Despite the current economic climate there continues to be a demand for luxury vehicles in Barbados, although not at levels seen years ago.
And it is not just among locals and returning nationals, but also among tourists.
This point was emphasised today as Simpson Motors introduced the internationally acclaimed Mercedes-Benz C-Class at its Warrens, St Michael showroom.
Although she could not say how the economic climate was impacting the company’s ability to sell luxury brand vehicles, Mercedes-Benz brand manager Penny Johnson said the new C-Class was a big hit so far, especially among men.
The first three cars have already been sold and a number of people have already put in orders, she said.
“Mostly males for the C-Class, but we do have a lot of ladies who are opting now. We have a couple of ladies who are in the pipeline . . . I think worldwide the C-Class has been the most popular luxury car in the world. For prospects here in Barbados, these are all spoken for,” she said, in an interview shortly after outlining the unique features of the line of automobile.
She said what made it easier too for returning nationals to purchase luxury vehicles from the company, was a special arrangement that the Government had put in place for them once they paid in foreign currency.
“So hopefully once the word gets out maybe we will have a few more [buyers]. And [we will be] making money for Barbados as well, rather than people bringing in their own vehicles,” added Johnson.
The prices range from just over $170,000 to a little over $200,000.
Johnson said the company would not only be keeping vehicles in stock but they would be bringing them in according to demand.
“We actually have quite a few stock orders that we have coming forward and as people call in we say, ‘well, we have a blue one’, and sometimes on the production line we can change the colour . . . so you will have a tailor-made car if you do that,” she added.
One of the first customers is managing director of Drive-A-Matic Car Rentals Aldo Ho Kong King. He told Barbados TODAY there was a demand for luxury vehicles among tourists.
“It feels great. This is actually the third time that we are first owners of Mercedes C-Classes. We have had C-Class in our fleet for over seven years. It has proven to be a very good vehicle and great for our luxury clientele,” he said.
“In luxury it is not quantity you are dealing with, it is more quality. So there is no huge demand for it but there is a demand, and the tourism product in Barbados has a luxury clientele that come here. So this is one of the things we have kept in our fleet over the years . . . and it has done well for us,” he added.