Value-conscious customers that don’t want the burden of a hefty new-car payment are smart to consider a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle. Automakers from Audi to Kia offer such programs.
Typically, CPO products are thoroughly inspected for mechanical soundness and cosmetic condition. Also, they’re generally backed by a warranty of some sort that goes beyond the factory guarantee. But even super-luxury buyers have the option of purchasing a certified car. Rolls-Royce has just such a program and it’s called Provenance.
“Why go for a premium-luxury large sedan when you can get into the ultimate car and the best one ever built” said Eric Shepherd, president of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars North America. Sure, he may be a touch biased, but there’s no disputing that the folks in Goodwood build truly world-class automobiles.
There’s nothing wrong with a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Audi A8 but the folks at Rolls-Royce would probably like to think their vehicles are a cut or two above even rarified models like those. Shepherd said a Provenance pre-owned car will offer superior quality and craftsmanship at a price point that’s more in line with showroom-fresh flagship sedans.
The program itself isn’t new. Rolls-Royce began offering CPO vehicles about three years ago, but chose to revamp its efforts over the past 12 months to attract customers who might not otherwise consider a Rolls-Royce.
One of the most visible changes it made to raise awareness about Provenance is the addition a pre-owned vehicle locator on the consumer Website. This easy-to-use tool allows customers to browse all of the Provenance Rolls-Royces that are available in their market. At the time of writing, dealers have 23 such models on hand in the United States, the plurality of which is made up by the Ghost. However, the only model that’s not available in pre-owned form right now is the Wraith coupe.
Setting these cars apart from similar programs offered by other high-end automakers is quality and bespoke attention to detail. Shepherd said Rolls-Royce vehicles that make the grade are brought up to a level that’s virtually the same as a new car. All inspection and repair work is done by dealers. If anything is worn, it’s replaced; if it’s broken it’s fixed. Again, the emphasis is on new-car levels of quality.
Aside from overwhelming attention to detail Provenance also affords patrons the luxury of bespoke customization. Shepherd said “it really takes the capabilities of a CPO program in a different direction.” The things buyers can tweak or change on a used Rolls-Royce are “limited only to your imagination” he said.
Naturally all personalization is handled by Rolls-Royce dealers as well because they’re “the only ones that are qualified to be doing this with our cars,” Shepherd said. And second-hand or not, would you really want “Terry’s Bump Shop and Used Tire Warehouse” painting your Phantom? No thanks…
Protecting customers from unexpected bumps in the road the company backs its Provenance cars up with either a one- or two-year limited warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance.
PRICED TO SELL?
But just because Rolls-Royce offers certified pre-owned vehicles doesn’t mean they’re priced at mass-market levels. These autos can be considerably more affordable than a comparable new model but they’re by no means cheap.
Shepherd said “certainly there’s depreciation that goes into cars” but he noted that Rolls-Royce vehicles hold their value better than products from most other brands.
Given the bespoke nature of these automobiles, there isn’t any sort of set discount over a new model, but here’s a real-world example to give you an idea. Running down the list of units available in America there’s a 2011 Phantom for sale in Florida. Dressed with shimmering black paint, it’s got a little more than 13,000 miles on the clock and is priced at about $340,000. That’s a lot of money to be certain, but on a percentage basis it represents a generous savings; a factory-fresh entry-level Phantom starts north 400-grand. That translates into roughly a 15 percent discount.
Another example can be found at a dealer in New Jersey. The silver Rolls-Royce Ghost pictured above has traveled about 36,000 miles. Asking price is a whisker less than $180,000. Considering a brand-new version of this model kicks off at just about $262,000 the Provenance car provides a savings of roughly 31 percent.
Finally, if you desire an open-air driving experience a Phantom Drophead Coupé might be the car for you. A Metropolitan Blue example is available in Southern California. This stunning convertible, which only has about 4,000 miles on its odometer stickers for $340,000; new this model starts at a whopping 475 grand. That’s a savings of about 28 percent, but in real numbers the difference is approximately $135,000, roughly the cost of a brand-new Audi A8 L W12.
Naturally these are just estimates of how much you could save. Each pre owned model is optioned differently and we did not factor these variations into our calculations.
But in much more concrete numbers Shepherd said “[we] sold just under 200 Provenance cars in the U.S. last year.” That may sound like a small figure but he noted “in the world of Rolls-Royce that’s actually a significant number.”
Shepherd said “We’ve got 38 dealers in the U.S. and Canada. All 38 are eligible to sell Provenance certified used cars.” Curiously, the brand only has 124 locations worldwide.
Facilitating the growth of its Provenance program Shepherd said “we have a nice network within our dealers,” something that allows customers to find the Rolls-Royce that’s right for them.
In the ultra-luxury segment, there’s used, there’s pre-owned and then there’s Provenance. “The future is very bright here in North America” Shepherd said, as it is for Rolls-Royce around the world. Undoubtedly the company’s certified pre-owned program is helping drive continued growth.
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