High rollers go for be­spoke

The new Phan­tom will fuel a push into fresh mar­kets

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

THE ar­rival of an updated Phan­tom flag­ship in Aus­tralia has trig­gered a ma­jor ex­pan­sion plan at Rolls-Royce.

De­spite sell­ing fewer cars in Aus­tralia this year— 15 to the end of Oc­to­ber against 19 in 2011— the British su­per-lux­ury brand says the time is right for a new drive.

It is also fac­ing ex­tra re­quire­ments to sat­isfy the su­per-wealthy shop­pers who in­sist on spe­cial equip­ment from the com­pany’s be­spoke division— Aus­tralians are among the high­est-pro­file be­spoke cus­tomers.

The updated Phan­tom, still priced from $1.26 mil­lion, is only very lightly tweaked for 2013 with LED lamps on the nose, eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion to boost fuel econ­omy, larger infotainment screen and updated elec­tron­ics. The Dy­namic Pack­age is claimed to make the car slightly more sporty to drive.

But the Phan­tom II lands at the same time as the com­pany’s Mel­bourne show­room gets a re­vamp and the brand casts for new deal­ers in Queens­land and Western Aus­tralia.

‘‘ We have reached a tip­ping point where there is now a busi­ness case for suit­able part­ners to es­tab­lish new bases for us in key lo­ca­tions,’’ says Rolls-Royce Asia-Pa­cific re­gional di­rec­tor Paul Har­ris.

‘‘ Se­condly, the av­er­age num­ber of be­spoke ve­hi­cles cur­rently or­dered through our Aus­tralian deal­er­ships on each Rolls-Royce mo­tor car is one of the high­est in the world. Ser­vic­ing these in­creas­ing re­quests re­quires a com­mit­ment to show­rooms and sales con­sul­tants who know how to tai­lor cars to our cus­tomers’ ex­pec­ta­tions.’’

Aus­tralia’s two-speed econ­omy is re­flected in the ex­pan­sion plans, with Perth on the radar and a bat­tle be­tween Bris­bane and the Gold Coast for a new Queens­land deal­er­ship.

‘‘( The Gold Coast) is where the wealthy live and we have sold a num­ber of ve­hi­cles there,’’ Har­ris says. ‘‘ We have quite a few con­nec­tions on the Gold Coast, we un­der­stand the ter­ri­tory, and a deal­er­ship there would help us po­si­tion the brand in that area.’’

Bruce Lyn­tonBMWis the brand’s ser­vice cen­tre on the Gold Coast and dealer prin­ci­pal Beric Lyn­ton says he would wel­come a full deal­er­ship.

Paul Gover and Jenny Rogers

Go west: The newPhan­tom may find a home with cashed-up min­ing types

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