Rolls-Royce sees a chance to sell more cars as rise in wealth prompts it to expand sales network
Despite the global recession the rich are still in the mood for buying luxury cars, it seems. Rolls-Royce plans to increase its outlets by 14 per cent within five years as it chases the growing number of wealthy customers. It says it will expand its dealer network from 105 to 120 to reach millionaires in Chile, Thailand, Vietnam and similar markets.
Unfazed by Europe’s debt crisis, the BMW-owned carmaker expects that the updated version of its Phantom saloon will help it to reach a second consecutive sales record this year, after delivering 3,538 cars in 2011. “I am very confident that we’ll sell at least one more this year,” Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the brand’s chief, said at the opening of a showroom in Berlin last weekend.
Rolls-Royce is counting on growing wealth in Asia and South America to fuel demand as the debt crisis dents sentiment among Europe’s rich. The number of households with more than $5 million (€3.8 million) in assets is set to grow by 3 per cent to 5 per cent annually in the coming years, creating new potential customers for the brand, Müller-Ötvös said. “Of course, we feel that the mood isn’t the best in certain markets, but we’re able to compensate” with growth in places such as Russia, the Middle East and China, he said. “Our goal is to grow sustainably and not chase volume. Rolls-Royce will remain exceptional.”
After updating the Phantom this year, Rolls-Royce plans to extend its lineup with a new model variant in 2013, to broaden the brand’s appeal, Müller-Ötvös said. He declined to provide details, but photographs of a coupé prototype based on the Ghost have appeared on the internet.