentley and Lotus, Morgan's showroom in Beijing is the century-old car manufacturer's first retail outlet for the Chinese market, according to Jim James, managing director of the Beijing dealership.

"We'll have four or five showrooms across China over the next two or three years," James said in an interview with the Global Times Tuesday, and noted that the market will help Morgan after some parts of the European market have seen a decline.

James registered Malvern Morgan Cars (Beijing) Co in 2012 as the general distributor for Morgan cars in China and has so far sold 12 cars, he said, forecasting considerable growth momentum through the year's end and onward although the current sales volume is small.

"If we could sell another 10 cars, we will be trying to get to 25 cars in the first year (2013), and the next year about 50, the third 75."

James' company received its car import license in January and he says that he has since become the sole importer of Morgan cars in China. Morgan also has a dealership in Shanghai.

Forecasting declining sales and imports in China's market for luxury cars this year due to factors including the government's crackdown on extravagant spending and a faltering economic recovery, Zeng Zhiling, director of LMC Automotive Asia Pacific Forecasting in Shanghai, said however that Morgan's story might be different.

"Morgan cars, due to their vintage design, stand out from other luxury cars," Zeng told the Global Times Tuesday. "The company may not be affected by the general trend."

But James, a British entrepreneur who said he had invested 2 million yuan in the showroom alone, said "it would be premature to talk about profits." He did not reveal his total investment into his dealership business.

With no large marketing budget from Morgan Motor, James has been tapping into China's booming social networks to promote the brand, which he said has been effective in reaching out to local customers.

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