Despite looming economic headwinds across the globe, it was another banner year for British luxury automaker Rolls-Royce Motorcars (BMW.DE).
The 118-year-old brand, whose cars start at around $340,000, reported global deliveries climbed 8%, to a record 6,021 vehicles. Rolls-Royce said bespoke commissions reached record levels as well, with its order book of future orders reaching far into its 2023 production run.
“I think even more important than volume is probably the price position we achieved worldwide,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls-Royce Motorcars’ CEO in an interview with Yahoo Finance. “On average, half a million [dollars] a Rolls-Royce goes now for, and that is quite an achievement. That was 10 years ago on $250,000, so quite a substantial higher positioning of the brand.”
Even more impressive, and likely surprising to most observers of a luxury automaker like Rolls-Royce, is how young the clientele is for the brand.
“The clients themselves became even younger last year, so we are now on an average age of 42; we are even younger than a brand like Mini, for instance,” Müller-Ötvös said.
The Rolls-Royce head also said that many of these younger buyers are more keen to do bespoke, custom commissions, allowing them to work with Rolls-Royce designers hand in hand. The bespoke commissions tend to have higher margins for a brand like Rolls.
“We are quite fortunate because we sit on a strong order bank that already goes far into 2023, probably around eight to nine months, and more to come. We haven’t seen a slowdown yet,” Müller-Ötvös said.
Though he said the company isn’t “immune” from recessionary tendencies, as a luxury brand Rolls-Royce targeting upper-echelon clients means there’s a bit more cushion when it comes to those types of buyers pulling back, due to higher income levels. Plus, the company operates in a number of markets, Müller-Ötvös said, and not all of them are similarly situated. For instance, China can go down slightly while sales go up in the U.S. for instance, as what happened last year.
Müller-Ötvös said the company’s global reach, along with its relatively lean, low-cost structure allow it to succeed even in tough conditions. That’s why he said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about 2023 and especially 2024, when the brand’s Spectre EV will be out in full force.
“Funny enough, there are also quite a lot of clients we haven’t seen ever before, clients who are coming for the very first time to us for the reasons that this Spectre is fully electric, and that is very compelling,” Müller-Ötvös said. “And it is also compelling in a way that in the super luxury segment, we will be the only ones also for the next coming years who can offer a full electric car, and I think that resonates extremely well with some clientele who are fond to be seen only in electric cars.”
Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.
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