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First Aston Martin Dealership Opens in India

With a total of 55 billionaires living in India, it's probably safe to say the country is going to be an important market for high-end automakers like Aston Martin. That's probably why the British sports car brand recently moved in. According to Automotive News, Aston Martin has opened its first-ever Indian dealership in order to get piece of the country's growing wealth.

Established in Kemps Corner, one of Mumbai's most affluent neighborhoods, this dealership is the first of many to come, with the next one expected to open in New Delhi this May. Aston Martin forecasts that one quarter of its sales will come from Asia and the Middle East over the next five years, up from 10 percent this past year. With the $303,657 V8 Vantage as its least expensive offering and the $4.5 million One-77 topping its lineup, Aston is counting on India's millionaires and billionaires taking interest in its cars.

"We are entering the Indian market now because we think the timing is right," said Bill Donnelly, director of sales at Aston Martin. And Aston isn't the only automaker that thinks India is ripe for the taking. Fiat set up its first Maserati dealership in India last week and plans to open a Ferrari dealership in Mumbai in the near future. Jaguar-Land Rover, which happens to be owned by Indian automaker, Tata Motors, has held a firm grasp on the Indian luxury market since 2009, with seven showrooms nationwide.

Deepesh Rathore, head of IHS Automotive's India branch, predicts the country's luxury sales may rise to 135,000 annually by 2020—an increase of nine-fold from last year's 15,000 sales. Aston Martin's entry into India is part of a growing trend of luxury brands targeting India and China. Apart from being the two most populous countries in the world, both markets have a rapidly-growing number of extremely wealthy people at the top—the kinds of people automakers like Aston Martin want in their dealerships.

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