He’s only been in the job since March, but Rolls-Royce Chief-Executive Officer Torsten Muller-Oetvoes says that so far, the ultra luxury marque has weathered the current economic storm rather well.
In 2011, Rolls is projected to beat the record 2,711 cars, sold last year, with China poised to overtake the US as the largest single market.
In addition, during a recent interview with Automotive News, Muller-Oetvoes said that Rolls-Royce is planning to expand its factory at Goodwood, Sussex, in the UK, as well as possibly boosting the number of dealers world wide, from the current 85, to around 100. In addition, he spoke about possibly adding a Ghost coupe to compliment the sedan.
Since being launched, the Rolls-Royce Ghost sedan has attracted a new type of customer to the brand which tends to be younger and more in-tune with today’s technology. That said, Muller-Oetvoes believes that the key to success in the future is will be down to a steady growth strategy, though not necessarily a significant increase in volume.
“Like no other brand, Rolls-Royce stands for exclusivity, quality and individual style,” he said. ” We will continue to grow steadily, but ours is not a volume strategy. For example, we have no long-term plans for sales in five figures.”
Muller-Oetvoes also believes that former stablemate Bentley (now owned by rival VW) isn’t really a competitor for Rolls, though the Mulsanne might come close as a Ghost rival. He said “they [Bentley buyers] purchase models of both brands, their garages are like closets, equipped for all of life’s occassions. Rolls-Royce competes with other luxury goods such as real estate, yachts, fine art and jewelry.” So no SUV is likely for Rolls then, which is probably a good thing.
Muller-Oetoves also says that V12 engines will remain very much in Rolls’ future, despite current fads towards smaller engines, diesels and alternative fuel powertrains, though company is exploring other options. “Our engines are highly efficient and our 102EX electric Phantom project is the first step in exploring the potential for alternative powertrains in the long-term,” he stated. In reference to diesels, he stated that while they might be popular in Europe, “a diesel could never deliver a true Rolls-Royce experience: effortless performance and, of course, silence.”
As for the possibility of introducing electric, hybrid or other such powertrains down the road, it will essentially hinge on buyer interest in such technologies, which among Rolls-Royce owners is currently, almost non-existent. “Few clients who have driven 102EX are prepared to charge a battery for eight hours for a range of just 200km,” he stated.
[Source: Automotive News]