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Rolls-Royce on a roll with Ghost booster

Going Ghost: The $695,000 Rolls-Royce Ghost will go on sale in Australia next June.

Rolls importer Trivett looks to expansion to handle new demand for ‘baby’ Ghost

14 Sep 2009

AUSTRALIAN Rolls-Royce distributor Trivett Classic is considering expanding its dealer network beyond its current Melbourne and Sydney sales outlets as it plans for the arrival of the new, more affordable Ghost that it expects to at least double sales of the BMW-owned British luxury marque in this country.

As of last week, Trivett Classic’s two dealerships were holding firm orders for 24 of the 40 Ghosts they expect to deliver in the second half of 2010 after the planned mid-year launch – about nine months after the official global unveiling at this week’s Frankfurt motor show.

Trivett Classic general manager Bevin Clayton told GoAuto last week that Australia Rolls-Royce sales might even triple or quadruple in future once Ghost hits its straps with unfettered supply in a full year of sales, in addition to on-going Phantom demand.

Last year, the Sydney-based prestige car distributor sold a record 18 Phantoms in Saloon, Coupe and Drophead (convertible) configurations, and so far this year has sold nine of this flagship range – the only model available to it until the Ghost hits our shores – compared with 14 by the same time last year.

50 center imageAt a driveway price of $695,000 in Australia, the Ghost is about one-third cheaper than the $1,075,000 Phantom Saloon, in line with international pricing for the smallest Roller, thanks to some shared components with the new BMW 7 Series, including a twin-turbo 420kW 6.6-litre variation of the BMW 760iL’s 6.0-litre direct-inject V12 engine and eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

Rolls-Royce says the Ghost can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in a rapid 4.9 seconds, but uses 13.6L/100km of petrol on the combined test cycle.

Expectant Ghost buyers will get their first chance to view and touch the new model in Australia at special previews for customers and prospects in Melbourne and Sydney late next month.

Customers from other states are expected to fly in for the events, which almost certainly will drive further sales.

In future, however, these interstate buyers might not have to travel so far, as Trivett Classic is considering expanding its dealer network, perhaps starting in Queensland where the Gold Coast is has been one of the larger interstate markets for the Phantom.

“As we get close to Ghost and during our release off Ghost, we are considering other dealerships in other towns,” Mr Clayton said.

“When you are looking at doubling the turnover – perhaps quadrupling your turnover with Phantom thrown into the mix – you would have to start thinking about that.

“We find that as the brand grows and our car-park grows, we are certainly considering other towns.”

Trivett Classic currently has after-market outlets and representatives in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth to look after service requirements and initial inquiry from customers in those states.

Mr Clayton revealed that Adelaide, with nine Phantom sales since launch, was the strongest market for Rolls-Royce per capita, not just in Australia but in the whole of the Asia-Pacific region.

Melbourne is traditionally the largest in Australian volume, but has been rivaled in recent years by Sydney.

Perth has been the weak link in the Roll-Royce retail chain, despite the wealth generated by the mining boom.

Mr Clayton said that despite the attention generated by the arrival of the Ghost, he did not expect the new kid on the Rolls-Royce block to steal sales from the larger, more established Phantom, 94 of which have been sold since the flagship’s arrival in 2004.

“I have seen both of them and it is a totally different model,” he said. “Phantom is described by Rolls-Royce as the ‘dinner suit’, and quite rightly. After seeing Ghost in Singapore a few months ago, it is clearly the ‘business suit’.

“It is a different type of client, a different market. A client who has a Phantom won’t be looking to trade it in. If they buy a Ghost, it will be another addition to the family.

“Ghost is a little smaller and easier to park and a little bit less conspicuous, so I believe some people will regard it as a more of a day-to-day driver.”

The Ghost is 400mm shorter than the Phantom, at 3295mm, but a similar weight, at 2435kg.

Mr Clayton said Rolls-Royce buyers only rarely parted with their older cars when they upgraded to a new vehicle.

“In most cases, it is very, very hard to get people to trade in their cars,” he said “We have traded a few Phantoms recently, on Drophead convertible, and more recently on Coupes since its release last December. But they tend to hang on to them.

“Several of our customers have multiple Rolls-Royces – they can’t bear to part with them.

“They become part of the family. If they see something else they like, it doesn’t necessarily mean they sell what they have.

“There are at least five families to whom I have sold both a (Phantom) sedan and Drophead, and one particular family has three – sedan, Drophead and Coupe – and also taken an interest in the Ghost that is imminent.”

Mr Clayton said Trivett’s had been delighted at the expansion Ghost was generating in its client base, with new customers it had never seen before arriving in its showrooms.

“I think the initial interest on Ghost 12 months out from delivery has been phenomenal,” he said. “At the same time, inquiry is still there on the Phantom family.”

Mr Clayton revealed that Trivett’s was in negotiation with some other high-end motor companies for customer cross-promotion in the lead-up to Ghost launch.

He declined to name the companies, but Trivett Classic is a high-profile prestige car retailer with several other marques, including BMW, Porsche, Jaguar and Aston Martin.

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