If we were to ask you to guess which car manufacturer saw record sales over the last year, would Rolls-Royce even be in your top 5 guesses? We wouldn’t blame you for thinking of a more mainstream brand. Yet, last week Rolls-Royce announced they sold 5,152 of their luxury cars during 2019. This led to the most successful year of their 116-year history.
While this isn’t considered a big number generally across the car industry (with the likes of BMW selling just under 170,000 cars during 2019 in the UK alone) for such a high-end luxury brand such as Rolls-Royce the figure is very impressive indeed. In comparison, Aston Martin, another luxury carmaker, has admitted that after a “difficult year” they will draw down $100m of debt as they see profits fall. And it was a difficult year, UK car market figures were heavily impacted by environmental concerns and the chaos and uncertainty that Brexit has brought.
So, how did Rolls-Royce manage to increase their sales by 25% from 2018?
How did a relatively small British car brand manage to create such good news in an otherwise tough year for the industry? Well, sales were mostly driven by their new SUV the Cullinan. Think of Rolls-Royce, what kind of car do you imagine? We’re pretty sure you’re thinking of an executive estate type car. You’d certainly be right in thinking they had very little experience in the SUV sector. Yet their Cullinan model has been a triumph. In fact, it’s quickly becoming their fastest-selling new model of all time.
CEO Torsten Müller Ötvös boldly stated “Our answer to history, to the visionaries, adventurers, explorers and those who believe in the supremacy of liberty is the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. It dramatically evolves the parameters of super-luxury travel. It is effortless, everywhere.”
Imagine a Phantom that can go off-road – that is what the Cullinan offers its drivers. The new chassis is 30% tougher than the previous one, which helps this essentially reworked Phantom transition into a 4×4. With a touchscreen multi-media display, instrument dials with pretty graphics, a four-camera system with panoramic and helicopter view, and an industry-leading hi-res head-up display, Rolls have gone as modern as a Rolls-Royce owner would want, without compromising any of the iconic brand characteristics. So, while sports utility vehicles have dominated the market in recent years, these sales figures seem to suggest that popularity is not about to die down any time soon.
Another enticing factor for potential buyers of a new luxury car has got to be the Rolls-Royce bespoke division. This highly talented team of expert designers and craftspeople fulfil bespoke personalisation and commissioned projects, such as the Rose Phantom, making an already luxury car that bit more exclusive.
And their plans for 2020?
Don’t expect Rolls-Royce to rest on their Cullinan laurels. After serving the brand well for 11 years, the next-generation entry-level Ghost model will launch mid-year. The company stated that “the successor will elevate the Ghost name, and the company itself, to new heights of excellence and ambition in design, engineering, materials and driving dynamics.” Watch this space!