Forget the one percent, this is the one-hundredth percent. Bentley Motors Ltd. and Rolls-Royce are expanding in India, where leprosy still lurks in the bustees of Calcutta, barefoot rickshaw pullers sleep on the sidewalks of Howrah Station, and five-year-olds beg on Brigade Road. Bentley will announce this year plans to increase dealerships in the country, its second most important Asian market after China, per Amy Arora, brand director at distributor Exclusive Motors Pvt. BMW's Rolls-Royce unit may triple its number of showrooms this year to six in India, home to the youngest person to ever buy a Ghost sedan, which starts at 29 million rupees ($570,000).
Super-luxury vehicle sales are expected to quadruple by the end of the decade, though the World Bank estimates the majority of Indians live below the poverty line. CLSA Asia-Pacific estimates the number of millionaires will surge to 403,000 by 2015 from 173,000 in 2010. Bentley sponsored this month’s Indian Masters tournament of polo. Meanwhile total sales of cars, excluding utility vehicles and vans, may only increase slightly.