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Australia third in Asia Pacific for Rolls-Royce growth

Snapped up: The allocation of Phantoms in Australia for next year has been all but exhausted.

‘Healthy’ market for Rolls-Royce in Australia as locals get richer

Rolls-Royce logo2 Oct 2017

By DANIEL DeGASPERI

ROLLS-ROYCE sales volume in Australia has doubled within a decade and more growth is expected as the number of wealthy Australians continues to climb, the company’s Asia Pacific regional director Paul Harris has revealed.

Speaking with GoAuto at the national media reveal of the Rolls-Royce Phantom last week, Mr Harris described market conditions for exotic vehicles in Australia as highly favourable, leading to among the highest growth forecasts for the company within the region.

“Our two biggest growth areas in Asia at the moment, and I can’t talk about China because I’m not responsible for it, are South Korea and Japan, and then we come to Australia as the next growth driver,” he said.

“We have two important growth areas. One is that the wealthy are growing at quite a fast rate here, and that’s predicted to continue. And secondly you’ve got what I call people choosing Australia as their new home. It has always been built on a population that comes to the country, and I think that that’s continuing.

“For us it is appropriate as more people are coming in, to reach out to those people who are getting richer, and being relevant is probably where we need to be.”

Beyond an increase in wealthy people moving to Australia, Mr Harris noted that the proportion of young people becoming wealthy was also increasing.

“If you look at the nature of wealthy, the average age of wealth is going down as well,” he added.

“So overnight millionaires is feasible these days.”

Asked whether the new Phantom, which is priced from $950,000 driveaway in standard wheelbase and $1.1m in extended wheelbase form, has attracted younger buyers, Mr Harris replied: “Based on what I’ve seen so far absolutely.”

Moving into the upper-large SUV segment, as Rolls-Royce will next year with its Cullinan (see separate story), could also boost the brand’s relevance in the exotic end of the market, with the body style seen as not a major concern so long as the brand’s virtues have been preserved.

“At the end of the day, a Rolls Royce is a great celebration, and it’s something that we should all be proud of,” Mr Harris said.

“That’s what a Rolls-Royce has always been about, Rolls-Royce’s key DNA is really about the arrival, it’s about the presence, it’s about the celebration of something wonderful.”

While Rolls-Royce production volume is capped to ensure its exclusive status is maintained, interest in the eighth-generation Phantom has been so strong that the Australian allocation is all but exhausted ahead of its release next month.

“We’ve got a very healthy order bank, probably almost a year out now, so we’re very close to the end of production for next year now in terms of pre-orders,” Mr Harris said.

“The order bank for next year globally is very, very nearly at full capacity for the Asia-Pacific region.”

In 2007 and 2008 Rolls-Royce sold 17 vehicles. Following the global financial crisis (GFC) that figure dipped to an annual low of between nine (2009) and 16 (2013) before scaling to a high of 39 in 2014.

So far this year the exotic British brand is up 10.0 per cent, with August year-to-date sales of 22 units trending towards 33 vehicles for the year.

Asked whether he deemed that Australian market conditions would remain healthy at the top end of town, Mr Harris replied: “For Rolls-Royce, absolutely.”

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