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Rolls-Royce banks on high rollers

Young at heart: Rolls-Royce Asia Pacific regional director Paul Harris said the Wraith is bringing new younger buyers to the exclusive brand.

Super wealthy to push local Rolls-Royce growth, says regional director

10 Feb 2015

AN OPTIMISTIC Rolls-Royce has set new targets for its dealers following news that high net worth Australians will jump in number by more than 30 per cent within two years.

The four Australian dealers have been given new sales goals as the exclusive car-maker now lists Australia as one of its top markets.

It says it expects Australia to expand its sales over the next decade on the back of its strong economy and growth in the number of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) – marketing parlance for really rich people.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Asia Pacific regional director Paul Harris says the number of uber-rich in Australia is expected to increase by more than 30 per cent by 2017.

“Stable government, world-class infrastructure, transparency in business dealings is attracting more UHNWIs to Australia,’’ he said in an exclusive interview with GoAuto.

“And this represents a further growth potential to be explored. In terms of customer base, this represents a huge growth potential in the super-luxury car market.’’ Mr Harris said Australia was viewed as a safe haven, adding that it is “attracting an inflow of capital wealth into the country.’’ Mr Harris pinpointed Sydney as the city that is fast closing ranks as the centre growing the fastest in importance to UHNWIs.

Mr Harris declined to comment when asked what the new targets were for dealers. He said “we never make the mistake of chasing volume.’’ “Rolls-Royce will and must remain exceptional and exclusive and this is what our customers expect. The growth in our business is carefully planned and we always hand-build one car less than the market demands.’’ Dealers were also reluctant to discuss targets but the general manager of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Queensland Paul Hewitt said he was delighted with sales to date and said future targets were “achievable’’.

Mr Harris said the expected growth in the super wealthy created a customer base that “represents a huge growth potential in the super luxury car market’’.

With dealerships in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Gold Coast to meet demand, Mr Harris said the car-maker was “quietly confident of another strong year in 2015”.

“Significant orders for the Ghost Series II as well as strong customer demand for Wraith will continue. We also expect good demand for the Phantom family of cars and bespoke production to continue at record levels across all model families.’’ Mr Harris would not discuss sales forecasts (it sold 39 cars in 2014 and three units in January this year) as “it’s not company policy’’. The company’s 2014 performance over 2013 was a 143 per cent improvement.

But he said the drivers to growing sales would be the Ghost and Wraith.

“Ghost has brought many new customers to the brand, people who would not normally consider a Rolls-Royce,’’ he said.

“Sales last year were driven by strong orders for Ghost Series II, launched in November. Last year also saw Wraith, which had its first full year of sales in 2014, bringing a new and younger client base to us.

“Wraith is a driver’s Rolls-Royce. It’s well-suited for our Australian customers who like to take long-distance road trips.

“There is no other car on the market like Wraith. It delivers the true Gran Turismo experience of relaxed, quiet, swift, powerful long distance road travel for driver and passenger that no other GT can.’’ At the extreme top end, the Phantom’s bespoke offerings are at record levels. No Phantoms sold in Australia in the past year have escaped the bespoke treatment.

“Bespoke personalisation is at highest-ever levels, including Bespoke Collections last year such as Waterspeed, Pinnacle Travel and Metropolitan, and unique creations such as the Maharaja Phantom Drophead Coupé.’’

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