NEITHER THE current economic crisis nor the rise in income tax to 21 per cent and petrol prices are deterring the rich from buying luxury cars.
In the first seven months of this year, sales of Ferraris have skyrocketed by 133 per cent. Ribeiro Filipe, director of Ferrari in Portugal, says this is partly due to the launch of the new F430, which costs 180,000 euros.
Sales of other luxury cars also seem to be unaffected by the current crisis, with sales of the Bentley more than doubling between January and July of 2005 (11 cars), compared with the same period in 2004 (four cars). Bentley recently launched its Continental GT with a hefty price tag of 221,000 euros.
The Greater Lisbon area registered the largest increase in luxury car sales overall, even though sales of the most expensive top of the range cars remain relatively small in Portugal.
BMW is another case in point, with record sales of 2,107 more cars in 2005 than in 2004.
It is also believed that low interest rates and an uncertain share market means that those with high disposable incomes are more likely to spend their cash on luxury goods and property than keep it in the bank.