By on August 6, 2017

Müller-Ötvös and Rolls-Royce Phantom

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited is on track to become the highest volume automaker in the world someday. Management is keeping it under wraps but volume has been exploding over the last few years. For 2014, the brand delivered a record 4,063 cars, up 12 percent on its volume for 2013 — closing the gap with Toyota’s 10.23 million global sales.

Unfortunately, Rolls’ five year volume streak didn’t last but it is creeping back up after some minor setbacks. For 2016, the brand announced its second highest ever annual sales result in the marquee’s 113-year history, up 6 percent on its 2015 results, for a total of 4,011 global sales. While it looks like the premium automaker has — once again — placed Toyota’s volume back in its sights, Rolls-Royce doesn’t want to get too cocky and has implemented a strategy that should keep the customers pouring in. 

With last week’s introduction of the new Phantom VIII, there’s no doubt that the updated model will persist as the obvious choice for the world’s most influential and wealthy individuals. However, the Phantom only accounts for 15 percent of the brand’s total volume. Starting at just a hair under $300,000, Rolls-Royce’s Ghost appeals to a broader, more youthful, and thriftier consumer base.

According to Automotive News, the average age of a Rolls buyer was 56 before the Ghost made it’s 2010 debut. Today, it’s 45. Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce, attributes the majority of the brand’s recent volume successes to the model and it’s 4-door counterpart, the Wraith. More body choices and bespoke assembly have also helped to bolster volume.

“That has really, really gone a long way in actually bringing in a totally new buyer and shedding that stigma of Rolls-Royce being the old man’s car, so to speak,” said Alan Sheynin, Rolls-Royce sales manager at Miller Motorcars in Greenwich, Connecticut.

However, the Toyota and Volkswagen are fairly comfortable at the top. If they’re to to be toppled, the “British” automaker needs a secret weapon. Fortunately, it has one. In 2018, Rolls will unveil what it has been calling Project Cullinan — a crossover built on the Phantom VIII’s architecture. Whether or not it’s prepared to make up the 10 million unit disparity between the automaker and Toyota is anybody’s guess, but it is undoubtedly going to make a difference.

The Phantom-based crossover should also give the RAV4 a run for it’s money on the streets, too. While hardware is unconfirmed, Rolls’ flagship sedan uses a twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter V12. If that makes it into the premium CUV, it should outperform the Toyota’s 2.5-liter I4 in all areas but fuel economy. When asked if the brand might consider a smaller engine, like a V8, Müller-Ötvös expressed offense toward the notion.

“This is detrimental for luxury,” he said. “It’s not what we would do.”

Rolls-Royce has also been adding more modern amenities to the Phantom that are expected to trickle down to the other models: digital instrument panels, rear-wheel steering, a Wi-Fi hot spot, loads of bespoke options, and touch-sensitive power doors.

You’ve been warned, Toyota.

Müller-Ötvös and Rolls-Royce Phantom

[Images: Rolls-Royce]

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18 Comments on “Rolls-Royce Boosts Volume and Narrows Sales Gap With Rival Toyota...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This is seven levels of awesome.

  • avatar
    millmech

    What about the Toyota Century?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Now that it’s officially out of production, Rolls has another opportunity to creep into Toyota’s bread-and-butter: limited production four-door limousines reserved for heads of state and royalty.

  • avatar

    Müller-Ötvös looks like someone Liam Neeson kicks in the kidneys for trying to auction off your daughter.

  • avatar
    paulinvegas

    You can manipulate statistics to prove any point. 63% of all people believe that

    -Homer Simpson

  • avatar
    Joss

    I spy more Teutonic opulence than British-imperialism. The latter being well over the hill.

    A hint of militarism with those pill box headlights and the field mouse grey uniform – ermm color.

  • avatar

    “Torsten Müller-Ötvös” – enough umlauts to start a metal band.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    A couple of things: 1. Doesn’t BMW own Rolls-Royce? Not exactly a marriage made in heaven. 2. Wouldn’t a 45yr with enough money to buy a Roller buy an LS and invest the difference?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      If you have enough “screw-you” money to buy a new Rolls Royce, investing $300K isn’t going to make rounding errors difference on the interest of your annual income.

      I find that 45yo number intriguing, because I have NEVER, and I mean NEVER seen anyone under the age of roughly 70 driving one. And I now live in an area where there are enough of the silly things that the local dealer parks one in a roped off display at the local airport. Lots of young Chinese and Saudis snapping them up? I guess maybe some of them get driving by 40yo trophy wives too. But I only see “women of a certain age” driving them. Of course, after all that plastic surgery who knows how old those crones actually are.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      @ el scotto:

      1) Why not buy a Camry V6 instead of the LS and invest the difference? Exactly.

      2) I get your point that LS is superior in term of engineering. But the Rolls gets you into some circles easier. It’s not fair to the LS, but that’s how it is.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      But my guess is that the 45 yr number is pulled down to that level by young athletes and pop stars buying these – and for that demographic, if you suggested buying a reasonably nice car and investing the remainder, their heads would explode.

  • avatar
    turf3

    If I buy one, do I have to wear a suit that’s too small for me, and leave my hair only partially combed?

    • 0 avatar
      Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

      The suit used to fit perfectly… making the payments on the Rolls uses up the clothes budget. The hair situation is from stressing about the property tax payment on the mini-mansion.

  • avatar
    4x4

    “This is detrimental for luxury,” This!

  • avatar
    turf3

    You know, it’s a lot harder, takes a lot more innovation and engineering expertise, to build a Toyota Corolla that sells for $20,000, lasts for 200,000 miles, and has a 3 or 4% annual failure rate, than it is to build a car like a Rolls where you basically just throw money and complexity at every design spec.

    I rarely see anything in these hyper luxury vehicles that actually impresses me as anything other than piling goop on goop and gadgets on gadgets.


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