Slump – what slump? Rolls sales rocket as super-rich drive in style

A record number of Rolls-Royces was sold worldwide last year, the latest indicator that the super-rich remain insulated from global economic strife.

China leapfrogged the US to become the biggest buyer of Rolls-Royces for the first time in the group's 107-year history as sales to the country soared by 67 per cent to more than 1,000. Americans were the next biggest buyer of the emblem of luxury, with sales in the US rising 17 per cent to a record of about 990 vehicles.

The UK remained in third place, reporting a 30 per cent jump in sales, to about 350 cars, an increase that contrasts sharply with the 4.4 per cent decline in total car registrations made across Britain last year.

"Brits love their Rolls-Royces. It is extraordinary, it's an amazing figure, but it's a fact," said a spokesman for the group.

Rolls-Royce sold a total of 3,538 cars worldwide last year, a 31 per cent jump from 2010 and eclipsing the previous record of 3,347 vehicles, set in 1978.

The strong performance provides a small but much-needed boost to British manufacturing, since all the vehicles are made at its headquarters in Goodwood, near Chichester in West Sussex.

The plant employs about 1,000 staff and the company expects to add to its numbers later this year as it prepares to hit a new sales record in 2012. The company has been a subsidiary of BMW since 2003.

China accounted for about 30 per cent of global sales in 2011, followed by the US at 28 per cent and the UK at arounda tenth.

The company said it has benefited from the growth of emerging markets such as Russia, China, India, Brazil, Chile and South Korea. But it has also received a substantial boost to sales from the launch of a new model – the Ghost – two years ago.

Prices for the Ghost start at about £250,000 – asopposed to the traditional Phantom range, where the bidding starts atabout £350,000.

The Phantom is bought by a man in 99.5 per cent of cases, usually driven by a chauffeur, and its customers are typically heads of state, monarchs, sheikhs, pop, film and sports stars and rich bankers.

By contrast, about 15 per cent of Ghost sales are to women, and the main buyers tend to be very successful business people – the kind of consumer benefiting from the huge growth being seen in some emerging markets.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate