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China's stock-market boom boosting supercar demand, McLaren says

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In a sign that China's booming stock market is prying open purse strings among the rich, McLaren Automotive Ltd. said demand is growing for its supercars such as the 3.8 million yuan (S$824,000) 650S coupe.

[TOKYO] In a sign that China's booming stock market is prying open purse strings among the rich, McLaren Automotive Ltd. said demand is growing for its supercars such as the 3.8 million yuan (S$824,000) 650S coupe.

Sales and dealer traffic for the last two months have been McLaren's "best ever" in China since entering the country 15 months ago, David McIntyre, the UK-based carmaker's regional director, said, without giving specific numbers.

"People buy sportscars and supercars when they feel confident," McIntyre said in an interview last week in Tokyo.

"The property market has stabilised, the stock market has grown, and people seem to be feeling confident again."

The comments suggest luxury-goods makers may be among the first beneficiaries of China's bull market, as the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index's 137 per cent surge in 12 months has yet to boost economic indicators from consumer prices to overall vehicle sales.

Chinese demand for supercars from Aston Martin to Rolls-Royce slumped last year amid a government crackdown on corruption and extravagant luxury spending.

Industrywide passenger vehicle sales in China rose 7.7 per cent in the first four months of this year from a year earlier, compared with full-year increases of 9.9 per cent last year and 16 percent in 2013.

McLaren expects to "at least double" deliveries in China in the 12-month period after it starts local sales of its sport series - the 540C and the 2.6-million yuan 570S coupe - Mr McIntyre said.

MILLION-DOLLAR CAR

The maker of the million-dollar P1 supercar began selling road cars in 2011 and sold about 140 in China last year, according to McIntyre.

McLaren has 11 showrooms in the country and plans to open two more this year, though it hasn't decided whether to expand dealer network beyond that, he said.

The company unveiled the 2.3-million yuan 540C coupe at the Shanghai motor show last month, the most affordable model in its lineup. It's taking pre-orders for the car and plans deliveries in early 2016.

China's Shanghai and Shenzhen indexes have outperformed all major global stock markets this year, and the decline in average home prices in 70 cities tracked by the government narrowed to the lowest in 10 months in March, after policy makers began reversing four years of property curbs and cutting interest rates.

BLOOMBERG