PARIS (Bloomberg) -- Ferrari, Bentley and Lamborghini are bracing for slower growth as the European debt crisis saps demand even for high-priced toys for the wealthy.
While ultra-luxury nameplates aren't facing the kind of downturn that's battering mass-market automakers like Fiat SpA and PSA Peugeot Citroen, demand for cars costing more than 100,000 euros ($130,000) is set to take a hit.
"We have a very volatile product," Stephan Winkelmann, the head of Lamborghini, said in an interview at the Paris Motor Show. "Our customers buy this product not because they need mobility, but because they want a dream fulfilled. So if it's not the right time -- even if they have the money -- they might not buy it."
With about 26,000 ultra-luxury vehicles sold last year, the market remains about 25 percent below its pre-crisis peak, according to Winkelmann.
The recovery will drag on as the debt crisis widens into a broader slowdown.
Bentley forecast growth for the pinnacle of the automotive market of 5 percent to 6 percent globally next year.
That would represent a marked slowdown for Bentley, whose vehicles range from the 137,400-euro Continental GT V8 coupe to the 246,000-euro Mulsanne sedan.
The Volkswagen AG unit reported a 32 percent surge in sales in the first half to 3,929 vehicles. In August, the company forecast second-half deliveries higher than the first six months on demand for its entry-level coupe.