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Rolls-Royce increases success in Middle East

Rolls-Royce had its greatest ever year in 2019, partly thanks to its first SUV, with a global sales increase of 25% and a rise of 29% in sales in the Middle East and Africa, according to the British luxury carmaker.

A record 5,152 motor vehicles were sold by Rolls-Royce in 2019, in comparison to just 4,107 in 2018.

The Cullinan, which was first revealed in 2018, quickly became Rolls-Royce’s fastest-selling new vehicle in the history of the 116-year-old company, which is owned by BMW Group.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös called the result “tremendous” and said that achieving a growth of 25% within the space of just one year was unprecedented.

Although the sales of mass-market automobile manufacturers such as Ford and Volkswagen have been impacted by the worldwide slowdown, the exclusivity of the Cullinan has actually helped that trend to be reversed by Rolls-Royce.

A third of worldwide sales were accounted for by North America, with 25% from China and Europe.

Around 10% of sales came from the Middle East, a number that Müller-Ötvös described as very robust and stable.

Around 40% of the global sales volume was made up by the Cullinan, though that percentage was slightly higher within the Middle East.

Sales of the new vehicle along with the Phantom’s continuing popularity were responsible for the strong results in the region.

The Middle East market is very strong in regard to sports utilities, with the Cullinan being particularly successful, Müller-Ötvös notes.

The strongest demand from within the region comes from the GCC, with the largest dealerships being in Dubai and Abu Dhabi within the United Arab Emirates, says Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Middle East and Africa’s regional director Cesar Habib.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia all delivered excellent results for the company, according to Müller-Ötvös.

Not long after the release of the new SUV, a ‘Twilight Purple’ variant of the Cullinan was released in Abu Dhabi in December 2018 for a price of Dh2.2m.

The Black Badge Cullinan, which was released two months ago in November 2019, sells in the UAE for approximately Dh1.9m.

The region’s second-bestselling vehicle is the Phantom, which is currently in its eighth generation.

Habib says that the Phantom has always been the brand’s pinnacle and that driving one is a statement in the region, where people just want to own the best vehicle.

The Black Badge concept made its debut with the Ghost and Wraith models four years ago back in 2016, with the Dawn following in 2017 and the range now completed with the Cullinan.

These vehicles have helped to attract younger customers, according to Müller-Ötvös.

The average age of a company customer has now fallen to 43 in comparison to 56 a decade ago, with more women also becoming buyers.

Anyone who is buying a Rolls-Royce or any other vehicle in the UAE is obliged to be covered by at least some form of basic third-party car insurance.