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Rolls-Royce QLD dealership a show of confidence

Fun in the sun: The Gold Coast’s reputation for flamboyance and conspicuous wealth makes it an ideal market for Rolls-Royce.

Aussies ‘talking down’ economy as Rolls-Royce – and clientele – experience growth

28 Nov 2014

ROLLS-ROYCE Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös has urged Australians to “not talk down” the economy as the company celebrates record sales here and the opening of its third Aussie showroom at Sunshine Automotive on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Speaking with media at yesterday’s official opening of the Gold Coast dealership, Mr Müller-Ötvös dismissed the idea that Australia’s boom is over, describing the growth rate of 2.5 per cent as “fantastic” and drawing a link between Rolls-Royce sales and the wider economical outlook.

“Don’t talk it down, be proud of it guys, I can tell you – talk to Italians,” he quipped, while acknowledging that Australia has enjoyed even greater growth in the recent past.

“I am sorry to be so frank but I think you are in a way spoiled where maybe you have seen higher growth rates some years ago and now you think, ‘oh no what’s going on here’.

“2.5 per cent, no European country can claim that … compare that growth to other countries, talk to Europeans – for that kind of growth people would say ‘wow, unbelievable’.”

In-depth market research and a painstaking dealer selection process led to the Gold Coast being favoured over Brisbane as Queensland’s Rolls-Royce sales epicentre.

The number of holiday homes owned by wealthy city dwellers and people from overseas was a big factor, as was the location’s popularity with businesspeople from Asia.

“I think how the area developed over the last years is stunning and amazing and would even say has bigger and more potential over the years to come,” said Mr Müller-Ötvös.

He listed the ideal traits of a Rolls-Royce dealer as “great people, very enthusiastic, they know the business and highly connected” and said Sunshine Automotive “made an excellent impression on us”.

“To be a successful dealer with Rolls-Royce it’s not about bricks and mortar, yes that is important but the main thing is you need to know people who can afford our products.

“They (Sunshine Automotive) delivered outstanding businesses for their other brands, they were prepared to invest, they presented a very convincing business plan and for that reason the chemistry was right. I like to see passionate people working for us and they are passionate.”

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Queensland general manager Paul Hewitt told GoAuto he started selling Rolls-Royces at the beginning of this year as a “no-showroom business” and that yesterday’s event was to celebrate the installation of the showroom at the premises that also houses Aston Martin, Jaguar and Volvo.

Mr Hewitt said sales are “very much on target” and that sales have been predominantly for the $645,000 Wraith fastback coupe that was first unveiled at the 2013 Geneva motor show and went on sale in August last year.

The Ghost Series II limousine, recently introduced to Australia is also picking up sales.

Mr Hewitt said the majority of his customers so far have been people based on the Gold Coast and in southeast Queensland, with the prediction of Asian buyers by Mr Müller-Ötvös also ringing true.

“We took an order for a Chinese client on Thursday last week. We’ve got other businesspeople on the Gold Coast that are Chinese-based and Chinese backers who have business interests here.

“Very strongly they (overseas customers) will need a business use car for their clientele and they are choosing Rolls-Royce to do that.

“The other owners are those who reside here and they are genuine southeast corner Queensland buyers who use the car as their daily drive, not their weekend car.”

Predictably Bentley has been Mr Hewitt’s main source of conquest sales, something he puts down to those customers having “already gone through establishing a comfort with showing their success”.

“They have already made that leap so – without criticising Bentley by any means – there is a step after that, which is what we’ve got here, and it’s nice to know that they recognise it.”

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars global communications director Richard Carter told GoAuto Queensland is the last new Australian dealership for now and that while a suitable location for another had not yet been determined, the company “would never say never to more dealerships”.

The Perth showroom is scheduled to open next year.

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