Rolls-Royce says it won’t bow to chasing volume sales

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Luxury car maker posts record figures but vows to prioritise the rarity of its cars with sub-10,000 annual sales.

Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös has vowed that the luxury marque will prioritise exclusivity over increasing volumes beyond the record figures achieved in 2021.

Outlining Rolls-Royce’s bumper sales figures for 2021, which saw it boost volumes by 49% and increase sales in all key markets, Müller-Ötvos was quick to pour cold water on any suggestion that the brand will seek to become more mainstream.

“Let me be absolutely clear: Rolls-Royce is not, never has been and never will be a volume-driven business,” he said.

“We are no longer simply an automotive manufacturer, we have transited into becoming a true luxury house, focused on creating the very best and most precious luxury products in the world.

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“At the very heart of this ethos lies the requirement for rarity. And take it from me: Rolls-Royce will remain rare and precious. Bespoke is Rolls-Royce, and the principle reason our customers come to us.”

Rolls-Royce said its promising 2021 sales figures make it the “undisputed leader in the +€250k (AUD$394k) segment”, and pointed to the $37.8 million, three-off Boat Tail as a statement of its intent to offer customers even more exclusive and highly personalised cars.

However, Müller-Ötvös did suggest he would not turn down customers on the basis of maintaining this exclusivity: “Rest assured – I mean it and it comes from the heart – we are not volume-driven, but obviously if there is demand worldwide, I am interested in filling demand,” he told reporters.

“Waiting times are a good thing for luxury goods, and we have quite extensive waiting times for our products currently, but it’s difficult to forecast how that luxury goods segment will look in ten years from now.

“So for that reason I think growth is possible, still, but you won’t see us go into five-digit numbers.”

Last year, in the best year for sales in its 117-year history, Rolls-Royce sold 5586 cars.

The CEO also suggested that Rolls-Royce will not follow the trend set by mainstream manufacturers in increasing model prices as it transitions to an all-electric line-up.

Asked by us if an increase in pricing to account for the necessary investment in electrification – which will begin in 2023 with the Spectre coupé – could alter sales volumes, he said: “We will price Spectre according to its product substance – that’s what we do – and obviously according to the brand it represents. We are not driven by what kind of drivetrain we have in our cars when it comes to pricing, that’s our conviction.

Felix Page

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