Rolls Royce sales soar as rich buy 'less ostentatious' Ghost
Rolls CEO sees 'shift from bling to substance' - but built-in cigar humidors are all the rage
ROLLS ROYCE sold 3,538 cars in 2011 - a new record for the BMW-owned luxury marque. And with Volkswagen-owned Bentley reporting pre-recession levels of 7,003 cars sold last year, the luxury car market as a whole appears to be in rude health.
The biggest growth areas for Rolls Royce were Russia and Germany, where sales more than doubled in 2011. However, China and the US remain the company's biggest customers.
Rolls Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos said: "We had an outstanding year in 2011 and we should take a moment to reflect on this great British success story."
According to BBC News, the increase in sales is in the main due to Rolls Royce's "smaller and less ostentatious" Ghost model, which costs a mere £165,000 compared to the £235,000 Phantom. Muller-Otvos says there has been a "shift from bling to substance" driven by the ongoing economic crisis.
But while customers may want a more understated car on the outside, the interior is another matter. The Guardian reports that Rolls-Royce is experiencing record demand for bespoke vehicles. Built-in champagne sets and cigar humidors are among the more popular customisation requests.
Muller-Otvos says Rolls Royce will be expanding on its current range of models - and some believe this could include a convertible Ghost. Work on extending the Rolls Royce plant at Goodwood in West Sussex will begin this month.